The Digital Mortgage Truth

The Digital Mortgage truth is much different than the hype.

Minneapolis, MN: It is 2018. The number of people who physically step into a bank or mortgage lender to do a home loan application is dwindling everyday. The vast majority of complete an online loan application on a desktop computer or iPad, or even apply via a Smartphone.

Digital Mortgage

Technology allows lenders to do more parts of the process electronically that ever before, including electronically signing application documents, secure uploading your documents, and even apps that shows the current status of your application 24/7.

Very cool technology, with this process now commonly referred to as a ‘Digital Mortgage’.

I see many places claiming using a digital mortgage will save you a ton of money. Mainly because somehow this streamlines the process, blah blah blah.

Taking the loan application online is only one small part of the mortgage loan process.

You still need to supply W2’s, pay stubs, bank statements, tax returns, etc. We still need processors, underwriters, and a large number of  back office staff.

While yes, we can now get some  of these documents electronically, I haven’t done a single loan yet without needing the client to supply at least s half of these standard supporting documents themselves.

You still need, and still want to have a conversation with a licensed professional Loan Officer to discuss your wants, needs and goals. To analyze your situation, to determine the correct loan for you, to answer any questions, and walk you through the process.

Yes, you can complete a loan application in 10 minutes on your phone, but that is a long long long way from being fully approved and actually successfully closing a mortgage loan.

There is no fast rocket way to circumvent the bulk of the mortgage process. So don’t be fooled or make a lender choice simply because of a gimmicky claim of a digital mortgage process. That just isn’t reality – yet. It is the largest financial transaction of your life. Don’t entrust it to your cell phone.

——————————————-

Ready to get started?

It’s easy. Simply complete the Online application.  You’ll be applying directly with me, Joe Metzler, an experienced, multiple award winning Loan officer with over 20-years in the the business. We lend in MN, WI, and SD. Learn more about me HERE.

Mortgage lender in MN, WI, SD


Is your Loan Officer State Licensed, or simply Registered?

Is your Loan Officer State Licensed, or simply Registered, and how can you tell?

You are about to do the largest financial transaction of your life, a home mortgage loan. What do you know about the person handling it, the Loan Officer?  For most people, the answer is basically nothing, and that should scare you. Many people assume the person answering the phone is a  licensed Loan officers, but this simply isn’t true the vast majority of the time.

While all companies offering mortgage loans must have a license, until the passage of the SAFE ACT in 2008 in response to the housing industry collapse, few Loan Officers had a personal license.  This wasn’t generally a huge problem until the real estate boom began in earnest around 2000, when it seems like everyone was a home builder, a Real Estate Agent, or a Loan Officer with zero schooling, training or experience. As we all know, lots of these people ended up creating a a huge mess in their wake.

With the passage of the SAFE ACT, Congress took steps to tighten licensing and training requirements for Loan Officers. All can agree, this was a great step in the right direction.  Unfortunately, Congress blew it by only requiring a small portion of Loan Officers needing to meet the strict new law requirements.

Differences in Loan Officers

Under current rules, Loan Officers at banks, credit unions, or mortgage companies owned by these entities are NOT REQUIRED to have a personal license. Rather, they simply have to register in the Nationwide Mortgage Licensing and Registry System.

Loan Officers at non-depository lenders, like brokers and non-bank mortgage companies are REQUIRED to have a personal license.

Loan Officer License

 

How To Check Out Your Loan Officer

Doing a little research on your Loan Officer is rather simple, with these two steps:

  1. Go to NMLSConsumerAccess.org
  2. Do an Internet Name Search
  3. Your gut feeling

On the Nationwide Mortgage Licensing System and Registry web site, you are able to enter the Loan Officers name.  The system will tell you how long they’ve been a Loan Officer, what company they are OK’d to work for, any disciplinary action, and if they are personally licensed, or simply registered.

Here is a screenshot of my personal NMLS record, which shows I am a Licensed Loan Officer in Minnesota, Wisconsin, and South Dakota.

Here is the bottom part screenshot of a Loan Officer who is simply registered. You’ll notice it says Federal National Loan Officer instead of listing states they are licensed in.

Next, Do an Internet name search in your favorite search engine.

Do you get any hits? What are they? What do you see?  Nothing? One link to a company web site?  Multiple hits on multiple sites?

