Be The “Captain” Of Your Mortgage
Getting approved for a mortgage can be stress-free experience for borrowers who take the time to prepare, and who approach the approval like a job.
This is because, as a borrower, you become an integral player on a team where every member’s goal is the same — to have a successful closing.
It could be argued that your role as “borrower” is more important, even, than the roles of loan officer, loan processor, home appraiser, loan underwriter, and closer.
As the borrower, you’re the team captain.
The Players On Your Mortgage Team
As a mortgage borrower, the way that you engage and participate with your loan is more important in getting your loan closed on-time (and without problems) than you may realize.
Let’s think of your loan approval in terms of a sporting team, where every player plays a specific part in the team’s success.
First, there’s the loan officer. Sometimes called a “loan originator”, the loan officer’s role is to assess your situation and make a game plan.
Your loan officer will ask questions of you, and use its mortgage market knowledge to determine which mortgage options may best suit your needs.
The options may include fixed-rate or adjustable-rate financing; or, a recommendation to consider an FHA loan or VA loan.
Your loan officer will be non-biased in presenting your options. It will be your choice as the borrower, ultimately, to choose the loan you like best.
Often, but not always, a loan officer will work with an assistant to help coordinate the handling of a loan.
This assistant may have any of the following titles : Loan Coordinator, Loan Assistant, Production Assistant, Production Manager, or some other title entirely. However, the role of this assistant is the same — to help you close your loan as quickly and cleanly as possible.
The team will also include a Loan Processor — sometimes two!
Loan Processors are the unsung heroes of the mortgage approval process. From the onset, they’re busy collecting paperwork, reviewing documentation, making calls and requesting verifications, and keeping “the file” clean.
Loan processors are also responsible for ordering home appraisals, when they’re required. Notable exceptions include the VA Streamline Refinance and FHA Streamline Refinance, neither of which require a home appraisal.
Appraisals, meanwhile, are handled by another member of the team — the home appraiser.
The role of the appraiser is to support your opinion of your home’s value. The appraiser will visit the home you’re wishing to mortgage and will perform a full assessment to determine its Fair Market Value.
The value of your home becomes the basis for the loan. Your loan-to-value (LTV) ratio uses the appraiser’s findings, for example, and all of the information collected to-date is passed to the Loan Underwriter.
The Loan Underwriter’s role is to review all of the information provided by you, the borrower; by the credit agencies and your employer(s); by the appraiser; and by anybody else who provided information in support of your loan approval.
This may include your attorney, your accountant, your homeowners association (where applicable), and others.
With all of the information in-hand, the underwriter then confirms that it adheres to the allowable rules for the loan you selected at the start of the approval process.
The “allowable rules” are known as mortgage guidelines. You must meet mortgage guidelines in order to get approved.
Loans which meet mortgage guidelines are approved, and issued a “clear-to-close”. Clear-to-close means your loan has been issued a final approval, at which point a Closer is assigned to the team.
The closer’s role is to officiate your settlement, presiding over your signing and ensuring that all documents are signed where required. Documents are delivered from the underwriter to the closer only after a loan is clear-to-close.
On a purchase mortgage, the closer will make sure that home is legally transferred to you, the borrower, after all papers are signed.
With a refinance, the closer will ensure your old lender gets paid off, and that your former mortgage is retired.
You Are The Most Important Player
To close on a loan — whether purchase or refinance — large groups of people must work as a team.
There’s your loan officer, your production assistant, your processor, your appraiser, your underwriter, your closer, and more
There’s also you — the Most Important Player.
As the borrower, your job goes beyond choosing the loan program which is best for you. Once that loan is selected, your job is to provide the necessary paperwork and signatures to meet the terms of the loan.
That means, in most cases, giving proof of income; proof of assets; and, proof of employment to help with underwriting. It may also mean providing supporting paperwork for a missed mortgage or credit card payment; or proof that a prior lien was released on your home.
There are other items for which you’ll be asked, too, and when those requests are made, your job as borrower is to respond to those requests as quickly and thoroughly as possible.
The faster you reply back to your lender, the faster your loan can close.
Closing quickly can get you access to lower mortgage rates. Closing slowly can ruin your loan. Truly. The internet is littered with stories of home buyers who failed to close on their original rate lock, and were forced to accept a higher rate at closing.
Take Control And The Team Will Follow
To be the MIP, you have to act like the MIP.
Be proactive about your loan. Set a weekly appointment to speak with your loan office. Find out where you loan is in-process, what paperwork is still missing, and what’s left to be done.
Ask what you can do to move things forward.
When you’re asked for additional documentation, provide it with no question asked. Lenders don’t want to request additional documents from you any more than you want to provide them.
If they’re asking, they need it.
Be involved with your loan and the team will thank you. Your hustle and heart and be rewarded. You will see other team members working in-kind. Everyone will bring their “A” game to match your effort and interest.
Championships are won when a whole team consistently puts forth its best effort.
What Are Today’s Mortgage Rates?
It’s been an excellent year for mortgage rates. Home affordability is high and mortgage payments remain low. If you’ve been planning to buy a home or refinance one, you may be shocked at what you can save.
Take a look at today’s real mortgage rates. Your social security number is not required to get started, and all quotes come with instant access to your live credit scores.