In a general sort of way, mortgages can be considered commodities having many of the boiler plate provisions the same across the board (the only exceptions, of course are the terms on the mortgage note and provisions contained in portfolio loans that are retained by lenders and not sold in the secondary market). To the extent that the nature of mortgages is closely linked to commodity status, the quality of the mortgage banker herself or himself takes on paramount importance. I find myself very partial to mortgage companies and mortgage reps who have been around for a good many years and have weathered the ups and downs in the business cycle successfully. Furthermore, I favor mortgage bankers with whom clients can meet in their local offices as opposed to internet connections (in spite of advertising that might suggest otherwise). The purchase of a home is so major and so critical, I need to be able to access bankers and transmit needed information as quickly and reliably as possible, and to me that means local. Recent legislative changes have tightened the rules under which lenders operate, and so far, so good. Increased emphasis has now been placed on producing and sending to closing participants final documents (including HUD – financial bottom line- statements) several days BEFORE closing so that questions can be answered and errors corrected BEFORE we are seated at the closing table. I also expect mortgage bankers to return phone calls and e-mails promptly, to provide timely updates on client files, to be creative and show a willingness to interface with underwriters to improve the odds of success in challenging cases, and to be very much up to date with current rules and be willing to meet from time to time to update me on the changing environment. In return for all of the above, my job is to make sure buyer files are as complete as they can be before sending them to a lender for processing.
Mortgage bankers want repeat business, and by operating according to the above guidelines and standards, real estate agents like myself, on behalf of our clients, are happy to send referrals their way. I have several mortgage bankers in mind whenever I’m asked for a suggestion, and my referral does not involve any extra compensation to me except kudos from my client(s).