Does the Loan Officer appear to be highly respected and quoted with lots of links? A great blog with great informational posts? Probably a good sign of a professional. Can’t find anything, or maybe just a listing on the company web site?  Probably not a comforting sign.

Finally, trust your gut feeling.

While being simply Registered doesn’t make someone bad, and being Licensed doesn’t make someone good, it does help you understand more about who you are working with.

If you see they are simply registered, and have been a Loan Officer for six months, that probably wouldn’t be who I would pick to handle my largest financial transaction. Especially as I think back over 20-years ago when I started as a Loan Officer.  I didn’t know anything, and it took years to gain the needed experience.

If they’ve been a Loan Officer for 10-years, but have been at 10 different companies, you should ask why? Keep getting fired?

On the other hand, regardless if they are registered or licensed, do they seem knowledgeable. Do they seem to have your best interest in mind?  Do they return e-mails and phone calls in a timely manner?

Personally I think the choice is clear.

Who would you rather have working on your largest financial transaction. A Loan Officer with a licensed they must maintain or risk losing it, with years of experience, or someone who is simply registered or new?

While true Loan Officers at banks, credit unions, and mortgage companies owned by banks and credit unions are NOT required to have a personal license, and many will tell you if you ask about their background how they are not required to have a license. Understand there is nothing preventing them from obtaining one. My opinion is if they really are professionals, prove their dedication to the industry by obtaining a personal license and giving the client a level of comfort.

If you are buying a home or refinancing a home in Minnesota, Wisconsin, or South Dakota, and you’d like me to handle your home loan, call me at (651) 552-3681 or just click on this link to Apply Online.

 

 


Tips for MN First Time Home Buyers

Minnesota First-Time Home Buyer Tips

Minneapolis, MN: Being a first time home buyer, and buying your first home is an exciting time. There is no reason to be worried, and here are a few tips to help guide the way.

STEP 1:

Find a lender – Get Pre Approved for a Mortgage Loan.

Unless you are paying cash, you are going to need a loan. Finding and choosing the best loan and lender to handle the loan for you should not be taken lightly. Randomly taking to whoever answers the phone at  1-800 Big Bank, or thinking you can get a mortgage in 10 minutes via your cell phone are generally huge mistakes.

Read my whole separate article on Shopping For a Lender

Once you find your Loan Officer, they will review various programs with you, go over your maximum purchase price, payment comfort level, and any other requirements.  Expect to send in a minimum of your Photo ID, last 30-days of paystubs, last two-months bank statements, last two-years W2’s, and at least your last filed Federal tax return.

With a mortgage pre-approval in hand, you can meet with the Real Estate Agent, and know exactly how much house you can afford to buy, so you are not wasting time looking at homes outside of your price range.

Step 2:

Find a Realtor.

As with picking a Loan Officer, picking a Real Estate Agent also should not be taken lightly. As a Loan Officer, my tips for selecting an agent are:

  1. Avoid big real estate ‘teams’ – you never work with the big guy.
  2. Most major real estate company charge extra fees – Pick small independents
  3. Experience matters, A LOT.

Once you’ve selected your agent, they assist you in finding your dream house, negotiating a great offer, walking you through the paperwork, and helping with things like inspections.

TIP:  Did you know that the buyers do not pay anything out-of-pocket for the working with an agent to buy a home. The cost of your agent is paid for by the seller.

 

Make a Home Wants and Needs Wish List.

Make a list of what you absolutely must have in your new home. Number of bedrooms, school district, etc., and let your Real Estate Agent know.  Then also decide on things you can be flexible on. Unless you are building a custom home, no house will be a perfect fit.

Looking At Homes.

Typically your agent will set you up on automated email listing of new homes that fit your criteria.  Especially in the under $300,000 price point, you should look at those emails daily, and if you see something you like, you need to be prepared to drop everything, and go immediately look at the house.  Waiting for the weekend or a day off, and you may have been just beaten out by someone else.

As you look at homes, you may find your wants/needs list can change.  Be sure to pass that along to your agent.

Ready to get started?

It’s easy. Simply complete the Online application.  You’ll be applying directly with me, Joe Metzler, an experienced, multiple award winning Loan officer with over 20-years in the the business. We lend in MN, WI, and SD. Learn more about me HERE.

 


Mortgage loans. Why all the paperwork?

Mortgage loans – Why all the paperwork?

