The Wizard of Oz

wizardWhen I bought my first house in 1993 and had a lot of questions to answer.  No, they weren’t to my parents or even my friends, they were written to the underwriter who was processing my loan.  One of the questions was what I spent $1,000 on because they saw the funds withdrawn from my bank and wanted an explanation.  I played the guilt card and told them it was for my wedding dress, when in reality it was for a vacation.

The world we live in today is very similar to that period of time.  Yes, it is certainly easier for people to get loans than say 2 years ago, but lenders are cautious and are analyzing quite a bit to make certain people can actually afford what they are trying to buy.

There is a lot of dialogue when a buyer initially purchases a home between a seller’s agent, a buyer’s agent and loan officer.  A seller’s agent looks at the pre-qualification letter to see if the lender has completed certain steps to make certain the buyer is viable.  The buyer’s agent initially has a buyer talk to a lender and get pre-qualified before even shopping for a home to ensure they can afford it.  The loan officer reviews credit scores, the debt to income ratio, loan programs and funds to find a product that meets their criteria and is affordable.

After all is said and done with the buyer under contract, the wonderful wizard takes over.  This is the final stretch to the finish line.  I refer to underwriter as the Wizard of Oz because it paints a picture people can relate to.  It is the underwriter who blesses the file before closing to make sure all of the loan conditions have been met.  The underwriter doesn’t always know everything.  The underwriter simply opens a file, reviews it and may ask lots of questions along the way.  The process can be extremely frustrating for a buyer as it may seem repetitive and even invasive.

Remember that a buyer who requires a loan is buying a house with the underwriter’s blessing. Appease the wizard and go with the flow, keeping in mind you are almost at the finish line.