Everything you wanted to know about finding the right mortgage lender

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The right person can help you avoid disasters in the homebuying process

The average homebuyer will spend 30 years paying off a mortgage, which makes finding the right lender crucial from the start of the homebuying process. It’s like entering into a 30-year relationship, not with the institution doing the lending, but the actual person with whom you’ll worked with to finalize the loan.  As Loan Officer Petros Christophilis says, “In today’s competitive housing market, you can’t afford a single misstep because you weren’t well informed.”

Out of more than 500 loan officers at HomeStreet Bank’s mortgage division, Petros holds the number one rank in loan volume. But quantity alone doesn’t determine a good lender. In nearly a decade and a half spent in the mortgage loan industry, Petros, along with his team, has built a level of trust with clients that underscore how much faster and easier the homebuying process can be with the right lender. And by “right” we mean someone who responds quickly, listens carefully, and has a ready answer to your questions no matter how many you have.

Here’s Petros’ top advice on what to look for in a lender:

They truly understand the mortgage landscape – and can explain it!

Let’s not kid ourselves: the mortgage-getting process is complicated, stressful, and can be pretty scary. But for 75 percent of Americans, buying a home is a priority, and the best way to soothe the pain of the mortgage process is to get a lender who knows every last inch of the industry.  

Petros and his team collectively share 37 years’ experience working with mortgages, and it shows when working with clients: “I met Petros for a consultation on a mortgage loan, where he gave me a rational and detailed overview of different options, helped me to compare offers from various lenders, helped me to do break-even calculation for optimal buy-down,” said borrower, Krill S., who also noted the loan saved him around $5,000.

Over at Zillow, one past client went as far as to call her experience with Petros “the best part of our homebuying experience.” It’s rare you’ll see the words “best” and “experience” in the any sentence about buying a home, but Kathie J. highlighted how Petros “took the time to explain everything,” which can make all the difference, especially for first-time home buyers.

Unfortunately, not all lenders are so patient, and some seem to know less about the process than the borrowers. It only takes reading a handful of experiences from the general public to understand how disastrous an inexperienced lender can be to the homebuying experience.  If a potential lender doesn’t seem to understand their own business or the ecosystem in which it sits, best to walk away immediately.

They work for short turnarounds and quick closes

Speed is everything when it comes to the homebuying process, for both the buyers and the realtors. Petros has a reputation for closing not just on time but often faster than the typical number of days the process takes. The national closing average for large banks and mortgage lenders in the U.S. is 40 to 50 days. For local and community banks like HomeStreet, that number drops to about 30 days. Petros averaged 21.25 days for closing times in 2018.

Petros Christophilis' closing averages

“I appreciated how quickly Petros was able to handle our mortgage and that he was willing to work to get us a very competitive rate for our loan!” notes Chelsey H. Another reviewer noted that Team Petros “were creative in putting together a home loan package that made us competitive in a tough market for buyers and were able to close in less than 30 days.”

It’s also worth remembering that even a 40 to 50 day close time is not a guarantee in this industry — nor is accuracy. Much of your success will depend not on the company or bank but the individual person you’re working with on the loan. When you’re knee-deep in the process, you want to be able to trust that the person handling your loan knows and communicates what you need to prepare (e.g., tax returns, financial statements) and when each piece is due. And a reliable loan officer also knows how to anticipate the unexpected.

They can react quickly to any situation.

And even when circumstances arise — as they often do — that slow things down, a good lender will have enough experience, not to mention organization, to know how to react in the face of complication. Google reviewer Andrew S. illustrated that when he explained the rating behind his recent experience with Team Petros:

“Unfortunately, financing for our original buyers fell through days before closing, and we had to go back into contingency. And because of the timing, our original loan guarantee lapsed. Petros saw this, and was able to reuse documentation and get a new rate lock - at half a point lower, due to the change in interest rates. He saved us tens of thousands of dollars.”

This kind of reliability isn’t just for home buyers. Realtors, too, need to be able to trust that the person with whom they’re collaborating can offer their clients efficient and accurate services. The right lender will enhance your relationship with your client, and also help you reach new audiences, such as younger, first-time buyers such as millennials. Team Petros is available to provide such services for agents in the Greater Seattle area as well as California and Oregon.

Perhaps most important, the right lender will be able to see the homebuying process from your perspective and have empathy for whatever your situation may be. Sure, there are certain requirements they have to meet regarding credits scores and down payments. But whether you’re a first-time home buyer, seeking a VA loan, or burned by past experiences and wary of the housing market, the right lender for you will strive and ensure the smoothest possible journey through the homebuying process.

Say hi to Petros today and send him your questions.

Already have a mortgage? Petros can help with investment properties, home improvements, and other loan services.

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