Top 3 Questions to Ask When Interviewing a Mortgage Lender
Unless you are paying all cash from your investment properties, you are going to need a mortgage lender on your team. So the question is, how do you find the best lender in your market?
Stephanie Weeks, who has been a mortgage lender for more than 13 years and is in the top 1% of loan officers in the country, finds that the best way to find a lender is simple – ask them pointed questions.
In our recent conversation, she provided the top three questions an investor should ask when interviewing a potential mortgage lender for your team.
The reason why you want to find the best mortgage lender possible is fairly obvious. Stephanie said, “If you’re investing in properties, then that’s your business, that’s part of your livelihood. And time is money. And wasting money on appraisals and inspections is also a waste of money. So, my best advice is that if you’re an investor and you are going to have mortgages when you’re purchasing these properties, team up with the best mortgage lender that you can find. [One] that is going to do everything they need to do to get you to that finish line. So don’t take that decision lightly.”
No two mortgage lenders are that same. To find out who is the best of the best, Stephanie provided the top three questions you should ask a lender before obtaining a mortgage from them and/or hiring them for your team.
Question #1 – When was the last time you read the guideline book?
The first question you should ask is when is the last time you read the guideline book? Stephanie said, “this sounds [like] kind of a joke, but it’s kind of funny and kind of true. For me and my team, we actually review guidelines on almost a daily basis, because on almost a daily basis, guidelines are changing. We actually get the guidelines printed out… We are learning how everything works, how it is done, how it puts us all together.”
When I asked her when was the last time she read the guideline book, her response was “yesterday.”
Stephanie said, “It’s kind of mean for me to say, but I still think it’s funny. You should see their face, or here them stutter, because unfortunately, most loan officers have never picked up a guideline book. That’s frustrating to me.”
This is a great question to determine their level of passion and how serious they take their profession. While this may not be a deal breaker, it’s important to know if your lender is staying up-to-date on the updates and changes that are occurring constantly throughout their industry.
Question #2 – What kind of added value do you bring?
Any mortgage lender is capable of providing you with a loan (assuming you meet their requirements), so you want to know what else they have to offer that is unique to them. For example, Stephanie said, “If someone asked me, ‘Okay, Stephanie, what kind of added value do you bring?’ I would say, ‘Well number one, the mortgage industry is broken, and I wanted to change that, so I wrote a book on mortgages. The second thing is I’m going to treat your money like it’s mine. The third thing is I’m going to advise you on your overall situation based on a five-year plan that you tell me that you have, your goals for closing costs, cash out-of-pocket, monthly payment, etc. I am going to shop [around for] insurance for you to get you a good deal.’”
Ask this question to a potential loan officer and see how they answer the question. If they have trouble explaining what they bring to the table that other lenders do not, that may be a sign to pass and find someone else.
Question #3 – How many __________ did you help last year?
Fill in the blank depending on what your investment strategy is.
- How many families did you help?
- How many investors did you help?
- How many closings did you do?
Why is this important? Stephanie said, “According to the last stats that I read last year, the average loan officer closes 1.4 loans/month… If the guidelines are changing on almost a daily basis with updates, and there are a pretty decent number of programs that are out there and available, and you’re closing less than 2 loans a month as a loan officer, how are you going to be the best in your field. How do you know how to put that file together? How do you know how to get that approval? How do you have the experience to know how to work around the problem if you haven’t done it enough times?”
While the more loans isn’t necessarily the better in all cases, if the lender isn’t doing high volume, it may point to a lack of experience or expertise that you want for the lender on your team.
The three questions you want to ask when interviewing a potential mortgage lender for your team are:
- What is the last time you read the guidelines book?
- What kind of added value do you provide?
- How many (families, investors, etc.) did you help last year?
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