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Anthony Piccone

Not all Lenders are the same

Monday, February 4, 2013 - Article by: Anthony Piccone - 7th Level Mortgage, LLC - Message

Not all lenders and for that matter brokers are the same. Startling announcement I know, but just what do I mean by that statement. Few too many borrowers actually take the time to investigate the loan officer they are actually dealing with and pretty much stop after a cursory BETTER BUSINESS BUREAU check on the company. Within good companies are pretty horrible loan officers and within bad companies are some pretty good Loan officers ( If you are one of the good ones - I want to talk to you). So how are you the borrower supposed to tell the good companies from the bad and the good LO's from the not so good ones?

Here are just a few thoughts (this is not all encompassing, and I am sure will invite various points of view) they are however my observations after 20 yrs within the business managing and mentoring a couple of hundred of them.

First, lets start with the companies. The age old argument of Broker vs Lender, in my opinion is an irrelevant argument or litmus test, BOTH have strengths and weaknesses. I have operated in both capacities and with the changes that have taken place since 2008, the main difference anymore is compensation and how it gets disclosed. I can argue both sides of the coin, Lenders will tout "we have in house underwriting" (not always a good thing, most intermediate lenders are scared of being able to sell the loans so they OVER condition files and ask absolutely minding boggling dumb questions). On the other hand they can kick out loan approvals in a few days. Personally after being a banker for more then 20 yrs I am more comfortable and get better products, pricing and flexibility without all of the aggravation by being a broker vs being a lender (at least in today's market). My clients are not concerned in the least because it all happens behind the scenes anyway.

Good Company vs Bad? I am a firm believer (you may not be) that smaller is better. More personalized service, only 2 or 3 employees intimately familiar with your loan vs a large company where you are nothing more then a loan number. Smaller more manageable and direct interface with our customers seems to fit our business model. Again, it seems like I speak to a lot of folks who went to BIG BANKS for that .125% rate differential (in most cases it may not even be that much) in the beginning of the process to find out they are 120 days into the process and oh by the way - the rate changed mid stream (discounting market movements and all else being equal).

Good Loan Officer vs Not So Good Loan Officer? In my opinion, this is where the rubber meets the road - if you happen upon an order taker (derogatory term used within the industry for a not so good loan officer), you could be in for an expensive and not so pleasant experience. Check to make sure your loan officer is NMLS Licensed not just registered! Have they passed their tests? Are they individually licensed in each state they are writing loans for? Do they have any other accredited titles in the Mortgage industry? How long have they been writing loans? Have they ever processed, underwritten or closed a loan ( as in were present to take you through your loan documents)? All serious questions that will give you insight as to their depth of knowledge about the products and services they are offering. Here is a tip - call a loan officer at a BIG BANK and they literally could have been flipping pizza 6 weeks ago - today they are advising you on mortgage products and qualifications? Really? Ask for references and ask for more then 3.

When evaluating where to send your business, be leery of the Low ballers and loan floaters on interest rates. Folks, most rates are within .125 to .375% and fees should range between $595 and $895. If someone other then a BIG BANK is offering rates that are head and shoulders better then everyone else - your DANGER WILL ROBINSON button should be going off like crazy. Yes even with all the regulations out there - there are some companies still offering low ball rates that they have no intention of delivering - ask everyone you talk to if you can lock in the rate they quote you on the DAY they quote it to you for at least a 30 day period. IF the answer is in anyway shape or form NO - run away.

So in closing, there are good companies and good people just standing by to help you and provide you with excellent service and rates - don't be so quick to believe what you are told by a rep on the phone, do your own due diligence, listen to your gut, and remember you get what you pay for - that extra .125% you wanted so desperately could wind up costing you alot more then that in time, money and aggravation.

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