There are a lot of ways to talk to mortgage professionals. One way is to call them based on a referral from a friend, colleague, family member or Realtor. Another way is to have them call you. That can be accomplished via the internet very easily. You can fill out a short form by clicking on a banner ad, a link from looking at a specific house for sale on a Realtor website, or any number of similar type of site. These become 'leads' to mortgage professionals. Some may not appear to be as professional as others and as a consumer you need to ask some questions yourself. One question "How did you get my name?" is really not necessary. By filling out the form, you authorized the call and whether the lead went directly to that person or if the person purchased that lead is immaterial.
What is important to ask? Where are you located? If the answer is in another state, then you will know that some of the answers you get in the course of discussion may be less than informed. I live in Florida. I can very intelligently discuss loan facets in Vermont & New Hampshire because I lived and worked there for many years. I can, to a lesser extent, answer New York questions because I worked there for several years. But I am not up to speed with changes that may have occurred there since I last did business there in 1995. I have done some lending in Maine, but would defer to an expert there as well. Florida is where I live and if it is where you live, then a comfort level can be reached that is not probable with someone calling you from Nevada or Illinois.
What is your experience? I wrote my first mortgage in 1981. I have seen many changes over the years, but the experience I have gained in lean times and in busy times is invaluable. If you are working with someone who answers 2005 or later for entry into the business, you may or may not gain that same advantage. Some who entered the business in that time frame are very good at what they do. But many are flummoxed by all of the rapid fire changes in our industry.
What do you recommend? Knowing that there are fewer and fewer loan choices now than what there were a few years ago means that it will not take as long to zero in on the right product. In some areas, if you have less than 20% as a down payment, then you automatically toss out conventional loans as options. So, you have to discuss the other major products--FHA, VA, USDA and State Housing. The questions the mortgage professional asks YOU are even more important. What are your goals? What payment are YOU comfortable with? How long do you plan to be in the home?If the answers you get and the questions you are asked allow you to develop a rapport with the mortgage professional, then you can probably feel good about proceeding. Remember that RATE is really not the biggest factor to consider since most rates will be fairly similar. Overall cost and trust mean so much more. Good advice is priceless. And a lead buyer CAN be the person you decide to select as your business partner.