Buying a house is a long-term commitment, often up to 30 years. So the lender you choose definitely must be a good fit – something more like a partner than a mere mortgage-product pusher because the whole thing should be a collaborative process. A good lender will not only qualify you for a loan but can also advise you on how to improve your credit score and recommend other and better mortgage options as time goes on. It’s imperative, then, to know how to choose the right lender for you in Los Angeles.
Decide on the Kind of Lender
In figuring out how to choose the right lender for you in Los Angeles, your first step should be deciding exactly what kind of lender you want and best meets your needs. Although there is a large element of personal preference involved in this, it still matters.
A smaller lender like an independent local bank or credit union can give service that is more personalized and laid back. You’ll have easier access to your loan officer, and this kind of lender can usually be more flexible if payment issues arise. With a larger lender, on the other hand, the service may be more impersonal, but you can often get a better a better interest rate. Usually, they will also have more payment options – for example online and automatic mortgage deductions – and are better organized with faster service.
Research the Lender
Recommendations from friends and family are good to have, but you still need to do your own research. Talking to past clients of your prospective lender is a good way to start. Then you can move to online research, especially reviews. A good lender should be accredited with the proper organizations and should have a solid reputation. Here are some things you should definitely do in researching a lender:
Make sure the lender has on their website the customer-service awards they’ve received, a mission statement indicating what they can do for you, and testimonials from satisfied customers.
Check out the tone and feel of the lender’s social media presence to see if they seem like a good fit.
Peruse the quality review sites, making sure to look at both negative and positive reviews.
Check with the Better Business Bureau with respect to reviews, ratings, and complaints.
Contact your local Chamber of Commerce to see what kind of standing the lender has within the community.
Interview the Lender
Of everything involved in how to choose the right lender for you in Los Angeles, nothing beats a good, old-fashioned face-to-face sit-down. A personal interview – which you can conduct even if you’re not applying for a loan – will give you a good sense of whether that lender is right for you.
- The things you will want to address in the interview include:
- Can the officer explain your options and the financial jargon in a way that is easy for you to understand?
- Is she willing to explain up front all the conditions and variables like how long the process will take and how communication will take place?
- Who exactly will service your loan and will it be sold at some point in the future?
- What happens if there are last-minute issues like the appraisal coming in too low or too high?
- Does the loan officer seem to be trying to be a collaborator, or does she use hard-sell tactics just to make money?
If you know how to choose the right lender for you in Los Angeles you can avoid a many-years-long frustrating relationship with possibly negative financial implications. Choosing the right lender is about more than just getting a loan.