Mortgage Lenders: Not All Are Created Equal

Arguably, the main component of buying a home is, well, buying the home. For most, this means going through the process of obtaining a loan through a mortgage broker, bank, or lender. With high accessibility to loans in today’s real estate market, finding one of these can be overwhelming. In San Antonio alone, there are over 500 lenders, each offering different rates, programs, and levels of customer service. With so many to choose from, how do you know which one is right for you?

From large banking institutions to local “in-house” lenders, not all mortgage entities are created equal. Because in today’s world name recognition in lending goes a long way, many homebuyers tend to skip over “the small guy”. Unfortunately, this can be a huge mistake in the buying process! Often times, that small guy offers many advantages that you may not find elsewhere.

Why Local?

Local San Antonio lender Gold Financial Services isn’t a name that everyone recognizes. They aren’t a giant bank and they don’t advertise all over the country, however, once you have worked with them, you will instantly recognize the difference and will likely never forget them. Even though they were named the 5th largest lender in San Antonio, Gold is a smaller lender in comparison to others on that list. Being both local and a smaller organization, Gold Financial Services employs their own processing, underwriting and closing staff within their San Antonio location. In fact, 100% of the lending process is done “in-house”, a big advantage when it comes to buying a home. In real estate, there is no room for transactions that drag out. Having processors, underwriters, and closing staff in the same office as the loan officer (or in Gold’s case, the same office as the REALTOR®), ensures that the possibility of a smooth and efficient transaction is eminent. An added bonus: local lenders like Gold are familiar with the closing customs, underwriters are familiar with the San Antonio real estate market, and often times the loan officer is familiar with your REALTOR®, ensuring that top notch communication between all parties is a given, a value the Gold makes a point to uphold.

The Right Loan For You

A local lender, such as Gold, specializes in residential mortgages, and they tend to have originators who are experienced and well versed in that aspect of real estate.  So well versed that the San Antonio Business Journal recognized them as the largest FHA and VA residential mortgage lender in 2014. And because they are not tied to any one lender, they have the ability to shop around on behalf of their clients. As Cory Ehlers, Senior Loan Officer, explained, “Loans are not a one size fits all product. Just because one loan program may be right for one person, doesn’t mean it’s right for another.” He continues by adding, “We have 10-15 companies we can get the loan funded from- everybody has a different program ensuring that we get the right loan options fitted for the right person.”

Personal Interactions

Another advantage for homebuyers seeking a home loan: local lenders handle the paperwork and interactions with all parties involved in the loan process. Gold Financial attests to heading off many problems during the loan process. “It’s easy to find a solution to a potential problem when we understand the guidelines of the lending programs, and have the chance to look at your information before it is sent to the underwriter,” says Ehler. “Because we keep that file in house contract to closing we are able to stay on top of closing dates, potential issues, and anything else that comes up.” An added bonus? Local lenders are pretty easy to get a hold of. There are always questions that come up during the process of a obtaining a loan. While you may wait on hold to speak to a representative in North Carolina when you call a big bank, at Gold you can count on speaking directly to the person you have been working with since the beginning. No operators, no long waits, just a live person who knows exactly who you are and what is going on with your loan.

A Smooth Process

The most attractive part of going with a local lender? A faster closing. While larger banking institutions give a six week closing period and are known for delaying closings regularly, local lenders are able to offer quick closings in as little as two weeks. Seeing many anxious buyers, Gold aims for an average closing time 21-31 days, something they have been doing since they opened the San Antonio branch in 1998. Bill Neel, Gold’s Director of Business Development, tells us, “We have made a commitment to our clients to uphold a company motto we have. ‘Do what you say you are going to do, when you say you are going to do it, better than you said you were going to do it.’ This is something that we take seriously and live by each day.”

Overall, choosing a mortgage lender is a very personal decision. While there is no right or wrong answer to whom you should choose, there are different factors to weigh no matter who you go with. Because each lender is so different, it’s important to do your homework, ask questions, and choose the one that best fits your needs.

For more information on Gold Financial Services or mortgage loans, please call Corey Ehlers, Senior Loan Originator NMLS #208194, at 210-862-6805, or visit

Pre-approval:An assessment given by the lender that investigates the borrower

Mortgage:A contract that represents the debt owed by the borrower to the lender for the money borrowed to purchase a property.

mortgage:A contract that represents the debt owed by the borrower to the lender for the money borrowed to purchase a property.

closing:The final, legal act of a transaction, where contracts are agreed upon and finalized, and monies are exchanged.

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