You’ve been shopping for your home on our own, logging onto the internet and looking at various homes for sale, how much they cost and even mortgage calculators that can tell you what your monthly payment might be. And when you’re ready to get serious and use an agent to help you find a home, it’s likely that your agent will ask if you’ve been preapproved by a VA lender and if you haven’t, your agent will typically provide you with a couple of referrals.
These referrals are loan officers from individual VA lenders. These loan officers have established working relationships with real estate agents. Loan officers refer buyers and sellers to an agent and in return when an agent gets a new buyer client, the agent refers the buyer to a loan officer or two. Should you be concerned about that? Is that relationship a bit too cozy?
There are those who mistakenly think that a loan officer pays the real estate agent for the referral and the loan officer is only suggested because the agent will receive a referral fee. However, that’s against the requirements set forth by the Real Estate Settlement Procedures Act, or RESPA, which requires that all payments associated with a real estate closing must be disclosed. Not only disclosed, but illegal.
No, loan officers and real estate agents work together because the loan officer has proven to be reliable as well as competitive and close loans when they’re supposed to close. One of the last things a real estate agent wants to hear is that the buyers got their loan application with some online lender based two time zones away. There is no control. There is no source or anyone to go to if things go wrong.
A lender-agent relationship actually helps streamline the loan approval process because the agent has first-hand experience with other buyers who have used the referred loan officer. It’s relationship built on trust and one that you will appreciate.