Loan PaperworkAs a Loan Officer serving Minnesota, Wisconsin, and South Dakota, I am constantly asked why is there so much paperwork required to get a mortgage loan today. It seems that the lender wants to know everything about you these days, and you would be correct. Your mortgage lender does want to know a lot about you.  If you were to give a complete stranger a huge loan, for a 30-year commitment, what would YOU want to know about them?

To make it feel worse than it really is, from about 1999 until 2007 during the housing boom, there were many programs available that allowed for limited documentation, or even no proof of income. Many people took advantage of those programs. Unfortunately, a large number of those people were allowed to bite off more loan than they would have been allowed if they proved income, contributing to the real estate collapse starting in 2007.

Loan Documentation Requirements Today

No one wants foreclosures and bad loans. It isn’t good for the home buyer, the neighborhood, or the economy.  For that reason, mortgage companies need to verify and double check everything on the application, and to make sure you are a good risk.

There are three very good reasons that the loan process is much more onerous on today’s buyer than perhaps any time in history.

  1. The mortgage industry was a bit too trusting in the past. Lenders for example asked for a pay stub, but we took what you provided at face value, and there was no double check. This allowed fraud to become rampant. How hard would it be to scan a W2 that said you made $30,000 a year into a computer, then use Photoshop to change that the 3 to an 8, and now you make $80,000 a year income.
  2. Even without fraud, during the run-up in the housing market, many people qualified for mortgages that they realistically could never pay back. The government has mandated new guidelines that now demand that the mortgage lender  prove beyond any doubt that you are indeed capable of affording the mortgage. The rule is called ATR, or the “Ability to Repay” rule. So no more stated income, or limited income loans.
  3.  The lenders have never wanted to be in the real estate holding business. Since the collapse, lenders suffered huge losses that came close to destroying the economy, and were were forced to take on the responsibility of liquidating millions of foreclosures,  and negotiating millions of more homes in short-sales.

The Good News About Mortgage Loans

The friends and family who bought homes ten or twenty ago experienced a simpler mortgage application process. If you got a loan ten to 20-years ago, yes, it was easier. But at the same time, if you never experienced that in the past, your fame of reference is that it really isn’t all that difficult today.

Instead of complaining about the paperwork required, be thankful that that you can get a loan, and get it at these amazingly low mortgage interest rates.


How Real Estate Agents Risk their License everyday

Don’t risk your Real Estate License

Many Real Estate Agents put their license at risk on a daily basis without knowing it.  Generally this is by stepping outside of their official duties, and stepping into areas they shouldn’t.

Title Company Risk

Did you know that most states have insurance solicitation laws that may apply when you refer a client to an in-house title firm (or one with which you have a Marketing Service Agreement)?

That means that you might need a title insurance license to make certain referrals. The safest thing a real estate agent can do is to discuss title, what it is, and let their clients decide who to use.images1923532412

This includes real estate agents automatically ordering title services from their preferred title company without talking to clients and getting their permission.

Mortgage Risk

Did you know that mortgage laws also prevent non-licensed mortgage originators from discussing loans, loan terms, programs and interest rates?  A Mortgage Loan Originator License must be obtained BEFORE doing any of the following residential property mortgage loan activities: soliciting, originating a loan application, offering, or negotiating any residential mortgage loans.

Can are real estate agent refer a client to a lender or Loan officer?  You bet, but they need to be very careful if they suggest loan programs, or talk about interest rates. A real estate agents best bet is to simply tell the client that they are not a lender, and they need to ask the Loan Officer all mortgage questions.

CFPB (Consumer Financial Protection Bureau)

“Solicit” means attempting to sell or asking or urging a person to apply for a particular kind of insurance or loan from a particular company, and no person shall sell, solicit, or negotiate any insurance or mortgage without a license.

Regulators at the CFPB are turning their heads towards Real Estate Agents, now that they have caused a lot of headache in the banking, mortgage, and credit card industries.  Just like giving legal advice,  it is generally best for real estate agents to simply avoid the potential trouble, and think before you act, even if your heart is in the right place by not giving advice and referrals.


