Your loan officer should bend over backwards to make sure your home buying process is simple and painless. But they can’t do it alone! Here are some helpful tips to make the process as smooth and stress-free as possible for you and your loan officer.
1. Your loan officer is like your attorney. Tell them everything and let them decide how to handle the information. Nobody likes surprises during a mortgage transaction. And trust me when I tell you that if you try to hide something (or simply forget to disclose information), your lender will find out! Tell your loan officer everything and let them decide how to present your information to your underwriter.
2. There is a direct correlation between the time it takes for you to get documents to your loan officer and the time it will take to close your loan. The number one cause of delay is a lag between request and delivery of paperwork. If your loan officer asks for an additional bank statement, get it to them as quickly as possible.
3. Make sure the paperwork you provide your loan officer is as clean as possible. Whether you're providing physical or electronic copies, make sure those copies are clear and readable. They will be scanned and/or faxed. Dark or blurry copies and highlighter marks do not scan well.
And staples are the spawn of Satan. You'll make your loan officer very happy if you lose your stapler for the duration of your transaction. Your originals will be scanned and returned to you. Staples, paperclips, labels, and post-it-notes must be removed prior to scanning.
Thinking of blacking out account numbers, social security numbers, or other sensitive information on your paperwork? Please don't. Underwriters can't accept any paperwork with information that has been blacked out.
4. Always include every page of bank statements, tax returns, etc. If the pages are numbered, your underwriter will want to see all pages - even if the last page is blank or otherwise irrelevant.
5. Follow instructions exactly. If you're asked for a bank statement, don't send a transaction history. If you're asked for a 2-3 sentence explanation letter, don't write 2-3 paragraphs. If you're asked to transfer funds directly to escrow, don't transfer those funds to your checking account first. When in doubt, consult your loan officer for help!
6. Embrace the digital revolution. If you have electronic copies of documents (like bank statements or tax returns), email them. There is no need to print them. Your loan officer almost certainly submits paperwork to processing and underwriting electronically.
7. Don't have a computer and need to send docs from your iPhone? It’s actually quite simple:
First, open the file on your iPhone and click the “Share” icon in the upper-right corner of your screen.
A menu of file sharing options will appear. Select the “Email” icon.
An email prompt will open. You’ll notice that your file has been included as an attachment. Fill in the “To” field and hit send. That’s it! Your file is now on its way to your loan officer.
8. Need to create a .PDF document to email your loan officer? Once you have the document showing on your computer screen, hit Ctrl + P (Command + P on a Mac). Now, you’re going to select that down arrow next to the printer name and find something that will allow you to print to a .PDF. It might be called Microsoft Print to PDF or PrimoPDF or something else with PDF in the name. Click “OK.” A new box will appear asking you to save the file. Choose a folder where you will remember the file location (like your Desktop). Name the file and click save. A .PDF of the document will be created in the location you selected. Now send your loan officer an email with a copy of the .PDF attached.
Pro-tip: You’ll want to try this on a computer vs a tablet or phone.
9. Don't delay in signing/e-signing your loan disclosures. There are federally mandated waiting periods after certain disclosures go out before the process can continue. Waiting to sign can delay your closing, so it’s best to take care of it ASAP.
10. Let your loan officer know your needs! Need to meet after hours or on the weekend? Most LOs can accommodate. I’ve even been known to drive paperwork to a customer at work if that’s what it takes to keep the loan moving forward!
11. Planning a vacation while your loan is in process? Make sure your LO knows the dates you’ll be gone and alternative methods of contact. Most of the paperwork-sending happens at the beginning of the transaction. At the very least, you should have an Internet connection and access to email so that you can eSign any necessary disclosures. If you're in a remote location, ask your hotel if they have a fax machine. Sometimes it's easier to fax paperwork back and forth if you don't have a good cell signal or Wi-Fi access.
12. Are your funds for closing deposited with an out-of-area bank or credit union? Contact them as soon as possible to find out their requirements for sending a wire. Some banks require that you show up in-person to request a wire. I had one customer who had to fly back to the east coast to make sure her transaction closed on time! Plan ahead!
Keep these tips in mind to ensure your mortgage transaction is smooth and straightforward, and you're moving into your new home as quickly as possible!