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The Advantages of Different Types of Mortgage Lenders

What kind of lender is best?

If you ask a loan officer, “What kind of lender is best?” the answer will be whatever kind of company he works for and he will give you a list of reasons why. If you meet the same loan officer years later, and he works for a different kind of lender, he will give you a list of reasons why that type of lender is better.

REALTORS® will also have differing opinions, and those opinions have and will continue to change over time. In the past, it seemed like most would recommend portfolio lenders. Now, they usually recommend mortgage bankers and mortgage brokers. Most often they direct you to a specific loan officer who has demonstrated a track record of service and reliability.

This article discusses the advantages and disadvantage of different types of institutions, not the individual loan officers. However, it is often more important to choose the correct loan officer, not the institution. The loan officer has many responsibilities, one of which is to act as your representative and advocate to the lender he works for or the institutions he brokers loans to. You want someone who has proven dependable and ethical in the past.

Regarding the institutions, the truth of the matter is that each type of lender has strengths and weaknesses. This does not even take into account the variety of other factors that influence whether a lender is good or bad. Quality can vary, depending on the loan officer, the support staff, which branch or office you are obtaining your loan from, and a variety of other factors.

PORTFOLIO LENDERS

Savings & Loans are quite often portfolio lenders, as are some banks. Portfolio lenders generally promote their own portfolio loans, which are usually adjustable rate loans. They will often pay more compensation to their loan officers for originating a portfolio product than for originating a fixed rate loan. You may also find that they are not as competitive as mortgage bankers and brokers in the fixed rate loan market.

However, it is often easier to qualify for a portfolio loan, so borrowers who may not qualify for a fixed rate loan may be able to obtain a loan from a portfolio lender. A borrower may be able to qualify for a larger loan from a portfolio lender than he could obtain from a fixed rate lender.

Portfolio lenders also can serve as niche lenders because certain things are more important to them than meeting the more standardized underwriting guidelines of a mortgage banker. An example would be a savings & loan, which is more concerned with an individual’s savings history than being able to fully document income and other things.

If you apply for a loan with a portfolio lender and you are declined, you usually have to start the process over with a new company.

MORTGAGE BANKERS

If we are talking about the larger mortgage bankers, you can count on them having several strengths. For the biggest ones, you will recognize the brand name.

Usually, they are much better at promoting special first time buyer programs offered by states and local governments, that have lower interest rates and costs than the current market rate. These programs are often available to buyers who have not owned a home in the last three years and fall within certain income guidelines.

Mortgage bankers may incur problems because they are just too big to manage, or they may operate like well-oiled machines.

If you are buying a home and you need a VA or FHA loan and the development you are buying in has not yet been approved, they will be better at getting it approved than other lenders.

If your home loan is declined for some reason, many mortgage bankers allow their loan officers to broker the loan to another institution. However, because your loan officer is so used to promoting the company’s product, he may not be familiar with which institution may be the best one to submit your loan to. Another reason is because wholesale lenders do not expect to get many loans from direct mortgage bankers, so they do not expend much marketing effort on them.

BANKS and SAVINGS & LOANS

Their major strength is that you will recognize their name. In addition, they will usually be operating as a mortgage banker, a portfolio lender, or both, and have the same weaknesses and strengths.

MORTGAGE BROKERS

The major strength of mortgage brokers is that they can shop the wholesale lenders for the best rate much easier than a borrower can. They also learn the “hot points” of certain wholesale lenders and can handpick the lender for a borrower that may be unique in some way. He will be able to advise you whether your loan should be submitted to a portfolio lender or a mortgage banker. Another advantage is that, if a loan gets declined for some reason, they can simply repackage the loan and submit it to another wholesale lender.

One additional advantage is that mortgage brokers tend to attract a high number of the most qualified loan officers. This is not universal because mortgage brokers also serve as the training ground for those just entering the business. If you have a new loan officer and there is something unique about you or the property you are buying, there could be a problem on the horizon that an experienced loan officer would have anticipated.

A disadvantage is that mortgage brokers sometimes attract the greediest loan officers, too. They may charge you more on your loan, which would then nullify the ability of the mortgage broker being able to shop for the lowest rate.

WHOLESALE LENDERS

Borrowers cannot get access to the wholesale divisions of mortgage bankers and portfolio lenders without going through a broker.

When REALTORS® or Builders Recommend a Lender

If your REALTOR® or builder makes a suggestion for a lender, be sure to talk to that lender. One reason REALTORS® and builders make suggestions is the fact that they have regular dealings with this lender and have come to expect a certain amount of reliability. Reliability is extremely important to all parties involved in a real estate transaction.

