If you have ever been through or begun a home loan process, you know that it can be daunting and scary. So many new terms to know and sorting out what they all mean can be very intimidating. It doesn't have to be that way. You can find someone to be your advocate and someone who can work for you.
First of all, the mortgage market is not as bleak as the media would have it seem. As a Loan Officer for Lending Tree/Primary Residential Mortgage, I'm here to tell you that even in this traditionally slower market time, our phones are still ringing and homes are still being bought by motivated buyers at a rapid pace. All is not lost. A home investment is still and investment where in the majority of the cases a profit is made on your investment.
To take some of the mystery out of the process, don't have a potential loan officer run your credit right away. Having too many inquiries on your credit report can adversely effect your credit. Be reasonably sure that you are ready to proceed with a loan and that particular loan officer to avoid unnecessary hits to your credit and wasting the time of the loan officer if you aren't ready.
Spend some time visiting with your Loan Officer. Find out where they are located. Ask questions. See how willing your loan officer is to answer your questions and work with you on your particular circumstances. If the loan officer is more interested in "making the deal" than helping you through your home purchasing process, move on. Find someone who is willing to be your advocate from first phone call to beyond your closing.
Be honest about your circumstances. If you know you have struggled financially and have some adverse marks on your credit, come clean early. Your loan officer will know once your credit is ran what your payment history is. If a debt is your spouses but your name is on the account, the debt is yours too. If you have cosigned for a loan for someone other than yourself, it shows on your credit as an outstanding debt. Knowing this will help you be better prepared for what credit report might have to show you.
Be sure to provide more information to your loan officer, not less. And be sure your loan officer is willing to do the same for you. Finding a good loan officer will make you feel comfortable throughout your home buying process and you'll look for that person to do business again. A good loan officer will want your business for life. Not just for the deal.