Just like real estate agents, lenders play a critical role in the homebuying process. Lenders work with borrowers to educate them about available mortgage options and will help them find the right fit for their budget and lifestyle.
You'll want a lender with a good reputation and lots of experience. Most of all, he or she should be someone you communicate well with. Someone who "gets you," meaning they're patient in explaining the process of buying a home and what to expect at each turn.
"Buying a home is already an emotionally and psychologically overwhelming experience, especially for first-time buyers," says Richard Barenblatt, a mortgage specialist at Guardhill Financial Corp., a New York City-based lender. "Lenders provide a steadying hand."
Stick with Your Team
Barenblatt has worked in the mortgage industry for more than 20 years. He frequently speaks at home buying events, and he advises buyers that above all, you should "choose your team carefully because you will lean on them for support throughout the homebuying process."
He recommends buyers should reach out to multiple lenders to gauge what they'd be like to work with. Be sure they have good references, including online reviews, and specialize in transactions like yours. For instance, if you're buying a condo, confirm that they've done that type of transaction before.
"The right lender will have your best interest at heart. You should feel you're in safe hands, and that they'll do right by you," Barenblatt told us. "Once you've decided who to use, stick with them," he adds.
Because lenders play such a key role in the homebuying process, you'll want to find the person you trust early in the process. There's nothing worse than falling in love with a home only to find out later you can't afford it.
Lenders should ask about your home buying goals, your income and expenses, and your down payment plans. You will also want to work with a lender to get pre-approved, which means the lender has qualified you for a loan up to a certain amount. Knowing how much you'll qualify for helps narrow your home search and is a good bargaining chip with sellers. Even when you're pre-approved, you can continue to shop for better loan terms.
This June, we're celebrating all the people who help make homeownership possible. Lenders like Barenblatt will be with you throughout the homebuying process to help you achieve your homeownership goals.
"What excites me most about my work is making the mortgage process simple and easy for the people I work with," he says. "I approach every transaction with the mindset as if I were in the borrower's shoes."