You don’t know what you don’t know. One simple way to find out.
But why is this even a topic for a blog? Well for starters if you’ve never worked in banking and finance or you haven’t had lots of loans in the past you aren’t expected to understand how everything works. Bank policies, procedures and products change all the time, keeping up with these changes is my job as a mortgage and finance professional. But here it is, you are the one who is paying back the loan. So if you don't fully understand your loan, or the process, you could put yourself at risk of ending up with a loan that doesn't suit your needs
Sometimes people don't always ask questions when they don't understand, or the right ones. And the reasons can vary, for some it's that they aren’t comfortable asking questions for fear of looking foolish, for others it's as simple as not knowing what to ask. Then there’s the different communication styles people have, some have a preference for visual and others prefer everything in writing. Understanding the best way to communicate is a skill and tailoring the communication style for each client is something I always try to do. For some it is important that they understand everything that happens and for others just getting the loan is all that matters, how it happens is just not that important.
As a professional mortgage and finance broker I always try to cover everything I think my clients need to know however everyone has a different level of understanding depending on their past experiences. And yes misunderstandings can and do occur no matter how hard you try to avoid them. Finding out that a client doesn’t fully understand something that has been discussed or disclosed is not an issue, but not finding out at all is. In my last blog “Price is what you pay, value is what you get” I spoke about the importance of both the broker and the client being accountable during the loan process and asking questions, if you don’t know or don’t fully understand something, is a big part of this.
So what do you need to know and what questions should you ask? Well that depends on a lot of things including your current knowledge but as a rule if you don’t understand something, or how it works, then you need to ask. And be careful about assuming, particularly if your knowledge came from a friend, a colleague or anyone who isn't a loan and finance professional. A good broker will have the experience and knowledge to guide you through the process of obtaining a loan from start to finish and that includes making sure you are fully informed. As a guide you should understand what your broker can bring to the table including their skill and experience, how the loan process works and how your loan works for you.
So to make the most out of your loan experience and make your mortgage and finance broker work for you, ask questions when you don’t know or fully understand something. Then if you still don't fully understand, ask again and keep doing it until you are comfortable. One thing I always tell my clients is that no question is a bad question.