Lender Questions

How long have you been in the mortgage business? If they have only been in the business since 2005 be cautious. Most lenders were only doing subprime loans at that time.

What kind of loan programs do you normally close? State bond program /House Key, FHA, Conventional, VA, or portfolio? You may not know what program you qualify for yet. However, knowing the specialty of the lender may help figure out the best fit for you after you learn more.

Do you broker a majority of your loans, or portfolio them, or both? A bank lender will portfolio and service most of their loans. This may mean you are eligible for some in house special programs. A mortgage broker will shop for the best program for you. They stay competitive with the mortgage industry. After the transaction closes your mortgage is sold, and the terms will stay the same. A mortgage banker is like a hybrid of the two. They can service their own loans and broker them out for a better deal, or have an in house program that fits your situation.

How long does it take you to close a loan? Whether you are locking an interest rate or just trying to plan for the closing of your home. A good lender should be able to forecast a good estimated time to close on your home. 30 days is a decent industry standard, and make sure the interest rate lock will stretch a little past that time just in case.

Do you have an under writer in your office or just a desktop underwriting system? And if yes, was your file reviewed and approved by an actual underwriter? With the understaffing of underwriters in recent times most files will not be reviewed by an underwriter until they are complete with purchase and sale agreement. I like to make sure at least that the final decision on your home loan is a local one and not out of state in a regional office.

Can I have a Good Faith Estimate (GFE)? This is a disclosure must for you from the lender. In this document you will see all the fees and charges associated in closing a home purchase transaction. When shopping around your loan this is a helpful tool to sort out the differences in mortgage quotes.

What is your availability on weekends or evenings, and be able to have an approval letter, updated GFE, and closing cost estimate including buy downs rate pools? When you are looking and making an offer on a home chances are it will be on the weekend or evening. Checking availability of you loan officer is good to know for strategizing your offers.

Have you done spot approvals on Condos or new construction before? if yes, what is the turn around time on that process? When using an FHA loan product for example they need to be approved for the mortgage product. In some cases this can be done during the purchase process and the lender is capable of doing it. Opens up more options for you to explore buying in some cases.