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In today’s world, fewer and fewer homebuyers actually sit at a loan officer’s desk and complete a physical loan application. This five page form, commonly referred to by lenders as a “1003” is a complete financial profile of the buyers including income, assets and permission to run a credit report. Yet today the convenience of an online application makes it easier for both the buyers as well as the loan officer to get the mortgage process underway. But for some borrowers, the online application is just the beginning and the loan approval process is handled entirely online and with a customer service rep on the other end of the phone without any local contact. Is this a good idea?

It may be for some I guess, but there are some very valid reasons, and potentially deal-saving reasons to use a local lender. Why is that so if a mortgage is the same from a local lender and an online lender? When you work with a local lender, you’re working with someone that has established a solid reputation in the mortgage industry. The mortgage process can sometimes be a bit complex and working with someone who is local will be there for you every step of the way. When a real estate agent refers their buyers to a loan officer it’s because that loan officer has a reputation for making sure the loan is approved and close on time with the most competitive programs available.

A local loan officer goes to bat for you when questions come up during the approval process. A local loan officer knows not just which programs best suit a client’s needs. For example, the lender reviewing a loan application sees there is a deposit in a bank statement unaccounted for. The lender asks the loan office for an explanation and the loan officer contacts the buyers and explains what is needed. Knowing the ins and outs of getting a loan approved and how lenders underwrite a loan is a skill experienced loan officers hone over their years in the industry.

A local lender also means your loan is not only processed where you live but is approved where you live as well. Local lenders use local appraisers who know the area and neighborhoods. Local lenders can help fix credit report mistakes and a local loan officer will be at the closing table with you when you sign your closing papers to make sure everything goes smoothly. Can an online lender do all that? Of course not. When comparing options, there really is no comparison. A local lender is your best choice.

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