Know what to ask them

Having the first conversation with a loan officer is important, as you want to figure out if they are a fit for you. It does not have to be painful. Here, you will find everything you need to know what to ask them and even a script you can use.

Since you have all of your information organized, it will be very easy to find out what loan the loan officer can give you and whether they are appropriate for you (if they aren’t appropriate, just go back to the previous section and find another loan officer!).

The information you’ll give them

There are key pieces of information you’ll give the loan officer to make sure they are a fit for you. These are:

  1. Income
  2. Type of income (e.g. paycheck/W-2, freelancer, business owner/LLC/C-corp, etc.)
  3. Type and amount of supplementary income (alimony, stock dividends/sale of stock, bonuses, investment property revenue, family gifts, etc.)
  4. Debts
  5. Credit score
  6. Downpayment
  7. Loan amount

This way, your loan officer will know if the type of loans they have access will be available to someone with your profile. If not, simply go back to the previous section and find more loan officers to contact.

A simple script to use

Here’s a simple word-for-word script to screen loan officers and get the best quote.

This conversation is to get a sense of whether they can help you with your particular situation, and whether they seem knowledgeable, honest, and responsive. Remember, there are close to 400,000 loan officers in the United States, so if you don’t like the one you are talking to you, or you think they are dismissive of your concerns or needs, move on.

Hi [Loan officer’s name],

I’m looking for a new mortgage and am wondering if you can help me.

I am looking at homes in the [home price range, e.g. $400,000 to $450,000] range. / I am looking to make an offer/have made an offer on a home that costs [home price].

I am expecting to make a downpayment of [downpayment amount, e.g. $80,000].

I have a credit score of [credit score, e.g.720], a monthly income of [monthly income, e.g. $8,500 + supplementary income, e.g. $1,000] and about [monthly debt amount, e.g. $1,200] in monthly debts.

I am employed as a [type of job, e.g. salaried employee, independent contractor, business owner] and have been for the past [number of years or months].

I’m interested in getting a mortgage in [estimated month and year] and would like to know possible interest rates and products that you’d be able to qualify me for, given my situation.

What is the expected timeframe for me to get a mortgage?

Are you able to help me, given my particular circumstances?

What is your process? 

What other information do you need from me right now?

Thank you!

If they ask for an application, tell them that you don’t want to do that right now, you just want to get a sense of rates, products, and qualification requirements. At this phase, you want to make sure the loan officer can help you and get ballpark offers. 

Remember, nothing they quote you at this phase will be binding. This is the sales phase – they are trying to sell you on their ability to help you and get the best rates. Do not commit to a single loan officer at this phase, or two loan officers. you want negotiation power.

Ask for quotes to be delivered in “standard Loan Estimate format”

In the next section, you will read about the importance of getting quotes in a Loan Estimate, a standardized document. While calling loan officers, if you want quotes, make sure you ask specifically for quotes to come in standard Loan Estimate format.

Otherwise, you will get stuff like: “I can give you a 4% rate for a 30 year fixed”. This is useless. It does not reflect the total fees that you will be paying. DO NOT compare snippets of incomplete quotes to each other. This leaves out important costs. The standard Loan Estimate format fixes this. The next section covers it in detail.

Estimated time this will take

Under 1 hour.

Since you’ve already got the contact information from the last section of your four loan officers and you already have your income and debt information from the first section, Get Organized, this should take less than 15 minutes per loan officer, so under 1 hour.