Ten Ways to Win:  #2 – Choose your lender Carefully

How important is your mortgage provider to the purchase of your new home? Look up the word “cornerstone.”  The cornerstone is the first stone set in the construction of a masonry foundation. All other stones will be set in reference to this stone determining the position of the entire structure.  Yep.  That’s your lender’s role in your home purchase.   A good Realtor is essential to making a good choice.  A good title company is great for closing the deal. However, with the exception of cash buyers, the lender is pivotal to determining how smooth (or not) your home purchase will go.


Where do start in finding that lender?  The temptation is go to the internet and find your lender on line.  There are quite a few lenders promising speed and simplicity at your fingertips.  But, in a competitive housing market like Columbus having a local lender is important.  Why? A logical response from buyer is “If money is at the closing table, why should the Seller care where it came from?”  Well, that “if” is the big “IF”.  If money is at the closing table.  The process of getting your loan is a complicated one with a myriad of eyes on you and your credit worthiness. It ends at an underwriter who gives your loan the final “yes.”  One bump in the process can cause stress, anxious nights, delays in your closing date, juggling of movers and utilities and, at worst case, a “no” at underwriting.


So why go local with your lender?  Here is why from a Realtor who sells hundreds of homes a year  often advising my homeowners in choosing the right Buyer for their home:


Local lenders have local teams.  This means that even when your loan is handed off to a colleague — that colleague is a desk over, not a department over or even a zip code over.   This also means a good one always has his or her eye on the transaction and is alert to “bumps” and keeping the transaction on track.  Rachel May-Sine is the Regional President at American Eagle Mortgage.  American Eagle has offices all over Columbus.  The May-Sine team works the loans of hundreds of Buyers a year.  “I have worked with the same underwriter for over 25 years.  We read each other’s minds.”  What this means to the Buyer: Rachel can make a quick decision knowing that her underwriter will approve when called upon to keep a loan on track.


Local Lenders depend on the business and referrals of local Realtors.  Does this mean they break the rules or do unethical “favors?”  No.  But it means that just a like serving a great meal at a restaurant, pleasing us means we will be back.  The loan officer in Detroit knows they will never see me again.  They do not owe me superior service because this transaction is likely a “one and done.”  My urgency is not their urgency.  This doesn’t mean they don’t or can’t do a good job — but I often tell my buyers: I want a lender who has a brick building with steps and a door in Columbus, Ohio.  Why? So that I can stand on the steps and pound on the door if a transaction is not being handled well.


“We give exceptional service to all of our clients,” says May-Sine.  “But we know ‘our’ Realtors. This means we know and service their systems and clients with an eye to their unique businesses and personalities.”


Shop local?  That includes lenders. Your Columbus, Ohio loan officer goes home to a home in Central Ohio.  They shop in our stores, and their kids go to our schools.  Putting money in their pockets is as important as your determination to shop at your local bakery.


Next week we continue our series Ten Ways to Win in a Competitive Market.  What is a good pre-approval letter?  How can my lender help push me across the winning finish line?



This blog is written by Kathy Chiero.  Kathy is the Team Lead for The Kathy Chiero Group of Keller Williams Greater Columbus Realtors.  Thinking of Buying or Selling?  Find us www.OurOhioHome.com © 2021 All rights reserved.

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