Buying a home can be an overwhelming experience, especially for a first-time homebuyer, so it’s important to partner with the right mortgage advisor who can help make the experience easier for you, be your trusted advisor and get your loan closed on time.

Choosing the right loan officer can be a daunting task if you’re not familiar with the process. By keeping in mind the key things outlined below, you can be assured that the loan advisor you’ve selected is an expert who will partner with you, and will patiently guide you through the process to help you navigate any questions or bumps you may have along the way, ensuring you close on time without surprises.

Step #1: Research your options: All Lenders are not created equal

There are many options out there for obtaining a mortgage, ranging from your local community bank and credit unions to mortgage banks who specialize in doing mortgage loans. Often times, the dedicated mortgage banks can provide buyers with more financing options due to the breath of products they can offer, and the high level of expertise of their loan officers and loan operations teams. Consider too how each lender delivers their loans: Are they local and understand the local markets that can impact your purchase? Do they have technology to provide 24/7 service throughout the loan process? Are they available in person if needed? Be sure they can provide the service you want and expect before committing.

Step #2: Make sure you’re working with a “live” loan officer

There are many options when it comes to doing a mortgage, but not all options include access to an expert loan advisor who will be at your side each step of the way. Be sure you’re working with a lender where you’ll work with the same loan advisor and team throughout the process, and that they will be available to answer your questions when you need them. Nothing can be more frustrating than the inability to track down a “live” person when you need one!

Step #3: Interview your loan officer first

The mortgage loan process is a very personal one, and requires working with a loan advisor you feel comfortable with. Once you’ve found the right lender, look for one of their loan advisors close to you. Then reach out personally to be sure he or she is someone you trust and feel comfortable working with by asking about their experience with your loan type or financial situation, and that they will help you explore all the loan programs available to help you select the best choice for you. It’s also worth noting how long it takes to hear back from someone. If they don’t respond in timely way, this could indicate how the future would look with this loan officer.

At Inlanta, you can easily find a loan advisor based on your search criteria, then learn more about each on their individual websites before reaching out.

Step #4: Get Preapproved before shopping

Finally, it’s imperative in today’s tight market to get a preapproval before you even begin to look. To avoid any delays or surprises, be sure your loan officer takes the time to clearly explain the process and the steps from application to closing. Check out Inlanta’s Mortgage Resource Center to learn the step-by-step mortgage process, from application to closing.

Remember, you and your loan officer are on the same team, working together to get you into your new home as quickly and smoothly as possible.