Before seasoned real estate investors got that way, they started out just like everyone else. One step at a time. Start small. Avoid mistakes. Surround yourself with the best team you can possibly find. And that last bit of advice is probably the most finding the best loan officerimportant. Newbie investors need all the help they can get.

Making a mistake investing in real estate can be costly and run many would-be investors out of the industry entirely. And some of those team members are a bit more important than others. One of those who carry significant weight is your lender.

Or more specifically, your loan officer. You want the very best loan officer available who can evaluate your current and future needs and provide an array of financing options when you find your next deal. So how can you find a top loan officer?

Forget about the advertising you see or hear about some bank or mortgage company. You don’t establish a relationship with a bank, do you? No, you establish a relationship with a banker. A person. And no amount of advertising dollars will be able to overcome loan officer incompetence.

A starting point is to ask a top real estate agent who they send their referrals to. Top loan officers establish working relationships with real estate agents and top agents send their clients to the very best, knowing that the deal will close without worry. Experienced loan officers know that taking care of a top agent’s referrals is a solid way to establish long term success.

When you get a few referrals, your next step is to find a loan officer who has been in the industry for several years, 10 at least. Loan officers who have weathered the various financial booms and busts over time are able to do so because of their talent and commitment to the industry. They are constantly referred by their previous clients and know intimately how mortgage loans are crafted, approved and funded.

You don’t want a wet-behind-the-ears bank lobby loan officer; you want a loan officer that’s an established name in the industry. Any loan officer who has been in the business for a decade or so has proven themselves to be customer-oriented with a “service first” attitude. Top loan officers are out there, you just need to do a little homework.