How to Navigate the Mysterious World of Loan Qualification & Home Buying

home buying

By Chris Dearing, AZDP Group

In today’s world, there are many different avenues to research what we do not know. The downside of this is trying to decide a source you trust to be accurate. Most people will believe whomever is sitting across from them because they are “the expert”. They do this not knowing that the “expert” must follow the guidelines of their company (known as “overlays”) versus what the actual guidelines are for qualification. So many people get turned down from their dream of owning a home because of this, and become too scared to re-apply. They then spend years throwing money away on rent when it could have gone into the investment of their new home.

Knowledge is power and it shouldn’t be held within the industry. It should be given to the public because their success in buying or selling a home directly impacts the health and success of the Industry. For too long we have gotten away from the concept of “putting the client’s needs first”. Today, people will be disqualified or turned down because they are deemed to be a hard qualify or low profit client depending on their credit score or the specific loan they want. Even if they get accepted they are usually “forced” into loans that will not be best for them long term or fit their lifestyle. Understand that as a buyer or seller everyone is competing for YOUR business.


Many, if not all Lenders, will have overlays on top of the guidelines to qualify you for loans. This does not mean that you do not qualify. It just means you do not qualify with THAT Lender. You see, Lenders all have their own niches and swim lanes. Some specialize in clients with 680+ credit score loans while others specialize in no or low credit loans and everywhere in between. There is a Lender for every person- you just have to find them. When you sit down with a Lender ask them what loans and scores they normally work with. What types of programs do they have and how do they differ from other companies. Really understand what they are telling you and have them explain WHY that is the best option for you. Ask them to compare it with all the other programs and show the difference of the bare minimum state/federal guidelines. Do not be afraid to leave and get a second opinion.

Ask your Realtor if they have partnerships with multiple lenders that might fit your specific needs. They should be your go to on finding a Lender that is right for you. Your Realtor needs to be knowledgeable about the industry, current market, loan programs, and attentive to your needs. It may seem like they are steering you in a certain direction and sometimes that is okay. You just need to know what to ask them. They are not the “know-it-alls”. Yes, they are educated. Yes, they are an invaluable resource when buying and selling a home. No, they are not all looking out for YOUR best interest. Knowing when to pause and ask questions could make all the difference in your home buying decisions. It is most likely the biggest investment you will make. Slow down and get the facts.

What makes a great and honest Lender or Realtor is their willingness to tell you the truth regardless if it benefits them personally. Get an honest answer for what will best fit your needs and then determine if that is something they can help you with or if they should be referring you to someone who can better take care of your needs. Every individual is unique in their own situation. There is a program for everyone, you just need to find it. Don’t be discouraged, be educated.

Let’s Review what you should know:

  • 1.ASK QUESTIONS!
  • a.No question is a dumb question.
  • 2.GET ANSWERS!
  • a.Every answer should be a 2-PART response. If they do not give you both answers they do not have your best interest in mind
  • i.This is what the real guidelines are
  • ii.This is what I can do
  • 3.Understand the role of a REALTOR
  • a.They are there to help you succeed in every aspect
  • i.Home Purchasing
  • ii.Home Selling
  • iii.Lender advice
  • iv.Putting you in the BEST possible situation to succeed
  • v.THEY WORK FOR YOU
  • 4.Understand the role of a LENDER
  • a.Know that each one has its own niche
  • b.Understand and make them explain the process thoroughly
  • c.Ask them the Difference between State and Federal Guidelines vs. Their companies overlay
  • d.Make sure they fit your specific needs
  • e.THEY NEED TO EARN YOUR BUSINESS

For a great source to view or research your AZ Real Estate needs today tune into The AZ Real Estate Channel on Cox channel 4. You will find current homes for sale and hear from different Lenders and Realtors. You can also visit http://azrealestatechannel.com/ to check it out online.