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Real Estate 101: Picking Your Lender

In a previous blog post, I covered how to and some of the basics of what a buyer's agent should do. In this post, I will touch on what your lender does, and give you quick a rundown of what you should do to get yourself ready to buy a house.

Real Estate 101: Picking Your Lender

I often say "there are a lot of moving parts" to a transaction. In fact, first time and veteran home buyers often tell me how surprised they are at how complicated the process can be. And usually they follow that with "but you and our lender made it all so smooth!"

Picking a lender is as easy- just call your local branch of First National Megabank and asking to speak to their mortgage department, and filling out some paperwork, right? Or going to a website, punching in some data, and letting someone in another state or worse, a computer decide if you're eligible for a mortgage. After all, a mortgage is a mortgage is a mortgage, right?

Yikes! Not in the least!

Picking your lender is just as important as picking the right real estate agent. Your lender is going to be working with you every step of the way, just like your agent. And it is just as important that your agent has a relationship with your lender. Never underestimate the importance of being able to pick the phone up and talk directly to them or stopping by their office if the need arises. Good luck getting someone on the phone from your instant mortgage approval website.

This is why I recommend certain lenders to my clients. I can trust their judgement, know that they are the experts in their field, and will provide to my clients the same level of service and integrity as I will. And they will fight hard for you as their client and make sure you are happy. And more importantly, they are local to this area. They work in the same time zone as we do. (Believe me, this is way more important than you can imagine.) They know this market and what works here.But what should you do before you make that contact?

GATHER TOGETHER YOUR DOCUMENTS!

You'll need to provide all sorts of paperwork to the lender for your mortgage once you have a home under contract, but it is always a good idea to have the following on hand before you start to make things run smoothly:

  • Tax paperwork (W-2's if you work for someone else, 1099's and P&L statements if you own your business)
  • At least two of your most recent Federal tax returns
  • Recent Paycheck stubs
  • List of your assets, including but not limited to bank statements, investment accounts, retirement funds, brokerage statements, real estate you own already
  • List of your debts, including credit cards, student loans, other mortgages, child support, car loans, with minimum monthly payments and balances
  • Cancelled checks for your current rent or mortgage

Gather all this together and put it in a safe place, because your lender will need them!

In my next post, I'll talk about the next few steps of the process.

Until next time,

Steve