The Housing Scene

Meet Your Mortgage Team

You apply for a mortgage. You fill out all the paperwork and send it in. And then a few days later, you get a call from a complete stranger asking questions such as, "Please explain the NSF on your VOD."

What's up with that? This isn't the same guy or gal you spoke with when you applied. So what's going on here?

The person on the other end of the line is part of your loan officer's mortgage team. If the loan officer was on the ball, he or she should have told you about them.

Indeed, Karen Deis, who has been mentoring loan officers and real estate professionals for more than a decade, tells her students to give their clients a handout up-front introducing their team, including names, phone numbers, photographs and each person who may contact you.

Deis, of Hudson, Wisconsin, used such a handout during the 15-plus years she was a loan officer, and she swears the simple introduction eliminated half her phone calls -- and a lot of her clients' confusion.

"At every face-to-face loan application, my clients received a printed flyer with the names, pictures and general job description of what each staff member does and how to contact them directly," she says. "If they applied online, they received (this information in) an email."

Unfortunately, not every mortgage originator follows Deis' advice. In case yours didn't, Deis shares, below, the members of a typical mortgage team and what each one does. Here are the four key players:

-- Loan coordinator: This team member puts the pieces of the puzzle together. The loan coordinator works with everyone from the credit bureaus, appraisers, title company and inspectors to the real estate agents or builders to make sure every piece of your financial picture comes together in a timely manner.

-- Loan processor: This person does much the same thing as the coordinator, but also puts each puzzle piece under a magnifying glass. The loan processor verifies the information that appears on your application, checks your credit report, verifies your income, makes sure you really have enough money in the bank to close and makes certain the appraisal won't screw up the deal.

The processor "will call you from time to time," says Deis, just to be sure the file that's submitted for approval is complete. That way, the underwriter has your total financial footing available when deciding if you seem like a solid borrower who can make payments on time, each and every month.

Sometimes the underwriter needs more information or needs to clarify something. Consequently, the processor may call you several times for additional information.

-- Closing coordinator: This team member works with the title company to obtain a clear title to the property.

If you are buying a new house, every lender requires a title insurance policy that shows the current property owner, real estate taxes, mortgage and tax liens and any deed restrictions listing the things you can or cannot do once you own the property.

If you are refinancing, the coordinator will order a title policy on your behalf and also obtain a payoff document from your current lender, explaining exactly how much you still owe. According to Deis, there's a three-day waiting period after you sign all the documents at closing before your old loan can be paid off.

The coordinator will also advise you about obtaining or updating your homeowners insurance policy. Every lender requires this to be in place at closing; otherwise, you won't be able to close.

If you are expected to bring money to the closing table, the closing coordinator will make every attempt to advise you of the exact amount you will need. Sometimes the figure isn't known until the last minute, but the coordinator's number is usually pretty close. Nevertheless, don't be surprised if the figures don't match and you have to ante up a few more dollars.

-- Loan officer: This is the person you applied with in the first place. He or she is the team leader, who will strive to make sure the process is as smooth as possible and that your loan closes on time. According to Deis, the loan officer should know the status of your application at all times.

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