Top 100 Loan Officer 2015

Mortgages Unlimited’s Loan Officer Joe Metzler, out of their St. Paul, MN Office, has been recognized as one of the Top 100 Loan Officers in the Nation by Origination News, coming in at number 98. Read the list at http://tinyurl.com/ljqqkbj

Top Loan Officers 2015This is another is an ongoing set of accomplishments for Mr. Metzler, as he was also recently named the Minnesota Mortgage Associations 2014 Loan Officer of the Year.  Joe Metzler has been a top producing Loan Officer for Mortgages Unlimited since 2000, and has over 20-years industry experience.  Joe has received other awards in recent years in recognition of his outstanding service and dedication to the mortgage industry, including:
  • 2011 – Top 40 Most Influential Mortgage Professions to Watch (NMPM)
  • 2010 – Top 150 Loan Officers in the Nation by Dollar Volume (Origination News)

Joe Metzler is a certified MMS (Minnesota Mortgage Specialist). Less than 1% of Mortgage Loan Officers in Minnesota have completed the requirements to earn this designation. This is just one of many ways that shows Joe’s dedication to his career.  His track record is exceptional by any standard. He believes in doing the job right the first time and providing a service you can depend on.

If you’d like to have Joe as your Loan Officer, he is licensed in MN, WI, and SD. He can be reached at (651) 552-3681, or you can apply on his web site


Advantages of a Mortgage Professional vs Application Clerk

Advantages of a Mortgage Professional vs Application Clerk

Buying a home is an expensive proposition, and usually the largest single financial transaction of the average persons life.  Not all mortgage loan officers are created equal.  It is important to understand the advantages of a true licensed mortgage professional,  versus an unlicensed application clerk.

A deserved premium is always given to those Loan Officers who have deep knowledge and understanding of the dynamics of mortgage financing and loan programs. They are an asset for different kinds of clients because of their life experiences, loan experiences, wisdom, and resourcefulness.

Most people simply contact their bank, and whomever answers the phone is who they entrust with the mortgage.  Why?  The next biggest group of people use whomever their Real Estate Agent suggests.  Why do you blindly trust these people?

Licensed versus Unlicensed

If I asked you if you preferred to work with a licensed or unlicensed Loan Officer, the answer is pretty simple. Just about everyone would say a licensed person. Yet the vast majority of Loan Officers do NOT have an individual Loan Officer License.  Depending on where they work, they are not ever required to have a license.

licenseIf they work at a bank, credit union, or mortgage company owned by a bank or credit union, no licensed required. If they work at a mortgage broker, or other non-bank owned lender, a license IS required.

But just because a licensed is not required, does not prevent someone from getting a license. If they really cared about you, and being the best they could be, they would show it by obtaining a license. This proves to clients they have met the requirements for background checks, schooling, passing testing, and continuing education.

How to Check for a License

All Loan Officers must have a tracking number, known as an NMLS number (Nationwide Mortgage Licensing System and Registry).  This is NOT a license number!

nmls

To verify a Loan Officer is Licensed, not simply registered, go to the NMLS Web Site at www.NMLSconsumerAccess.org.  Type in the Loan Officers name or NMLS number.

Towards the bottom of the page, it will say State Licenses/Registrations, or Federal Registration.

If it says: Federal Registration, and Federal National Mortgage Originator. This means the person is NOT Licensed

If it says: State Licenses/Registration, then lists one or more states, this means the person IS Licensed.

Who to Choose?

I am not saying that the person who is simply registered and NOT licensed is a bad person. I am not saying they don’t have experience. I am not saying that a person with a license is a good person…

But what I am saying, is someone who has taken the time to pass the required background checks, taken the schooling required, pass the required state and federal tests, and receives mandatory continuing education each year show you the consumer that they are true professionals. If the person you are working with doesn’t have a license, ask they why? An answer of “I don’t need one” is a poor answer.

Clients enjoy a peaceful mind knowing that an important aspect of their lives is in the hands of a highly professional Loan Officer. This draws the line between application clerks and real professionals.

In the context of service, respectfulness, dedication, and commitment to helping others, I am choosing a Licensed Professional, regardless of the industry!

———-

Joe Metzler is a Senior Mortgage Loan Officer for Minnesota based Mortgages Unlimited. He was named the 2014 Minnesota Loan Officer of the Year, and provides Home Mortgage Loans in MN, WI, and SD.

He can be reached at (651) 552-3681


2014 Minnesota Loan Officer of the Year

Mortgages Unlimited’s Loan Officer Joe Metzler, out of their St. Paul, MN Office, was awarded 2014 Minnesota Mortgage Association’s Loan Officer of the Year.

MN 2014 Mortgage Loan Officer of the YearHe was presented with the award at the MMA Annual Holiday Event on December 9th, 2014.

