Pearly’s New Pad – Searching for a Lender

Choosing a lender

Choosing a lenderSo, let me catch you up on what has been going on around here in the great house adventure. I’ve been doing some detecting on getting mortgages and it looks like I’ve finally got an ally in the “let’s be logical and know what we’re doing” battle. Holy mackerel, for an intelligent human Mallory just wasn’t doing well plotting her course.  Get this, new house in the near future and she wanted to buy a new car.  One slip in internet surfing, just one, she ends up on a new car website and my girl gets reeled in hook, line and sinker.  (I did write an email to the auto company complimenting them on their marketing, but that’s really not the point.)

It was pretty clear that we had to deep dive into finding someone to help who had a good grasp of all of this before we got into hot water. (Which is really not good for me.) We hadn’t moved on from the friend-of-the-friend-of-the-friend-knows-something-about-mortgages stage that we were in a couple of weeks ago.

I’ll admit, that has partially been my fault; when you’ve grown up with stories of loan sharks, it’s instinctive to stay out of those waters.  But, Mallory is my responsibility so I swallowed hard, girded myself for choosing a lender  and started searching.  Remember we had already, with much grief, eliminated online lenders for this first house; we just didn’t know enough to take a DIY tack. And, given Mallory’s crazy business and our inexperience we really needed someone who had the background in this whole process that we don’t. Since we also needed to know how much house we could afford we weren’t going to go to a real estate broker first, so that wasn’t a channel for recommendations. Her bank has good people but they really don’t do a lot of mortgages and we really don’t have that long a relationship with them.

I liked the idea of a Mortgage Banker (sometimes called an independent lender or a correspondent lender), partially because they’re licensed so they have to have a handle on the industry and partially because that’s what they do all day long, every day, for all kinds of people in all kinds of situations. (We definitely qualify as “all kinds of people.”)   Mortgage Bankers deal with a variety of mortgage products too. More than just the mortgage we needed someone who had the experience to guide her through the process. That made sense to me, and after discussing it at length it made sense to Mallory too. (I’ve learned that if I just keep talking and swimming eventually she gets too dizzy to argue, perhaps a bit devious but any port in a storm and all that.)

Really, if we were going to do this it was time to fish or cut bait. To start, I read so many reviews and testimonials for Mortgage Lenders that my eyes were burning – and that’s not easy when you live in water.

Sometimes you have to fish or cut bait, but just how do you choose the right lender? Click To Tweet

Know what I found?  Not all reviews are equal and here in Georgia each Lender doesn’t have that many reviews.  Now, I get that, once you’ve been through the whole process and are moving in you’re more concerned with the house than reviews. But seriously humans, it doesn’t make the research any easier when you are working on choosing a lender. If someone had 4 reviews did that mean they were fairly new in the business or there weren’t a lot of clients who were satisfied, or just that they didn’t ask for reviews?  Navigating human waters can make you crazy sometimes!  After reading the 300th review, which sounded just like the other 299 reviews, I decided I had to narrow it down somehow.  I opted to try stable companies with people who had a lot of experience first. Given the way humans are with their money, I figured that if a company stayed in business for 10+ years and had a broad network they had to be doing something right!

Choosing a lender

We found Christy at Starkey Mortgage after talking to 5 different Lenders. Here’s what has me relieved; she asked a whole bunch of questions instead of just telling us “of course we can help you.” (I ask you, how did some of these people know they could help us before they knew anything about us; not swimming in that pool.)  And, she gave Mallory a list of what to bring with her to the first meeting – one less chore for me!

Mallory is off to the meeting, paperwork in hand. I’ll tell you how it went next week. Meanwhile I’m going to float on my laurels for a while.     Pearly


Missed last week’s story? You can catch it here! Or start from the beginning 🙂

28 thoughts on “Pearly’s New Pad – Searching for a Lender”

  1. Oh, this is always so cute. I just love: “when you’ve grown up with stories of loan sharks, it’s instinctive to stay out of those waters,” from our favorite fish! Glad you found a great lender too!

  2. Such a cute story.. but you are a great story teller anyhow… by putting together a story and still sharing news about your industry.. lending. Funny how lil people learn from us and also the hard way. Way to go mom (human). lol

  3. What an adorable story! Great point about reviews. I’m learning that reaching out and asking for reviews is a very important part of anyone’s business yet we don’t see many doing that.

  4. Thank you for the sequel to the very interesting story. I must admit that I am always looking forward to reading more of it. You have inspired me about reviews and how to go about it.

  5. A fun presentation to get your message out. I agree about reviews. There are also those who pay people for reviewing their services. Looking for experience is a great alternative

    1. Alene, paying for reviews is against the terms of service. I know people do it, but I think honesty wins in the end. And I truly believe that consumers can see through the false reviews. Years in the business isn’t the end all and be all either. It is one factor. Just like in underwriting a file, it isn’t one thing that makes it or breaks it. Use your good judgment and look at all the factors put together. Your gut will give you a good indication. Christy

    1. Rachel, that is a great way to get a good lender. Realtors get to know a lot of lenders and how they work. They can lead to a quality lender that is reputable, knowledgeable, and will ensure you close on time. It is always up to you to make sure that the lender is someone you feel comfortable with. The final decision is yours. Christy

  6. I very much like how you went through the decision-making process with research and determining your criteria. Knowing that you wanted a mortgage banker narrowed the field. And, then narrowing it down to business that had been around for at least 10 years was another good choice. And, then finding someone who is interested in your needs first gives you the confidence to proceed. One smart little goldfish you got there.

  7. Such a fun way for you to share your journey! The first house my husband and I bought in 1999 was through his military VA loan and while it meant a lot of benefits for us as buyers, lenders apparently do not like VA loans and so the whole process was an absolute nightmare. I remember all too well what it was like shopping around for lenders. Not a fun walk in the part that is for sure LOL!

    1. April, I am sorry to hear this VA loans are a benefit of your service and sacrifice. I love doing VA loans. They offer so many options to our Veterans that I want to make sure that every Veteran looks at that type of loan. It’s not always the best choice, but many times it is. If anyone ever gives you any trouble you just call me 😉 Christy

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