Tips on Selecting The ‘Right’ Mortgage Lender

by. Harvey S. Jacobs

Whether you are a first-time buyer or seasoned veteran, obtaining a home loan today is more difficult than ever.

The level of lender scrutiny and the maze of loan programs has never been more complex or illogical. The key to navigating this “Kafkaesque” process is selecting the right mortgage loan officer. But before you open up your personal information vault, do your own due diligence.

There is one Web site that makes the loan officer investigative process relatively easy. The National Mortgage Licensing System & Registry (NMLS) maintains a site providing consumer access to the administrative and license information for state regulated mortgage lenders in all 50 states and the District. The NMLS Consumer Access site can be searched free of charge at .

With a few mouse clicks you can obtain a treasure trove of information about your proposed mortgage lender. Before revealing any personal financial data, you should confirm that your loan originator is licensed. In fact, in the Washington area, Keller Shinholser, senior loan officer for Apex Home Loans in Rockville, advises that you work with a loan officer that is licensed in all three local jurisdictions. “If you start working with a loan officer only licensed in the District, and you later decide to buy a home in Virginia, you may have to start the loan approval process all over again,” she said.

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