Why you should still consider local mortgage lenders

By Sabrina Karl

Anyone shopping for a home loan can see that online players have become a dominant force in the mortgage marketplace. Whether it’s big-name traditional banks or online-only lenders, the push to shop nationwide is as strong as ever.


But working with a local lender can still offer benefits, especially for certain types of homebuyers.


When you apply locally, you’ll be working directly with an individual loan officer, and most likely will meet with them face to face. This may seem simply quaint to some, but for others it can feel like a welcome friendly face during an otherwise intimidating process.


The feel-good aspect of personalized service is only part of the equation, though. For instance, self-employed homebuyers or those with multiple income streams may have difficulty gathering all their documentation, and a loan officer can assist in that process.


Mortgages by local lenders can also be approved more speedily, in some cases, since you are applying to an individual instead of a massive department that receives hundreds of applications a day.


A local loan officer may also be more flexible in approving your the loan. Whereas big lenders have rigid underwriting guidelines, a local lender may have more leeway. This is particularly true if it will keep the mortgage rather than sell it to Fannie Mae or Freddie Mac.


Local lenders often can even help if they foresee your application being rejected. They may be willing to work with you on steps that will strengthen your application so that your mortgage can be approved in the near future.


Rates and fees will of course be an important consideration. But for homebuyers who may want or need a more personal touch, a speedier process, or greater approval flexibility, the lenders in your community are worth a look.