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For potential homebuyers in St. Louis, it’s not just your real estate agent you’ll need to build a relationship with. You’ll also want to form a solid connection with your loan officer. The mortgage process is a major portion of the home-buying process for most buyers, and your relationship with your loan officer can really dictate how smoothly that process goes. Whether you’re just getting started and seeking pre-approval, or you’re ready to get financing in place for your dream home, here are a few connections I’d recommend asking your loan officer:
What should I expect in the loan process?
You want to trust your LO to lead you through the process, but you also don’t want to be in the dark. If you’re a first-time buyer and feel unfamiliar with the process, that’s okay. A good loan officer is there to help you. Ask your LO to give you an overview of the process, required materials, and deadlines, and ask if there’s anything you can do to make the process go more smoothly. Buying a home can be stressful when it feels like the process is out of your control. When you ask your LO to give you a sense of the bigger picture, it can help make for a more pleasant experience.
What kind of loan is right for me?
Your loan officer should be keyed into your specific needs. An LO who makes you feel like a cog in the machine probably isn’t going to deliver the best service. This question should come after some discussion about your budget, needs, and goals. If your loan officer was paying attention, they’ll use the information you provided to explain a few good options and help you weigh out which makes the most sense. They’ll highlight your options, and help you narrow it down to the one that will work best for you.
What are my down payment options?
This will typically depend on the answer to the question above, but if making a down payment is a top concern of yours, voice that early on in the process. Let your LO know that you’d be interested in learning about your options here. While 20% has been the norm for a while, it’s not the only option out there. Some buyers will find down-payment options as low as 3.5%. There are also sometimes down-payment assistance programs that your LO can inform you about as well.
What fees should I expect?
This will be your Loan Estimate, and your LO is required to provide it. It includes the fees that go to your loan officer as well as other professionals, like appraisers and inspectors. It’s also important to note when these fees are due. While many fees are included in the loan, some will be due at closing. Your LO can help you get clear on the specifics so you know what to expect.
What is the anticipated turnaround?
This will depend on many different factors, but especially if you’re actively looking and eager to put in an offer, you want to get clear with your LO on how long the process is expected to take. If you’re just beginning the search, many LOs may suggest getting pre-approved. Especially if the time frame is on the more urgent side, be sure to discuss this with your lender up front. The more they know in advance, the better they can help you reach your goal. Remember that some things will be out of your lender’s hands, but you can ask them for a reasonable window to form your plans around.
The home-buying process can be full of small steps and twists and turns. A great LO can help you navigate these with ease. To get the most out of the relationship, it’s smart to bring your questions to the table. The more informed you are, the easier you’ll find the process of becoming a St. Louis homeowner.