Van Gogh said once, “I dream my painting, and then I paint my dream”.

Van Gogh had experience, imagination, and of course, talent. My biggest concern regarding my clients is their lack of knowledge/experience when it comes to mortgages. It’s also my biggest joy to educate and help my clients figure out how to make a mortgage decision which provides the greatest benefit for them and their family. Part of this process involves talking with my clients about what their financial goals are so I can help integrate the right mortgage into their goals. When I ask them what their goals are, however, most of them don’t know or they have the response, “I want the cheapest rate and the lowest costs.”

Quite frankly, if I wasn’t deeply involved in the industry, I wouldn’t know what kinds of questions to ask to figure out what kind of mortgage makes the most sense for my situation and whether the mortgage broker I’m dealing with is trustworthy.  Most of us are not taught how to seek the right information when planning our financial future. So, if you don’t have a solid background, yourself, in financial services, you need to find someone who has experience and talent, along with a healthy dose of good character.

Hmm…makes me wonder if I could ever claim the title, “The Van Gogh of Mortgages”…probably not…I will say though that I can pass along some tips so you know when you’re dealing with an experienced, trustworthy mortgage professional:

When you ask the question, “What’s your best rate?”. You get the answer, 4.5%. – Is that person trustworthy?

NO. If someone quotes you a rate without asking many questions, that should be a trigger to you that they are trying to “sell” you on rate, not on what’s realistic for your individual situation. There are a lot of factors involved in qualifying for a mortgage rate. A reputable mortgage professional will work to get at least some basic information from you before making any predictions regarding rates. Better individuals will educate you about how your particular information affects the rate you might qualify for.

It is important, too, to realize that an interest rate is comprised of several components beyond the qualifications of the applicant.  The “price” of the rate has to do with the type of mortgage, (i.e. FHA or Conventional). The property type is also considered (i.e. single family or condo). Then, we factor in the personal credit score (i.e. 740 or 620). It also matters how much money you have to put down or how much equity you have if you’re refinancing (i.e. 20% down or 5% down).

When you ask the question, “Can you tell me what my costs are going to be?” The person gives you the answer verbally. – Is that person trustworthy?

NO.  By law, within 3 days of a loan application, you should have a Good Faith Estimate mailed, e-mailed, or faxed to you with fees disclosed. You should review each of the fees so you understand them. If you don’t understand, ASK, and expect a clearly defined answer. – This is YOUR money and you should know where it’s going.

I sat down with a new Financial Planner a couple of weeks ago and for the very first time in one of these meetings, I was told, “I want to help you achieve your goals, but you need a budget first.” At first, I was shocked, and, I admit, even a little irritated. Then I realized..Wow!…This guy really does want to help me and can’t until he asks the right questions. By asking the right questions, he helped me to see the bigger picture, which included the fact that I had to be an active participant in making this relationship work so that I received the results I was looking for.

In conclusion, trust your gut. If you like the mortgage person you’re talking to – they’re listening to you and asking lots of questions about what your goals are and how they can assist you in achieving those goals – you can typically be confident that you’ll be taken care of. If, on the other hand, you get the feeling that they are just feeding you the information they think you want to hear, without seeking or providing hard facts to back it up, it may be a sign that you should find someone else to work with.

As always, please contact me if you have any questions. I’m here to help empower YOU!

Megan McDonald
Licensed Mortgage Planner, Excel Home Lending
383 Inverness Parkway, Suite 130
Englewood, CO  80112
Cell: 303-717-9995
Off: 303-790-2022
Fax: 303-468-6133
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