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Shmuel Shayowitz (NMLS#19871) is President and Chief Lending Officer at Approved Funding, a privately held local mortgage banker and direct lender. Shmuel has over two decades of industry experience, including licenses and certifications as a certified mortgage underwriter, residential review appraiser, licensed real estate agent, and direct FHA specialized underwriter. Shmuel provides a uniquely holistic approach to comprehensive real estate and financial matters that goes well beyond any single transaction. Shmuel is an award-winning financier recognized for maximizing the short-term and long-term objectives of his client. As a contributing writer to many local and regional newspapers and publications, his insights have been featured in the media for many topics, including mortgages, personal finance, appraisals, and real estate trends.

Passover, arguably the most celebrated Jewish holiday of the year, is mired with the theme of “four” throughout the traditions at the Seder. The custom calls for much of the evening to be in a question and answer format to best involve everyone at the table, and to obtain the most candid information possible. In that spirit, I thought I would throw out four aggressive questions in mortgage banking that are sure to help anyone in pursuit of a mortgage loan in today’s environment.

Is There Anything Better That Can Be Done For The Offer?

While mortgage guidelines and its corresponding loan-level pricing adjustments are uniform across the table, mortgage rates can vary considerably from one place to another. With that in mind, I would ask your mortgage advisor if there is “anything better that can be done” compared to someone else. I was recently talking with a client who was aggressively shopping rates, and we were comparable to his other top quote. He asked me if I could do anything better given his circumstances. He was already in our “top tier” program, but after giving it some thought, I was able to proceed without the need of doing an appraisal for his loan. That fee was enough to make our offer more compelling and get the process started quickly. The efficiency of not having to do an appraisal also made the application a lot faster and smoother.

What Can Be Done To Streamline The Application Process?

Again, mortgage loan parameters are pretty standard regardless of where one obtains financing, but a direct question at the beginning of the process asking for an all-inclusive list of documents that will be required can make the difference. The problem with many “shops” is that there are too many cooks in the kitchen. I was speaking with a potential loan officer this week who was looking to make a move from the company he currently is employed. He was detailing the process at his current place. After a minute or two I stopped him to do a head-count of the number of people who ‘touched the file’ before it worked its way to the underwriter for approval. There were between 5 or 6 different people or departments that had to do something on the loan before it was eligible to move on. No wonder it was taking over 40 days for his clients to get their approval.

Does The Loan Originator Have Any Involvement In The Loan Process?

It is quite common for mortgage companies to have a rigid division of labor when it comes to the start of a loan application, and its conclusion. Many lending organizations pride themselves on the fact that the loan originator “moves out of the way” after “the loan is booked.” I think that is a terrible model. There are so many delicate variables that can change the outcome of a loan that was initially set-up by the loan originator. In my experience, a majority of the loans that stall or fail in the process is a direct result of the fact that the initial loan officer moved on to “the next client.” I encourage everyone to ask about the specific involvement that the loan officer has during the loan process. Certainly, he or she will “avail” themselves at all times, but that is often not good enough.

Why Should I Choose You Over Someone Else?

While this might seem to be a very blunt and candid question, I think it’s an important one. I do think its important for a loan originator to clearly and distinctly detail what separates them from someone else. I don’t think its offensive in the least bit, and it’s a question that can help both the novice and advanced mortgage-shopper better understand their options. There is so much value that a loan originator can bring, that if they merely ‘spit-out’ rates, no matter how competitive, I would say that should not suffice. I know several loan officers who have now moved on to their second or third company in as many years and their premise is better rates and options each time. If that were the case, they wouldn’t need to be exploring alternatives for themselves or their clients so frequently.

As a Direct Lender with over three decades of service to our clients and referral partners, I am confident that we can astutely answer all these questions to anyone’s satisfaction. There’s plenty more to be wary of and we would be happy to expand on those solutions as well. Call today while the rates are still too good to PASS-OVER. Wishing all our friends a Happy and Healthy Pesach!

To learn more about Shmuel Shayowitz, click here or complete this form to be connected with Shmuel:

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