This is a huge accomplishment for both Joe, as there are over 100 companies included in the MN Mortgage Association.  Joe Metzler has been a top producing Loan Officer for Mortgages Unlimited since 2000, and has over 20-years industry experience.  Joe has received other awards in recent years in recognition of his outstanding service and dedication to the mortgage industry, including:

  • 2011 – Top 40 Most Influential Mortgage Professions to Watch
  • 2010 – Top 150 Loan Officers in the Nation by Dollar Volume

He is a certified MMS (Minnesota Mortgage Specialist). Less than 1% of Mortgage Loan Officers in Minnesota have completed the requirements to earn this designation. This is just one of many ways that shows Joe’s dedication to his career.  His track record is exceptional by any standard. He believes in doing the job right the first time and providing a service you can depend on.

If you’d like to have Joe as your Loan Officer, he is licensed in MN, WI, and SD. He can be reached at (651) 552-3681, or you can apply on his web site.


Wells Fargo and B of A top in complaints

St Paul, MN:  This isn’t shocking news to us, but it looks like the big banks, Wells Fargo and Bank of America, top the list of consumer complaints – especially for mortgages.

Read the story from the Washington Business Journal at http://tinyurl.com/ljs3csh 

You can avoid a lot of the problems if you understand who you are working with. Always work with an experienced, professional loan officer. The largest financial transaction of your life is far too important to place into the hands of someone who just quotes rates, but is not capable of advising you properly and troubleshooting the issues that may arise along the way. But how can you tell?

80% of Loan Officers are NOT Licensed

CHECK YOUR LOAN OFFICER OUT on the Nationwide Mortgage Licensing System and Registry 

http://www.nmlsconsumeraccess.org

Bank Loan Officers (Registered) versus SAFE ACT (Licensed) Loan Officers?
There is a BIG difference YOU need to understand

Washington has been busy protecting consumers from bad lenders right? Wrong! They have only done half the job, and sadly, the general perception by the public as to who is the better lender choice is completely wrong. Most people feel the brokers and the non-bank mortgage lenders have created all the problems. This isn’t true. Just the opposite. Consider the fact that Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac, and banks make the rules, and the banks review, underwrite, and fund the loans for brokers.

Recent changes to the lending industry requires all loan officers to have a tracking number, known as an NMLS number (Nationwide Mortgage Licensing System and Registry). It should be displayed on their business cards, E-Mail, web sites, all correspondence, and most loan documents. The display of the NMLS number may incorrectly make consumers believe the Loan Officer is licensed. Only 20% of Loan Officers are licensed. The rest are simply registered. Working with an unlicensed, untrained Loan Officer is not in a consumers best interest.

Simply put, Loan Officers at Banks, Credit Unions, or Mortgage Companies owned by a bank are NOT REQUIRED to be licensed, take classes, take continuing education, or pass any state or federally mandated tests to be a Loan Officer!

It is hard to determine if the Loan Officer is simply registered, versus licensed. nmls_checkWhen looking up a loan officer, you have to go to the bottom of their NMLS identification page and look under State Licenses/Registrations or Federal Registration heading.

  • A LICENSED Loan Officer will say “State Licenses/Registrations” and will have one or more STATES listed with all their state licensing information listed.
  • An UNLICENSED, but simply REGISTERED Loan Officer will say “Federal Registration” and the something like “Federal Mortgage Loan Originator”.

Now I am not trying to make this into a David versus Goliath story, but I am trying to emphasize the huge differences between Loan Officer training and education.  Look at it a different way. If you are sick and go to the Doctors office. Do you want to be treated by the receptionist, or the Doctor?


How to pick an expert Mortgage Loan Officer

With today’s super low mortgage rates, many people are looking to refinance or buy a home.  Everyday, they call lenders and ask “What is your rate.”  A seeming logical question to ask – but the reality is, the #1 most important aspect of a successful mortgage transaction is the quality of the Loan Officer.

When selecting a Mortgage Loan Officer, most people mistakenly call their local bank first and assume the banks have hired qualified people.  The reality is, most banks hire relatively new, and have low paid people as mortgage loan officers. Bank Loan Officers are NOT required to have any education, nor do they have to pass any sort of mandatory state or federal tests to be labeled a loan officer. Many of the big banks staff their 1-800 phone numbers with temps.  Yes, you heard me – temps!

The secret to selecting an expert is a combination of experience and training.

