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Questions to Ask Before Applying for a Mortgage

Most mortgage lenders want their applicants to fit a standard profile. Lenders like to see consistent or rising income. W-2 statements from stable employers. A strong credit rating. Low levels of debt. The resources to make a substantial down payment. If you fit into this box, you will have no trouble securing a mortgage. Congratulations … and feel free to stop reading right here! This article is for those who don’t quite fit the typical formula.

For example, if you’re a consultant or small business owner, your income figures may vary wildly from year to year. And at year-end, you may get 1099 statements from multiple customers rather than a single W-2. If you’re retired, you may have significant wealth in investment accounts and other assets, but a fairly low annual income. If you plan to buy a second home but keep your primary residence a few more years, your debt-to-income ratio may be a little off. For these types of applicants, here are some important questions to ask, according to Doug Cook, Executive Vice President and Chief Lending Officer at Taylor Bank.

Will this bank assign one dedicated loan officer to my case? If your situation is a little complicated, it’s important to be assigned one mortgage loan officer from start to finish. So, if you have a question or need help, you won’t be shuttled from department to department, put on endless hold, or passed off to someone who doesn’t understand your case.

Does this bank retain and service all mortgages in-house? If so, they can make decisions more quickly, without worrying about the requirements of any outside third party. This can be especially important if you need the bank to look beyond the obvious numbers and consider your situation in a more personalized way.
Does this bank offer free resources to help focus my thinking? A bank that’s serious about helping you navigate the mortgage process will offer online calculators you can access any time. It’s a great way to get started. For example, these calculators can help you learn how much home you can afford, determine your monthly payment schedule, compare various terms, and much more.

Are the bank’s mortgage products easy to understand? Many banks employ teaser rates, balloon payments, and other provisions that can be hard to wrap your head around. Much better to steer clear and keep things simple, with traditional products like fixed rate and adjustable rate mortgages.

“If your numbers fall even a little outside the formula, many underwriters will reject the application,” says Doug Cook. “It’s important to do the research and find a bank that will work with you to understand your full story.” That’s certainly the approach Taylor Bank takes. “For the most part, we can turn around approval in about a week,” says Cook. “We’re easy to work with and we get it done.” For applicants who may not meet the classic mortgage lending criteria, those are words you always want to hear.

Ready to get started? Visit our Mortgages page for more information or Apply Online.

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