Calling different lenders in your area for rates and fees to purchase or refinance your investment property is somewhat of a task, but a prudent one. You can research websites and see rates quoted from places you’ve never heard of and plenty from those you have. Yet you’ll soon realize they’re allfinding a loan officer quoting the same two mortgage products—those adhering to Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac standards.

These two resources are the real estate investor’s prime choice when financing properties for the long term. And perhaps unsurprisingly, the rates and fees from every single lender are remarkably similar.

Lenders having rates and fees that are extremely close, if not identical, might be expected as mortgage companies are offering the same set of loans. All the investor has to do is select a rate and term. But it does make sense to shop around, at least to get a firm sense of where market rates currently stand. However, shopping around brings up another question, “Why are you shopping?”

The seasoned real estate investor already knows that traditional mortgage products are pretty much the same and spending an inordinate amount of time trying to squeeze an extra $500 from a lender may not always be worth it. Instead, the value is having a solid relationship with a loan officer.

Successful loan officers who have been in the industry for several years can tell a “rate shopper” at the first phone call. Loan officers want to establish relationships just as much as you do. A loan officer wants not only more business from you in the future but referrals as well. A good loan officer knows that if someone will go to a lender because of a rate they’ll also leave because of one.

You want a loan officer who is always at the ready, who can answer your questions about financing and provide you with consistent, superior service. There are too many inexperienced loan officers taking up space in a bank lobby that couldn’t hold a candle to loan officers who have weathered multiple economic storms over the years. Don’t shop for a rate that everyone has, instead find a superior loan officer. That will provide rewards for decades to come.