How do you know you have a good US mortgage loan officer?
A good mortgage loan officer will be able to take a complete application and offer you specific products and rates very quickly. They will be able to discuss your credit report with you and let you know if there is anything there that the underwriter might question. They will be able to tell you what documentation you will need to submit for the underwriter to review and approve your loan. They will be able to tell you how much home you can qualify for and discuss down payment options and term.
A good loan officer will be able to give you a solid pre-approval for you to shop for your new home, if you are really able to be approved. If a lender pulls credit and scores are below minimum, they will be able to tell you what you need to do to get your score up based on your credit report. A good loan officer will know the standard lender fees and will know what area title companies charge for their fees. They will likely have an insurance contact if you do not. And they will be able to set the expectations on timelines for your purchase and closing. Buying a home should not be a guessing game. A good loan officer will tell you what to expect and when.
A good loan officer is honest up front, is a good communicator, and provides unvarnished information to help you choose the right loan for your needs. He/she also stays with you through out the process and helps the lender understand your situation. Every loan has its own unique characteristics and a good loan officer will understand your situation, provide good advise, and help you navigate the underwriting process. If you feel you are not getting the support or information you need, change lenders if you can. It is a good idea to document every conversation in case there is a disagreement later.
Communication is the most important aspect of any role in a real estate transaction. A good loan officer will proactively keep you informed at all stages of the transaction, and provide respond to your questions in a reasonable period of time (we are all busy, but should be able to respond within a few hours, a day at the absolute maximum.) Being knowledgeable and having a good variety of products to offer (FHA, conventional, 203K construction loans, etc…) is also important, and a professional demeanor is a plus, but ahead of all else is their communication skills.