Yes, and it matters more than you think. Buying a home will likely be the largest financial transaction of your life. Do you want to trust a random person on a website or at an 800 number, or someone you can call anytime (including evenings/weekends on their cell phone) or even meet with in person?
I am representing 2 buyers on transactions that close in the next few weeks. One is using a local mortgage broker and the other a large national lender. I also just had a transaction close with one of the big banks.
Here’s the main difference I have experienced with these different lenders – how well they communicate what’s going on with the loan. The local lender sends a weekly update on the loan; she also calls or emails relevant information as they come up. I was notified immediately when the appraisal came in (whereas the national lender never told us it was in or approved, we had to call repeatedly to learn that). With the national lender and the big bank, I had to reach out to both of them if I wanted any information. And it was hit and miss if a phone call or email was returned.
The most important question, of course, has to do with whether the lender can close the loan on time. While the big bank did close on time, it wasn’t because of their efforts. The bank wanted to extend closing; however, the buyer was adamant about the loan closing on time and between her and the escrow officer, they made it happen.
While I’m fairly confident the national lender will close on time, they are saying they wish they had more time (they already have 35 days). Local lenders are closing loans in as short a period as 10 days; 35 days should not be necessary.
You know the phrase “buy local,” let’s expand that to “mortgage local.” With the connection you make with the local mortgage officer (and with national lenders, there may be many different people you work with), you are more likely to have a smooth transaction. Plus, our local economy benefits when you mortgage local.
For a list of recommended lenders, contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org or 206-790-0081.