Less than a month ago, a member of the Floify team closed on his first home in the highly competitive Denver metro area.
A month before that, he was sorting through a list of referrals from friends and his real estate agent, trying to settle on a loan officer to partner with on the financing side of the transaction.
This is the story of how he went through the process, from his perspective, and the underlying criteria used by a 30-something-year-old homebuyer to determine which LO was going to be the best fit to work with.
Surprisingly, the final choice wasn’t the overwhelming favorite of his realtor, proving that while referrals are important, borrowers still have business expectations that lenders must meet.
You might be curious about the most significant factor in our specific loan officer decision. To us, their responsiveness was of utmost importance. We prioritized working with someone who we felt wanted to work with us as well. In addition, we wanted to make sure our LO was going to be quick to take action as our loan continued to move forward.
The easiest way to find our perfect LO (with no existing relationships) was to reach out to every LO on our list and see how they treated early interactions.
From the beginning of our outreach, one LO quickly distinguished himself as the best communicator.
What really stood out was how quickly this LO was able to respond to questions and present information. It made us feel like he wanted to earn our business. We were not just a deal to be made.
Some originators took days to respond to our initial outreach. It was more simple to remove these LOs from our consideration.
Effort and Expertise
As first-time homebuyers, we “don’t know what we don’t know”.
Most of the loan officers we spoke with presented us with a vanilla set of loan scenario recommendations. Much like with the promptness of communication, it didn’t feel like they put in an effort to win our business.
Except for one LO. The same LO.
This loan officer gave us just the right amount of information about the options available to us. It wasn’t overwhelming, but more options were presented up-front to demonstrate some of the flexibility that was available to us given our situation.
In the end, not only did we work with this LO, but we found the best loan structure for us. It was one that he crafted during our first conversation before we ever committed to working with him.
The level of effort and expertise that was displayed at that early juncture was impressive.
At the very start of our lender-borrower relationship, technology to make the loan transaction simpler was immediately available to us, including an online loan app to get the process started, a secure point-of-sale where we could submit our docs, and eSignature for signing remotely.
In fact, the first time we met our loan officer in-person was at closing.
Did that present issues or inconveniences? Absolutely not. Just the opposite.
The entire end-to-end transaction was MUCH more efficient, didn’t require any unnecessary travel, and didn’t waste anyone’s time.
We were able to review and sign disclosures on our iPad. Only once was a wet-signature required at any point before closing.
That’s what today’s borrowers want!
But What About Interest Rates?
We ended up with a competitive rate and loan costs but didn’t get the best interest rate possible for our loan. There were actually a couple of other lenders who offered better rates.
However, when it came down to it, our biggest concern was finding an LO we could partner with who communicated well. We wanted someone who made it clear by their actions that he or she would be there for us throughout the process.
Overall, we did sacrifice a little bit in rate. However, the tradeoff was that we were at-ease throughout the entire process. Thanks to our chosen LO, we knew we were in good hands when we bought our first home.