Evonne Davies—a Mortgage Loan Originator with Hallmark Home Mortgage—has been in the finance industry since 1990. In that time, she’s become an expert on home mortgages and how the lending process affects the real estate process. Evonne is one of my trusted lenders, and I asked her to share some insight and helpful information about home loans and lenders that buyers will find particularly useful.
Q: Tell us a little about yourself.
A: I’ve worked for many banks and have worn many hats, from auditing Real Estate loans to becoming an Account Executive covering the Columbus, Dayton, and Cincinnati territories working with Brokers, Correspondents, Banks, and Credit Unions. I have taught clients how to process a mortgage loan from start to finish through the bank’s internal system, using Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac, FHA, VA, USDA, and OHFA financing.
Q: What role does a lender have in the home buying process?
A: You need a lender who is knowledgeable and experienced to find the best product for the client’s specific needs. If you don’t have the financing secured, you can’t buy the home.
Q: How early in the home search should people start to look for lenders?
A: The client should start with the pre-approval process first before looking at homes. Keep in mind, if you are renting, you want to get pre-approved a month or two (depending on the financing /loan product) ahead of time so you don’t incur the higher month-to-month rental costs .
Q: What things should people look for when deciding on a lender?
A: They should look at the lender’s experience, product knowledge, and pricing. You don’t want to go to a lender who just pushes your loan through the process and treats you like you’re just another number. You want someone who can explain and answer every question you have and give you clear piece of mind that you are making the right financial decisions .
Q: What is the biggest piece of advice that you have for buyers to make sure that the home buying process goes smoothly and stays on schedule?
A: Don’t hide any information from the lender! Documentation, documentation, documentation! If you get your information to the lender up-front, the loan process should go smoothly and close on time (and possibly earlier than the actual contract “close by” date).
Q: Anything else you’d like to add?
A: Do NOT go out and open any new credit cards or buy a new car while obtaining your financing. This could be a deal-breaker for your loan, as your debt-to-income ratio has to meet the guidelines for the investor. I have seen several clients lose their financing because they went out and made a new purchase before their loan closed and lost their financing all together. We do a soft pull on your credit the day your loan closes. If you want to buy furniture, drapes, or appliances for your new home, wait until after you close!
Thanks to Evonne for sharing all of this helpful information! I always stress to my clients the importance of getting documents to the lender immediately and not making any major purchases before closing.