How Military Lenders and Loan Officers Can Make or Break Your Closing
by Becca Stewart - April 11th, 2022
Timing is everything – both in life and in home purchases. When your military family is in the midst of yet another PCS, the last thing you want to encounter is a problem with your home loan. Working with the wrong military lender or an inadequate loan officer can mean the difference between closing on time and the deal falling through completely.
Do you know the signs of a bad loan officer? And how can you find the best military lender for your next home purchase? Read on to learn how to find a good loan officer and connect with trusted military lenders.
Using a military lender
As a military home buyer, you have several options when applying for a mortgage. Military members can use their VA loan benefits to purchase a home. A VA loan means you can qualify for a mortgage even with little or no money down (you won’t have to pay private mortgage insurance, or PMI, either). Interest rates are often lower with VA loans. Most military lenders can help you navigate the VA loan application process and explain your options.
However, in this very competitive market, using a VA loan isn’t always your best bet. In some cases, you might consider pursuing a conventional mortgage instead, which will require a down payment. An experienced loan officer can work with you to determine which lending option is best for you and your financial situation.
Mortgage lenders and your loan officer
You might hear the terms “mortgage lender” and “loan officer” used interchangeably, but the two are different.
The mortgage lender is the financial institution loaning you the money to purchase your home. In most cases, mortgage lenders are banks or credit unions. A military lender is a financial institution that works with military families to provide them with the best home loans at the best interest rate. They might work exclusively with military home buyers or serve a broader population.
A loan officer is someone who works for the lender. You might also hear the term “mortgage loan originator,” which is another term for the same position. When you apply for a loan through the mortgage lender, you will be assigned a loan officer who will handle your application. As a military home buyer, the best loan officer for you will be someone with plenty of experience working with military loan programs.
What does a loan officer do?
Loan officers work for the financial institution that lends money to home buyers. Mortgage loan officers are licensed professionals with specialized training and extensive knowledge about mortgage laws and programs. They are required to take continuing education courses each year to maintain their license.
A loan officer handles your mortgage application from start to finish. First, your loan officer will ask some detailed questions about your financial situation. They will run a credit check to establish your debt-to-income ratio. Using this information, the loan officer will give you a preapproval letter for a specified loan amount. Most real estate agents will also want you to have a preapproval letter before they start working with you. And many sellers require a preapproval before you can even see their home.
Note: While some lenders and agents use the terms “prequalified” and “preapproved” interchangeably, the preapproval process is much more in-depth and accurate. Your agent and the sellers usually require a preapproval over merely a prequalification.
Loan officers will also work with you to help you find the loan program best suited for your needs. They will discuss VA loans, FHA loans, and conventional loans provided by their mortgage lender.
Once the seller accepts your offer, the loan officer will collect any necessary documentation to secure your loan. The best loan officer is one who works quickly and accurately.
Signs of a bad loan officer
There are several signs of a bad loan officer. If you notice or experience any of the following, contact the loan officer’s supervisor and the mortgage lending office to express your concerns:
Your calls and emails go unanswered
The interest rate you were quoted doesn’t match the paperwork
The loan officer gives you the “hard sell,” trying to get you to change lending programs, pushing higher-interest or riskier loans
The loan officer misses important deadlines
Incorrect information on paperwork
Rude or condescending behavior
Little or no knowledge about the VA loan process or your VA benefits
Misleading information about your loan or the loan process
Having a less-than-desirable loan officer isn’t just frustrating; it can ultimately cost you the deal. If you miss critical financial deadlines, the sellers can back out of the contract. If your loan officer fails to submit the correct paperwork or makes inexcusable mistakes, the sellers can walk away from the deal, leaving you without a home.
Remember, you have options when it comes to mortgage lenders and loan officers. If you suspect your loan officer isn’t up to the task, request a change.
How to find a good loan officer and mortgage lender
When you’re shopping around for a military lender, you might connect with several loan officers. Even within one financial institution, there may be multiple loan officers to choose from. Do not hesitate to interview each of them and choose one with whom you feel most comfortable.
The best loan officer for a military family will be someone who:
Has extensive experience with military home buyers
Knows and understands VA loan benefits
Is honest about your options and doesn’t give empty promises
Is responsive to your phone calls and emails
Will find answers to your questions if they don’t know the answer themselves
If you feel uncomfortable with your current loan officer, ask if your file can be transferred to someone else. Remember, your loan officer can make or break the deal.
Feeling overwhelmed? We’ve got your back. Check out these reliable military lenders who can help your military family buy the perfect home.
Connecting with the best loan officers and military lenders
PCSing is stressful. Buying a home at your new duty station is just the cherry on top of the stress sundae. However, connecting with the best loan officers and military lenders doesn’t need to be complicated.
At PCSgrades, we know what it’s like to tackle a military move. That’s why we have compiled a list of trusted and experienced military lenders who work hard to get military families the best mortgage packages available. Their loan officers work regularly with military families; they know all about the best mortgage products for military families and can get the lowest interest rates and terms available.
Choosing the right loan officer can make all the difference between a smooth move and a PCS nightmare. Click here to find trusted lenders who can make your next PCS just a little easier.