An experienced Loan Officer can help you understand the entire mortgage process and will be able to determine the best loan for you based on your individual goals. The right loan for someone who plans to stay in a home for three years and who has increasing income, may not be the right loan for someone who wants to have the loan paid off within 15 years and can afford a higher payment. The first borrower may find a five year adjustable rate mortgage the best option, while the second borrower may realize a 15 year low fixed rate mortgage matches her needs best.

Many borrowers find the mortgage process very frustrating. They feel they are kept in the dark about the process and problems that arise which cause delays. An experienced Loan Officer does not over promise, but rather explains the type of problems you may experience and the solutions to those problems. By keeping you informed and protected, an experienced loan consultant reduces your stress.

A poor inexperienced application clerk (loan officer) may suggest you fudge information on your loan application, or may not get a complete application out of laziness. The more complete and accurate your loan application is from the beginning, the faster and smoother your loan underwriting will be. The industry has evolved to the extent that fraudulent or misleading information is almost always uncovered by fraud alert systems that scrutinize employment and residency information. You are required to be honest in completing a loan application. Do not do business with any loan officer who tells you otherwise.

Lastly, an experienced loan officer can explain how closing costs and interest rates are dependent on one another. The more fees you are willing to pay, the lower your rate. The less fees you are willing to pay, the higher the rate. Many loan officers will tell you they have the best rate only to surprise you with unreasonable closing costs. It is best to work with a loan officer who explains all of your rate options with you, and who will suggest a rate and fee combination that works best to meet your long term goals. The right loan officer will always get an exact title fee quote so that the Good Faith Estimate provided to you is accurate.

Once you’ve started talking with a Loan Officer – verify their credentials.  All Loan Officers are required to have and display an NMLS number (Nationwide Mortgage Licensing System and Registry). Go to www.NMLSConsumerAccess.org, and type in your Loan Officers name or number.

You can see their employers, and work history – but more importantly, you can see if they are simply a registered but unlicensed Loan Application Clerk, or an actual Licensed, and Tested Loan Officer.  It is a bit trick to tell, but at the very bottom of their NMLS information page, it will say one of two things:

1) Federal Registration – then Federal Mortgage Loan Originator. This person is a unlicensed application clerk

2)  State Licenses / Registrations – They list one or more individual state licenses. This person is licensed and tested both Federally, and in each state listed.

For the largest financial transaction of your life, it is smart to NEVER WORK WITH JUST AN APPLICATION CLERK

 


What do you know about your Mortgage Loan Officer?

What do you know about your Mortgage Loan Officer?

All Mortgage Loan Officers are required to register with the Nationwide Mortgage Licensing System (NMLS) & Registry. The Registry assigns each Loan Officer a unique identifier number that stays with them throughout their career. Using this number you can review professional background information for a Loan Officer through the NMLS database prior to doing business with them.

The display of an NMLS number tends to lead most people to believe all Loan Officers are licensed. This is far from the true. Only about 20% of Loan Officers are actually licensed, the rest are simple registered.

Licensed Loan Officers are required to have pre-employment mortgage education, must pass criminal background checks, must pass a difficult Federal Licensing test, must pass a difficult State Licensing test in EACH state they wish to do business, and must complete yearly continuing education requirements.

Simply registered Loan Officers could have been flipping burgers last week, and doing Loans today. While their employer may have some sort of internal hiring and training system, there are no mandatory state or federal licensing requirements, and no educational requirements.

Now I am not saying that simply registered Loan Officers are bad people, but when you are working on the largest financial transaction of the average persons life, who would you prefer? Licensed or unlicensed? Another way to look at it is to assume you are sick. Sure, you can go online to WebMD, self-diagnose your illness, go to the pharmacy, buy a scalpel, and attempt self surgery. Or you can go to the Doctor.

So how do you verify if a Loan Officer is Licensed or simply Registered? It only takes minute to find out.

  1. Simply go to www.NMLSConsumerAccess.org.
  2. Enter the Loan Officers Name, or their NMLS #
  3. Click on their name

Scroll to the bottom of the page.

  • If it says STATE LICENSES/REGISTRATIONS, then lists one or more States – They ARE A LICENSED Loan Officer
  • If it says FEDERAL REGISTRATION, then says Federal Mortgage Loan Originator – They ARE NOT LICENSED.

Licensed or simply registered? I think the choice is clear for smart homeowners.

.


