Let’s face it, a mortgage company, bank or mortgage brokerage operation can spend as much money as they want to market and advertise their services. But in reality, you’re really not working directly with the company, you’re working with an individual loan officer. A bank can blitz the airwaves with multiple messages 24/7 but it all boils down to the experience of the loan officer.
Unless you have a personal referral from someone who has worked directly with an individual loan officer such as a real estate agent or close friend, if your loan officer is assigned to you rather than the result of your personal choice, well let’s say you’re taking somewhat of a chance.
It can be a pain to switch mortgage companies, especially so after you’ve picked out a property, but getting a bad loan officer might very well be worth the change. And even if you’ve just submitted a loan application and received a preapproval, you might be getting some signals it’s time to change course.
One of the first signs is the lack of communication. Few things are more frustrating than constantly getting sent to voicemail and not receiving a timely response. If at all. A loan officer might be dealing with as many as 20 or 25 loan files at any one time and you’re just another file in the mix. But to you, you’re getting ready to commit to repaying a home loan, most likely the biggest financial commitment you’ll ever make. Just borrowing that much money can be intimidating at first and one of the things good loan officers can do is hold your hand throughout the process and communicate regularly. Even if there really isn’t anything to communicate about, just a simple phone call or email from a loan officer lets you know you’re in good hands. If you’re not getting this level of communication, it’s probably time to look elsewhere.
Experienced loan officers, those with years in the business, get that way because they do their jobs, get referrals and offer excellent customer service. If you discover your loan officer is relatively new in the industry it might be time to interview a few more loan officers. It’s not to say that new loan officers can’t offer the best customer service but if you have the choice, and you do, working with an experienced loan officer will work to your advantage.
Finally, and this can also be attributed to the mortgage companies’ support staff, constantly getting asked for more information while the file is being processed is another signal. Your loan officer should know what to ask for at the very beginning of the preapproval process. In fact, it’s spelled out when a file is electronically submitted for an automated approval. Yes, there will be additional questions later, usually asking for updated paycheck stubs or new bank statements but getting peppered daily with new requests means the loan officer hasn’t done a very good job at the start.
These are some very important things to discover early on and yes, it can be a pain to switch mortgage companies especially after a property has been selected and appraisal ordered, but a sub-par loan officer can make the switch worth it.