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October 23, 2014

Close to Home...The Advantages of Using a Local Lender

As a home buyer, you have a lot of choices when you’re looking for a lender. You can go to a bank, a credit union, a mortgage company, or log on to the Internet. You can even call a 1-800 number and get approved over the phone! But are any of these choices better than the others? We chatted with Betsy Saxon, Mortgage Loan Officer for First Bank Mortgage in Pooler, GA, to get the low-down on lending. “There most definitely is a difference,” says Ms. Saxon. “In most cases, a local lender is much better equipped to handle your mortgage than a large company headquartered thousands of miles away. These companies, that I like to call 1-800 companies, have a pre-set list of items they look at for each buyer, and that’s it. They don’t take into account a lot of personal issues or local opportunities. They work with so many people that you’re just a number to them. You aren’t a person with hopes and dreams and problems.” Ms. Saxon emphasizes that if you are a prospective buyer with any irregularities in your credit report, you probably won’t fare too well with a large mortgage company. “If you have a background that requires special handling, like a bankruptcy, an illness in the family, a previous foreclosure, or anything like that, a local lender will address these problems at the beginning, where a “big-box” lender won’t concern themselves with these factors from the get-go as they should.” For example, many people who have had a foreclosure think their timeline for being able to buy a new house starts when they move out of the foreclosed property and turn it back over to the lender. Sadly, this isn’t the case. The clock starts running when the lender takes their name off the deed to the house, and files a recorded foreclosure deed, which is usually much later. In most cases, the lender won’t do this until they are ready to sell the house again, which can be months – or even years – later.  If you’re working with an incorrect foreclosure date, your local lender is likely to catch this problem early, where a large, corporate lender is not. “Local lenders are also willing to work with you to improve your credit if you can’t yet qualify for a loan,” Ms. Saxon adds. “For example, I will often work with buyers to clean up their credit reports and counsel them so that they can get approved. They’ll come in and fail to pre-qualify, so I’ll tell them what they need to work on, and six months later, or a year later, we’ll get them approved. A large lender doesn’t care about working with a potential customer in this way – they’re just going to move on to the next prospect.” Local lenders also know the area well, and can give you suggestions and tips as to where exactly you should look for a home, and they’ll know if builders are offering special programs or if new communities are being planned that would be a perfect fit for your family. This “inside track” is something that will serve you well when you’re making your choice, and a lender from another area will have none of this information. You’ll be supporting your community and getting better service to boot! It is also important to note that if you have a number of inquiries on your credit within a certain timeframe, your score will drop. It is best to work with a local lender who can help you identify the best opportunities for you at the beginning and narrow down the number of inquiries that will need to be made. Local lenders are also much more responsive to a client’s needs. With their processing and underwriting done in-house, all the information they need to pre-qualify you for a loan is right there, and handled with speed and efficiency. They also meet you face-to-face, which builds a relationship that can last long past the home buying period. To a local lender, you’re a friend they’re helping to buy a home, not just a number. To explore working with a local lender, feel free to call Betsy Saxon at 912-663-2510. She can provide an incredible amount of free information to anyone who requests it, and is always happy to answer any questions you have about the home buying process.
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