There are differences in Loan Officer qualifications. Know how to tell who you are working with

Is your Loan Officer Licensed, or simply registered? There is a BIG difference YOU need to understand

Recent changes to the lending industry requires all loan officers to have a tracking number, known as an NMLS number (Nationwide Mortgage Licensing System and Registry). It should be displayed on their business cards, E-Mail, web sites, all correspondence, and most loan documents.

The display of the NMLS number may make many believe the Loan Officer is licensed. Sadly, this isn’t true, and working with an unlicensed, untrained Loan Officer can cause you many headaches and hassles.

Simply put, Loan Officers at Banks, most Credit Unions, or Mortgage Companies owned by a bank are NOT REQUIRED to be licensed, take classes, pass any tests, take continuing education, or pass any state or federally mandated tests to be a Loan Officer!

CHECK YOUR LOAN OFFICER OUT on the Nationwide Mortgage Licensing System and Registry at http://www.nmlsconsumeraccess.org

My NMLS # is 274132

It is hard to determine if the Loan Officer is simply registered, versus licensed. When looking up a loan officer, you have to go to the bottom of their NMLS identification page and look under State Licenses/Registrations or Federal Registrationheading.

  • A LICENSED Loan Officer will say “State Licenses/Registrations” and will have one or more STATES listed with licensing information.
  • An UNLICENSED, but simply REGISTERED Loan Officer will say “Federal Registration” and the something like Federal Mortgage Loan Originator.

Who is Best? Banks, Brokers, or Direct Mortgage Lenders?

Now I am not trying to make this into a David versus Goliath story, but I am trying to emphasize the huge differences between Loan Officer training. As the new requirements have been rolling out across the country, many Loan Officers who have been unable to meet the new licensing and testing requirements, and especially those who have failed the new tests, have simply gone to the large banks to work.

Calling “1-800-Big-Bank” to get a loan??? YIKES. Here is a chart to show the differences:

SAFE ACT Loan Officers
(MLO’s)
Bank Loan Officers (RMLO’s)
Have Personal License Yes No
Registered in NMLS Yes Yes
FBI Background Yes No
Fingerprinted Yes No
Surety Bonded Yes No
Pre-Employment education Yes No
8 hours continuing education each year Yes No
Personal Credit checked Yes No
Pass Tough State Test Yes No
Pass Tough Federal Test Yes No
Complaint mechanism’s Yes No
Licensing fees and renewals Yes No
Loan Officer Designation MLO RMLO
NMLS = Nationwide Mortgage Lender System and Registry (Tracking Number)
MLO = Mortgage Loan Officer (Licensed and Trained)
RMLO = Registered Mortgage Loan Officer (simply registered)

I think the choice is clear. Who would YOU rather be working with on the largest financial transaction of your life? A fully trained, licensed, fingerprinted, and background checked Loan Officer – or the untrained, unlicensed, and simply registered Loan Officer at the bank?

The funny part is the cost for the service based on rates and fees are usually about the same, if not slightly cheaper in both rate and costs. Plus non-bank lenders usually close the loans faster, and have more knowledgeable and experienced Loan Officers.

The best S.A.F.E. ACT Loan Officer (non-Bank) analogy I can use is having a choice of working with an experienced CPA to do your taxes vs. you using Turbo Tax to do it yourself, but paying the same price.

Finally, THIS IS A CLEAR REASON why people should follow my #1 mortgage shopping rule: GOOGLE THE NAME OF YOUR LOAN OFFICER before allowing them to handle the largest financial transaction of your life!


Are you a pop tart agent?

Are you a pop tart Real Estate Agent? Do you instantly jump when a new buyer calls? Stop wasting your time, set proper expectations. Is your buyer really pre-approved for a home mortgage loan? Learn more with Joe Metzler and Dave Harvey of Mortgages Unlimited, and the MN Real Estate Daily Show.

Thoughts? Log on and post your responses!
.


Refinancing? Common mistakes to avoid

Mortgage Interest Rates are near historic lows. You want to refinance?
Common mistakes, and what NOT To Do

There are a lot of things “not to do”. I will point out only the 3 most common mistakes I see people make.

