In two recent posts “Blown Mortgage’s 8 Step Program Will Save You $2,500 on Your Mortgage Refinance” and “The 7 most important questions to ask your loan agent before starting the mortgage process” I began to outline a strategy that you can use as a mortgage shopper to avoid bad mortgages and bad mortgage originators. Between the 8 steps and the 7 questions there was a lot of information that can be overwhelming and difficult to draw upon when actually in the process of refinancing or securing financing for a new home purchase.
To overcome that hurdle I have begun to design a series of Blown Mortgage worksheets that will help you successfully navigate the mortgage process. Not just information, but template-based, step-by-step worksheets that can help you evaluate the people and mortgages you are considering.
Here are the first two worksheets available for your use during the initial phone interview of your potential loan officer. These worksheets are based on step 3 of the 8 steps post:
Interview Your Referrals
Set aside 20 minutes to interview each referral. Don’t talk rates and programs – talk about their background, experience, company culture, personal belief systems and more. Talk about goals, long-term plans and more. Ask lots of questions. See which one is a fit for your personality. Who makes you feel comfortable and understood?
and also comprise the 7 questions in an easy-to-use worksheet format. The 7 questions you absolutely must ask your loan originator during the initial phone interview are:
- How are you compensated?
- How long have you been in the mortgage business, in what capacities?
- Do you have two (or three) customer referrals that I could speak with directly?
- What is your lending and personal business philosophy?
- Have you completed any licensing or continuing education?
- What documents do you customarily provide to your your clients during the loan process?
- Which lenders do you use and which loan programs made up the majority of your originations last year?
These worksheets work for both subprime and prime financing scenarios as well as for home purchase and refinance transactions.
Worksheet 1: Loan Officer Interview #1 Questions - Download the PDF file here. Use this form to guide you through the 7 questions you must ask your loan originator prior to committing to a service provider for your home finance needs. Note the answers to each of these questions for each originator you interview. Then use the data from these questions to compile your Loan Officer Satisfaction Score in Worksheet 2.
- Print this form out and review the questions on it
- Re-read The 7 most important questions to ask your loan agent before starting the mortgage process post
- Take copious notes
- Feel free to stray outside the questions
- Ask follow up and clarifying questions if you are unclear about some aspect of the conversation
- Get through all 7 to your satisfaciton
Worksheet 2: Loan Officer Evaluation Form – Download the PDF file here. Use this form as a scorecard to determine your level of comfort with each of the loan originators that you interview during your quest for a trusted adviser. Note: there is nothing on this form about rate, fees or programs; those will come in a later worksheet. The first step is to shop for the right person – then choose the mortgage with the person you’ve selected to work with.
- Print the form out
- Re-read the Blown Mortgage’s 8 Step Program Will Save You $2,500 on Your Mortgage Refinance post
- Review the criteria for evaluation and listen for those qualities during your interview
- Look at subjective items such as “Asks Good Questions” and “Understands Your Needs” and determine for yourself what a score of 5 (highest) would sound like and what a score of 1 (lowest) would sound like – only you can tell how comfortable you are with the answers given.
- The last one is key – “Gut Reaction,” if you get a bad feeling don’t fight it because the rest add up to significant points. Also, don’t get too comfortable and over-rate someone just because you develop a good rapport with them.
- The higher the score the more confidence you should have in working with that person
One final note: Nothing in these forms will guarantee you a satisfactory loan experience, nor do they guarantee that you’ll pick a good loan officer to work with. They are merely tools to help you manage the information you are collecting about each potential service provider.
Over the next week we’ll be rolling out additional forms and resources to help you properly evaluate and dissect the offerings of mortgage loan originators you are evaluating as you shop for a professional to assist you with your home loan financing. If you have feedback on the forms or would like to see revisions made please leave a comment with your suggestions.
Please note that the forms are copyright 2007 BlownMortgage.com and are for individual use only.