What specific steps do you use to help your customers find the best home loan for them?
Personally, I like to know and have all the options which is why I choose to work at Guaranteed Rate. So when I speak with a borrower I do my best to get the whole story and whole financial picture. I want to know where they see themselves in the future, their goals etc. Then I lay out the different lending options. In Los Angeles, I'm finding that a 30 year fixed mortgage with 20% down isn't always the best option.
What advice would you give new or first time home buyers?
Hire a productive and experienced buyers agent. If you have never purchased a house before it's hard to realize how valuable having professionals on your side is. Also get your loan pre-approved by an underwriter so your offer appears stronger than the others.
What can borrowers do to insure a smooth mortgage underwriting process?
I recommend that we do the underwriting process upfront before a property has been identified. You'll have the confidence to shop knowing exactly what you can afford. Additionally the underwriting process can be pretty intense from a documentation standpoint and my clients like to have that out of the way so they can focus on the inspections and planning their move.