  1. Setting an unrealistic goal. I always get inquiries from people who say something like, “I have a 30 year fixed rate loan at 5.875% and I will refinance ONLY when rates get to 4.0% with no closing costs”. Sometimes I call people back and say, “Why 4%? why not 3% or 2%? They say, “Well rates are not going to go that low”. Right and they are unlikely to go to 4% with no closing costs also (“no closing cost” loans typically cost anywhere from 1/2% to .75% higher than the going interest rate) You should first succumb to the fact that once you can lower your rate with no out of pocket expense, you should probably refinance. Don’t draw unrealistic interest rate lines in the sand. They get blown away too easily.
  2. The “Once rates start dropping, they are going to continue to drop and I’m smart and I am going to lock when rates hit the bottom of the market” syndrome. It is very hard to guess the interest-rate cycle, and pretty hard to catch the bottom. Remember that rates can rise fairly quickly.
  3. “If the rate goes down just another 1/8th percent, then I’ll lock” This one just kills me! I see people lose all the time over this theory. If your current rate is 5.875% and today’s rate is 4.875%. LOCK & CLOSE! Most people have what I call “interest rate block”. They get a rate stuck in their head, and that is the rate they want, no matter what. Most people fail to realize (and most loan officers fail to show them), that the difference on the average loan over 1/8th a percent is usually less than $15 per month. If you can save $150 per month on your loan at today’s rate, why gamble? Why hold out for another $15 when the odds are against you?

Don’t get piggy. Work with us. Set a goal and lock when it gets there. Are we going to hit the bottom? Probably not. Are we going to save you money? Yes. If you can save money with no out of pocket costs, than you have nothing to lose. If you want to gamble go to Las Vegas. It’s a heck of a lot more fun. Apply Now

Extra Tricks to Save Money When Refinancing

The purpose of most refinance loans is simply to save money. The goal is to minimize your expense over the life of the loan or to minimize your monthly payment in the near future.

If you can swing it, don’t roll every cost of refinancing into your new loan. Most people escrow for taxes and insurance. If you do, your current lender must give you escrow refund within 30 days of paying off their loan. Your new lender, be it us or someone else, must take the equivalent amount of money (or more) at closing to start the new escrow account.

Remember that you always get to skip a month of payments. If you close June 5th, your first new payment is August 1st.

Knowing this, paying some of your closing costs out-of-pocket will save you even more money in the long run. Why roll in $4000 in closing costs, when you really only need to roll in $2000 ($1000 escrow refund + $1000 missed payment = $2000). Paying that $2000 over 30 years doesn’t make sense if you don’t have too.

On the other hand, some people love the fact that they didn’t pay anything out of pocket to refinance, got a nice escrow refund check, then got to miss a mortgage payment. They use the ‘extra’ money to pay bills, go on vacation, etc.

Picking a Lender & Closing Costs

Shopping for a home loan is confusing. No matter what we’re looking for — from cars to refrigerators’ — there’s a built-in element of confusion. Why? Lack of knowledge. An unfortunate rule of thumb is that the less we know about something we need to buy, the more we can expect to pay for it.

Shopping for a mortgage in Minneapolis, St Paul, Duluth, Rochester, Madison, Milwaukee, and throughout all of Minnesota and Wisconsin is complex at best — even for the savvy previous home owner. Daily rate changes, time-sensitive lock-in periods, points, lender’s fees… plus the emotional element of probably the largest financial deal any of us will ever make. Throw in to this already murky stew the ingredients of tricky internet mortgage rate advertising, commissions for every officer, agent and broker who ‘helps’ in your transaction, and the obscure differences between ‘rates’ and ‘fees.’ It’s no mystery that many buyers settle for a home loan that exceeds their monetary means out of sheer exasperation!

Please review our information on closing costs and “BAD Good Faith Estimates“. There is currently a large number of fly-by-night lenders doing some incredibly misleading rate & closing cost advertising. Remember, if it sounds too good, it probably is! Also check out my article “Best Rate or Lowest Cost” for more loan comparison information.

The Bottom Line
Remember, the first rule is that there are no rules. You should refinance if it makes sense for you. Every person & situation is different. What makes sense for one family, may not make sense for you. Call me today to discuss your wants, needs, and goals. Together we’ll determine if refinancing makes sense for YOU.

Click here for more information on the actual loan process.
Click here for
10 Tips to a Smooth Closing
Click here for
10 Mistakes to Avoid


NAR fees are up, and I’m on a budget

NAR fees are up, advertising costs are up, real estate sales are down, but as a Real Estate Agent, you need to find more clients, and you need to do it on a budget. Here are a few simple tools to increase your business and make more money from Joe Metzler at Mortgages Unlimited, and the Mn Real Estate Daily Show.

Thoughts? Log in and Post!