Finding a Seattle mortgage broker you can trust to put your situation above their own bottom line is both more important and less difficult than you might think. When looking for someone to work with, you need to have the right questions in your arsenal to be able to sift the good from the bad. Treat searching for a broker the same way you would treat searching for a new employee: Learn just enough of the jargon to catch a bluff, and then go in with questions ready.

When prepared with the right questions, you learn not only if they can provide you the loan, but also if they are a lender you want to work with in the first place.

Screening Questions

First Question
“What is your application process?”

Ambiguity around underwriting and loan progress is slowly dissolving. This is mostly thanks to more lenders providing online platforms for you to track your loan progress. If your Seattle mortgage broker hunt takes you to a lender without an online platform, there are some pieces of information you’ll want to uncover. They include:

Lender and third-party fees:
Request that these be provided in an estimated fee sheet.
Average time to closing
Specific loan product requirements for debt-to-income ratio, down payment, credit score, etc.
Timeline to lock and cost in a mortgage rate
Which documents you need at each point in the loan process and their respective submission deadlines

Second Question
“What experience do you and your team have?”

If a specific lender only has experience in providing for business purposes, they may not be the best fit for you when buying a home. If this is your first time home-buying, you want to make sure that whoever you work with makes brokering for homes their niche specialization. Related information you want to draw out includes:

How accessible are they?
How prompt are they when responding to you?
Who will you be working with most of the time?
The individual broker
Their team, if they have one
Are the answers they provide straightforward, clear and concise?
If they try to baffle you with “legalese” instead of helping you to understand the process, that’s a red flag telling you to move on.
How long have they been in business?
Ask for references, as well.
How are they comfortable communicating with you?
Email, text, phone, etc.
Make sure that you both are comfortable communicating the same way.

Third Question
“What rate can I get?”

Instead of asking what the current mortgage rates are, directly ask what you can get. Head in with six pieces of information ready:

Your credit score
The amount of money being lent
The length of time over which you are paying it off
Whether it is a fixed rate or not
The type of loan
The amount you have saved for the down payment

With those details ready, ask for the exact rate you can get on that day. Interest rates change daily. You need to make sure you get your rate quote on the same day you get the loan to ensure you have accurate information.

Finding a Seattle mortgage broker that can do the comparison shopping for you will save time, especially if the lender knows what to look for in a loan option. Keeping apples with apples and oranges with oranges can help you avoid a mix-matched loan option.

Fourth Question
“If I have bad credit, can I still qualify for a mortgage?”

For those whom this applies to, it is the first question to ask. If you know your credit history isn’t great, you need to be upfront about this with your Seattle mortgage broker from the beginning. You may still qualify for a number of loans, but your lender cannot determine which loans those are if they’re not aware of your credit history.

For the loans you do qualify for, you’ll likely pay a premium. Federal Housing Administration loans are one example. These are excellent for borrowers with lower credit scores.

Do Your Research, Ask Honest Questions

Whether you have perfect credit or are just building up your score, you can find an option. Whatever your situation, however, you need to be upfront and honest with your potential broker. Their responses to your questions speak volumes to whether you should trust them with your financial investments.

So, be patient, do your research, ask questions and honestly answer the questions asked of you. If at the end of the day you find a transparent Seattle broker that earnestly helps you to understand the process, you’ve found a winner.

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