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Preparing for a Home Loan Interview

Just like applying for a job, most banks and mortgage lenders will want to interview you when you apply for a loan. It’s nothing quite as serious as a job interview. They’ll mostly ask questions about your finances, your credit score, and your dependents. But don’t think it’ll be as easy as that. The purpose of a mortgage interview is for lenders and banks to find out if you can afford this loan, how long it would take for you to pay it back, and if they can rely on you to pay it back.

The success of your mortgage loan could hinge almost entirely on whether you make a good impression in your interview or not. So here are some tips to help you prepare for your interview and get that loan.

Have all your important documents on hand

If you’re a meticulous person, you probably had all the documents ready before you even thought of seeing a loan officer. If you’re not a meticulous person, now’s the time to be. Your lender will most likely ask for a copy of these documents with your application but it helps to have copies or the original documents themselves on hand during your interview just in case. Remember to make copies of everything — and we do mean everything.

Having these documents on hand will help to make the whole process go quicker and can save you time if your lender ever loses or misplaces the copies you sent. These documents include some form of ID, tax returns, pay stubs, bank statements, and some proof of address. You can store them in an envelope or clear file that you can easily take with you during your interview.

Know all the facts

In a mortgage loan interview, they’ll ask you all about your work, income, family, and finances, among other things. Think of it as an extensive background check. Mortgage lenders need to be thorough in their assessment to find out if they can trust you with a loan. They’re less likely to trust you if you don’t know all the facts about yourself or can’t answer any of their questions clearly or with certainty. If you’re unsure about the numbers, don’t be afraid to ask your employer or your bank for the specifics before the interview. It helps to be completely thorough and do all your research.

They’ll most likely ask you about the kind of job you have, what you do at work, exactly how much you’re paid and how often, as well as how long you’ve had that job. In terms of finances, they’ll ask you if you have any existing debts or loans, your savings accounts, your monthly or annual expenses, and what you spend your disposable income on.

Other than questions about your current job, income, and home life, they might also ask about your future plans. If you have a family or are married, they’ll ask how many children you have, if you plan to have any children if you don’t have any, and any other long-term plans you have.

Improve your communication skills

Whether you’re doing a job interview or a mortgage interview, clear and effective communication always leaves a good impression. You don’t want to be stuttering and stammering your way through an interview, nor do you want to leave any space for misinterpretation and uncertainty. You can improve your English communication skills by not only practicing speaking clearly but also listening.

You want to be able to form one cohesive thought while you’re talking but don’t meander too much. For example, you can tell the story of how you and your spouse met or some similar anecdote when you’re asked about your family, as long as it leads and builds up to your final answer. Don’t go off on tangents, don’t mumble your words and if possible, get straight to the point.

Don’t appear closed off and that includes your body language as well. Don’t cross your arms or shrink. Maintain eye contact, keep your posture straight, and your body language open and inviting. If you’ve ever had a job interview before, then you’ll know exactly how important good body language and effective communication can be.

Be honest but not self-deprecating

Your interviewer will be looking out for any lies and inconsistencies between what you say and what’s reflected in your documents. If you’re unsure of the exact numbers, say so, although you want to avoid this uncertainty in the first place. Don’t try to paraphrase or intentionally avoid mentioning something you’d rather lie about. Be completely upfront about all things, including some of your financial pitfalls and other such things. But try not to be self-deprecating. You probably won’t find the pity that you’re looking for with your interviewer.

It might be hard to be honest about some things, especially if you have a bad credit score or have made some financial investments that you’re not proud of, but you can turn it around by admitting or acknowledging the mistake humbly and then assuring the interviewer that you’ve learned your lesson and intend to not make the same mistake this time.

Tie up all loose ends

This should go without saying but before you even think of applying for a loan, tie up all your loose ends and pay off any debts or other loans you might have. Not only will it look good on paper, but you’ll be more likely to get your mortgage loan if your lender sees that you have no other financial obligations to fulfill. As much as possible, pay off your loans or debts long before you apply for another loan. It’ll save you so much more time and money in the future.

Just like acing a job interview, it’s all about being confident and being certain about all the facts. Even if you might not have the best credit score, you can still be convincing if you’re confident enough in your ability to pay off the loan in a timely manner and to use it wisely.

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