Lenders, Loans, and Mortgages for Colorado Real Estate – Where to Start

I’m a Realtor®, not a lender.* So, to create this post, I am referring to an interview I did with Joan Woodruff-Owens of Home Mortgage Alliance

*Please see the section below – Your Realtor® Handles the Property, Your Lender Handles the Mortgage Financing

Unless you are paying cash for your Colorado real estate purchase, you will probably be dealing with a lender.


This post will give you some basics on where to start.


Terms to Know

Lender = Loan Officer = Mortgage Officer = Mortgage Consultant = Loan Originator, etc

Similar to how Realtor®/real estate agent/real estate broker can essentially mean the same thing, so can the terms that describe the person who is your liaison to the mortgage company. Henceforth, we’ll use the word “lender” to represent the individual officer, their company, the underwriters, processors and anyone else that works on the loan.

“What did your lender say?” Your loan officer might tell you something looks good, but their underwriter, another person with the loan origination company, might say it looks bad. At that point, your lender said, “It looks bad.” We’ll use “lender” as the catch all term for the entity providing financing to you to purchase your home.

Nationwide Multi-State Licensing System*

As you’ll see below, Joan Woodruff Owens NMLS number is 776733. She is licensed, and as such must complete a certain amount of continuing education every year. She also must test annually. For more information on the Nationwide Multi-State Licensing System, click here. 

*Check current conditions. Information in this blog post could change over time. See publish date of this post.

Step 1 – Choose a Credible Lender

How Do You Choose Your Lender? Start Local

This is a great idea because the nature of this transaction is big. Whenever we are dealing in such high stakes, I think it is critical to spend some time face to face, or at least be able to go and see the person who is the liason to the rest of the organization that helps you buy a home. Now, it’s always nice to “shop locally.” It helps employ people who live in your community. It invigorates local economies. The local aspect of this is more because this is a role for someone you trust. The best way to find someone you can trust is by referral, so start asking people with whom they’ve worked before. Or if you already have a list of potential lenders, ask your network if anyone has worked with them. They’ll never pass up a chance to rave, or rant, for that matter, on how good, or bad, a job someone did for them.

What you want to hear is that the lender got the deal done. They closed the deal. Some transactions face obstacles that seem very difficult, if not impossible, to surmount. A good, experienced lender takes the time to analyze the situation, engage their company and personal resources, then, as a team, they do everything feasible to get the job done.

As with contractors, painters and the like, I like to see a local address, local area code, and if they are locally known, even better!

YES! Have Paul send me a FREE CUSTOM REPORT on my Real Estate Situation!




Interview First, Share Your Information Second

When you are in the “Choosing a Lender” phase, make sure that you are clear with the potential lenders you interview that the phone call or face to face interview is not to get you qualified, but, rather, to qualify them. They may want to get started right away, and if they are too pushy for your liking, then perhaps you can eliminate them because you don’t like their “bedside manner.” Not only do you want to make sure that your lender will get the deal closed, you will also want to be sure that they work in a way that is appealing to you.

Make sure they understand what phase you are in, and match your wishes with what they do. Ask them questions. Be understanding about the fact that in order to fund the purchase of a home, they are going to have to get to know you and your situation intimately. So, if they ask a lot of questions, keep in mind that it is part of their job. You don’t have to share anything that you don’t want to, but if you are going for a mortgage, sooner or later you are going to have to share all the gory details with someone.

After you interview them, make sure you take all their information with you—business card, company information and their NMLS number. Use these to research them online and to ask questions of people in your network. See if they have any testimonials online or any past clients that will speak to you about how they worked.

Once you are satisfied and have chosen a lender, the real fun begins.

Pre-Qualification versus Pre-Approval


Pre-qualification is unofficial. It is an estimate. It will show you in general what could be possible given your current situation. It usually does not involve pulling credit, and therefore is only a guesstimate of what is possible.


Pre-approval does involve pulling credit. It requires you to share employment status, tax information and assets and liabilities. After pre-approval, your lender should furnish you and your Realtor® with a “Lender Letter.” This states the amount of money you are approved to borrow, and it will be used to show the person from whom you intend to buy a home that you are a bona fide buyer with the funds necessary to pay for the home in question.

Will the Credit Pull Negatively Affect Your Credit?*

First, I am not a financial or tax professional. For specific answer concerning questions in this area, consult the proper professional.

“You can have three mortgage companies pull credit in a 45 day window and that only counts as one hard credit inquiry. Up to three lenders doing a hard credit pull should not affect your credit score.” ~Joan Woodruff-Owens

However, from my conversation with Joan, it seems that up to three credit pulls that are made by a mortgage lender should not affect your credit negatively.

*Check current conditions. Information in this blog post could change over time. See publish date of this post.

Debt to Income Ratio

Debt to Income ratio is just what it sounds like. How much income do you have? How much debt do you carry? If it’s too much debt and not enough income, you may unable to obtain a loan at that time. However, as Joan made sure I understood, if you can’t qualify for a loan now, work with her or another trusted lender. Put a plan in place that takes you from unable to qualify to qualified.

So, if you want to buy a house, stop and think before you buy anything like a car, a boat, or any other item that involves a long term monthly payment to pay off.

You want to buy a house? Hold off on the car. Or any other new debt.

If you can’t qualify for the loan you want now, I still work with people and put a plan in place that allows them to move forward with their dream of home ownership. ~Joan Woodruff-Owens

Your Realtor® Handles the Property, Your Lender Handles the Mortgage Financing

I wonder, sometimes, if my clients think I’m being evasive when I don’t answer lending questions. I’m not. I don’t answer lending questions because I’m not a lender. I handle the property and the contracts that pertain to the property. I can answer some general things about funding. I have high tech phone apps to calculate monthly payments on strictly hypothetical bases. And I can write down your questions to make sure we have them all answered by the appropriate professional. However, a good general rule of thumb is to ask your Realtor® questions about the property, and your lender handles any loan questions.

We are separate in our duties and knowledge, and I want to make it clear that lenders should answer lending questions and real estate agents should answer property questions.

It’s a great lesson real estate has taught me—for the appropriate answers, you must ask the appropriate professional.

In Summary

  1. Find a lender you trust
  2. Prepare to provide documentation up the yin yang
  3. Be flexible and ready to work with you lender and Realtor® so they can help you achieve what you’d like

I love to work with new buyers, sellers and anyone who is interested in Colorado real estate. I want you to know two things:

  1. I have time for you
  2. I will listen to you, communicate with you, and work toward fulfilling your wishes!
YES! Have Paul send me a FREE CUSTOM REPORT on my Real Estate Situation!

*This article is for educational and entertainment purposes and does not refer to any specific people or deals in progress. For more intensive information, contact an appropriate trusted professional. 

REMAX Alliance Fort Collins South Compliance Logo