When you’re new to the homebuying process, it’s easy to do some quick research and just go with the lender that has the lowest rate – but, just like any service or business, not all lenders are created equal! You should think about choosing a lender just like you would any other service – except you’re entrusting them with the biggest purchase of your life, so price shouldn’t be the only factor.
Melissa Abramovich, Mortgage Loan Originator at A+ Mortgage Services in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, emphasized the importance of finding a loan officer who will be a true partner. “You are going to be friends with this person for a month or two – so you do need to be able to get along and rely on them. Are they responding in a timely manner? What’s their availability like? Those things all matter – we’re all essentially using the same pricing engine, so you don’t want to get too caught up in a rate.”
The best lenders will go the extra mile to help make your homebuying journey a success. Ryan Kiefer, Branch Manager at Prime Lending in Cincinnati, Ohio, likes to have an appraisal gap strategy ready. “If a buyer had put 20% down on their home and it under-appraised by 10%, with the help of mortgage insurance, the borrower can put down 10% (or less) – freeing up cash to close the appraisal gap. The cash-to-close would stay exactly the same, and the monthly cost would go up a small amount to pay for the MI,” Ryan explained.