The Right Loan Officer

Finding the Right Loan Officer

Before you start search for through Spokane Real Estate listings, take a moment and consider your home financing.  Financing a home may be one of the most important monetary decisions you will ever make in your life, so you want to make sure that you work with a lending professional who brings experience, expertise and sound judgment to the table here in Spokane, Washington.

Broken down to the very basics, a loan officer’s job is to guide a borrower through the home financing process. The loan officer reviews the borrower’s credit, assets, income, financial circumstance and objectives, and determines which loan products will best suit the client’s need. Then the loan officer guides the borrower through the application and loan process.

But a qualified loan officer is so much more than just a home financing tour guide. He or she should be a trusted advisor that helps you make a well-informed decision about your home financing. Like an accountant, lawyer, real estate agent or financial advisor, the loan officer is part of the continuum of your personal finances. So you need to make a smart choice. Here are several important considerations:

  • Are they licensed? Loan officers are required by federal law to be licensed in the state in which they work. To become licensed, a loan officer must complete 20 hours of coursework, pass both a state and a federal written exam, pass a background check and have no felony convictions. He or she must regularly complete continuing education courses in order to maintain a license in good standing. Many states also pull a loan officer’s credit to ensure they demonstrate financial responsibility. Moreover, Washington State has separate licensing requirements that a loan officer must adhere to. And if the loan officer is providing FHA loans, he or she must be licensed by the FHA. Additionally, more than half the states in the U.S. require an additional license to offer second mortgages. You should feel comfortable asking if your loan officer is properly licensed.
  • What is their education? At the very least, a loan officer must hold a high school diploma to be hired as a loan officer. He or she then receives on-the-job training. Many loan officers may also hold an undergraduate or graduate degree in a field of study such as economics, business or finance.
  • What is their experience? Along with education, experience is also critical when selecting a loan officer. You want someone who has an intimate familiarity with the home financing industry, the available products and how they can affect your decision-making. Ask whether or not he or she has earned any internal or industry certifications or recognitions for his or her work and how many years they have been in the business. Ask why you should select them over someone else. Whether they are new to the business or have been around for several years, you need to feel comfortable they have the expertise to guide you towards the best home financing solutions for your particular needs. A brand-new loan officer is not necessarily uninformed and may make a great advisor for you as their financing education will be fresh in their minds.
  • Who are their referral partners? A smart loan officer will work with various third-party referral partners, such as financial planners and real estate agents, to help provide their clients with additional financial expertise. Ask the loan officer for a list of referral partners and learn more about those third parties and their businesses. You’ll want to work with a loan officer that can help provide solutions at every step of the process by pointing you in the right direction to other experienced professionals.
  • Do they have references? Ask for references and then interview some recent clients of the loan officer to learn their opinions on the loan officer’s capabilities. Word of mouth still goes a long way, so sit down with some past customers and get their candid take on the loan officer’s pros and cons. This will give you an idea of what to expect should you choose to work with that particular loan officer.
  • What is their responsiveness and how do they communicate? Ask the loan officer how frequently he or she communicates with clients and what is the typical means of communication. Ask what types of information you should expect to receive, as well. Also, get a good idea on how responsive he or she will be to your queries. Ask questions such as, “If I have a question about the loan terms, how quick will you get back to me?” You want to make sure you’ll be satisfied with the loan officer’s customer service.
  • What are their core business values? This is a powerful open-ended question to ask because the answers can vary widely from loan officer to loan officer. Are they committed to customer service? Do they want to get you the best possible rate? Do they want to deliver flexible terms? No two lending professionals will give you the same response. Make sure the loan officer’s responses match your needs.

Last but not least, you are ultimately looking for a partner and trusted advisor to help you make a very complex decision. Seek out a Spokane, WA loan officer who is asking you questions about your finances and your future goals. This will demonstrate that the loan officer is trying to determine a loan that will fit not only your home, and not only your finances, but one that will fit your life. If your loan officer is asking those fundamental questions, then you’ve probably found the right one.

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Published On: October 15th, 2020 / Categories: Buying /

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