On the other hand, a recent trend in mortgage lending has been for real estate companies and builders to own their own mortgage companies or create “controlled business arrangements” (CBA’s) in order to increase their profitability. These mortgage brokers sometimes become used to having what is essentially a captured market and may not necessarily offer you the lowest rates or costs.

Some real estate companies also offer different types of incentives to their REALTORS® in exchange for recommending their company-owned mortgage and escrow companies or lenders with whom they have CBA’s. Dealing with one of these lenders is not necessarily a bad thing, though. The builder or real estate company often feels they have more ability to expedite matters when they own the company or have a controlled business relationship. They cannot usually influence the underwriting decision, but they can sometimes cut through red tape to handle problems or speed up the process. Builders are especially forceful on having you use their lender. One reason is that there are certain intricacies in dealing with new homes. If you use a loan officer who usually deals with refinances or resale home loans, he may not even be aware of how different it is to close a mortgage on a new home and this can lead to problems or delays.

It is in your interest to know if there is any kind of ownership relationship or controlled business arrangement between the real estate or builder and the lender, so be sure to ask. Do not automatically disqualify such a lender, but be sure to be more vigilant on getting the best interest rate and the lowest costs.

Conclusion

Make sure to do a little shopping. By knowing the interest rates in your market and making sure your loan officer knows you are looking at rates from other institutions, you can use that as leverage to make sure you are obtaining the best combination of service and the lowest rates.

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Sandra Cullinan
Vice President/Associate Broker

Meybohm Real Estate
6004 Evans Town Center Blvd.
Evans, GA 30809
Office: 706-863-8218 
Extension: 2471
Fax:  706-855-7847
Cell:  706-533-3353
Email:  scullinan@meybohm.com

 

Testimonials

Sandra was very friendly, helpful and honest, she worked very hard! Mr. Schlabach
Sandra was very helpful and made sure that we understood everything that was going on during the whole process. We had a great experience with her. She also kept us very informed through the whole process. She was very friendly and knew exactly what she was talking about when it came to helping us out. We would recommend her to anyone! She is AWESOME!! Mr. Lunz
Sandra did a terrific job! We were under tight time constraints and she made sure we saw lots of homes- all of which met the criteria we provided! Mr. Guay and Mrs. Madden
Sandra Cullinan was wonderful! She made my first home buying experience wonderful as well! Great job! Ms. Altman
Sandra Cullinan is by far the best agent I have worked with in over 7 home purchases! Great experience! She is very knowledgeable in the market, best in the Augusta area! Mr. Allen T. Berry
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Sandra had excellent knowledge of the local real estate market, builders and neighborhoods. We looked at a lot of houses and I got a great house at a good price. Cannot ask for much more than that! Mr. Brett A. Paye
I would recommend Sandra because she was knowledgeable regarding short sale and other services I wanted to take advantage of. Also, she and her assistant Andrea consistantly handled themselves professionally and friendly. Not only did we give them a deadline that we had to sell due to military, there was also the added irritant of Chase Bank. With all this, yet Sandra met every challenge and excelled. Thank you. Mr. and Mrs. William T. Payne
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Sandra Cullinan was a great help to us and was looking out for us with the sale. We have sold a home and purchased a home with Sandra. When we are ready to sell again (2-5 years), we will search out Sandra Cullinan. Mr. and Mrs. David A. Pierce
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Sandra Cullinan went above and beyond her duties. She is a God send person. I will have her to purchase a new house in the future. Thank you for all your services. Patricia Washington
During our house hunting process we were able to see many homes without feeling the pressure of closing the deal. Our agent's goal was for us to find the right house and not just sell a house. Mr. Saman Nazar Zangana
Honest, great knowledgeable sales people Pamela B. Kennedy
Prompt service Tony E. Meade
Very early as we were simply being introduced to Augusta and the real estate market, we were not particularly pleased with service. With our connection to Sandra Cullinan however, we found energy and an accurate assessment of what our thoughts on what we bought. Mr. and Mrs. David L. Barcus
Sandra and Andrea were very helpful throughout the entire process. They constantly communicated with me via email and phone calls while I was doing my house hunting. My wife and I are very pleased with our new home! Thanks Sandra, Andrea and Meybohm! Mr. Anthony Weaver
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"It was so nice to find an agent like Sandra Cullinan. We lived out of the area and my husband was ill much of the time,This placed an added burden on Sandra to make sure that our property was always ready to show, which she handled with grace and compassion. When we needed to have repairs done she was our go between with the workers. She was always available by phone or email and was prompt in her response. I would highly recommend Sandra Cullinan to anyone needing a real estate agent. " Barbara Rollins, Orlando, Fl.
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