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A good loan officer knows more than three or four basic loan options, or how to calculate the loan amount you can qualify for, or what to put in the blanks of a loan application. They’ve spent years studying the multitude of loan options that are available on the market. They’ve also spent years matching loans to buyers, considering issues such as the buyer’s risk tolerances, their credit and employment history, or their plans for how long they are likely keep the property or the loan. A good loan officer will know whether you are likely to run into problems if you chose a particular type of loan to finance a “fixer-upper” property or if you decide on a condominium rather than a single family home. You don’t have this level of expertise and you will never get it from a web site or a book. No mortgage calculator on the web is going to solve this calculation. A good loan officer who has worked for years in your local market also knows how to match loans with the realities of that market. They will be sensitive to the fact that what you can afford to buy in Erie may differ by $100,000 depending on whether you’re in the Boulder County or Weld County side of County Line Road. They will know that an appraiser from Castle Rock will not know Boulder neighborhoods and the Boulder market and that they may not have access to sales data given the multiple MLS systems in the area.. They will know that the proximity of Rocky Flats is not a big resale issue in Lyons. And when you get to the point where’re submitted an offer on your dream home, the fact that the listing agent knows your local mortgage lender or your loan officer from past transactions, and has confidence in their ability to get the job done right, may make the difference between the seller accepting your offer rather than someone else’s.