Seven tips for finding a mortgage lender match
Posted May 10, 2014 12:29 p.m. EDT
Updated May 28, 2014 2:56 p.m. EDT
If your mortgage company and loan officer are encouraging you to shop around, it probably means they’re confident they are the best out there.
This is a good thing! It’s important to work with an experienced loan officer and mortgage company you can trust and rely on, but how can you determine you are making the best choice, especially if you’ve had a poor experience in the past or have never obtained a mortgage before?
In some cases, you may have already chosen a mortgage company, or perhaps you are considering buying a home for the first time. No matter where you fall on the spectrum, we’ve done some homework for you and have developed a great obstacle course for you to put your future mortgage company and loan officers through to help you make the best decision.
Let’s get you perfect before you fall in love
Too many homebuyers start searching for a home, find one, then fall in love before they’ve been pre-approved, had a conversation with a loan officer, or had a look at their credit score. This is a big mistake. If you have the opportunity to plan ahead, do it! Experienced loan officers have multiple tools and checklists for you to clean up any holes and prepare you for your big purchase in the future.
Put your lender to the test, literally. Ask your lender a series of questions that only a top-qualified, professional lender can answer correctly. For example, test their knowledge by asking something simple such as, “What are mortgage rates based on?” Or, really challenge their knowledge by asking, “When the Federal Government changes loan rates, what does this mean and how does this impact mortgage loans?”
Apples to apples
Too many homebuyers walk in the door with a preconceived number or APR they want to pay. When you are comparing estimates, avoid making your decision based on the bottom line. The lender controls the fees, and only the fees. This is why it is crucial to compare lenders and discuss your financial goals upfront with an experienced loan officer. Be detail-oriented and make the correct comparisons.
No thanks, I’ll pass
If the rate seems really low, ask some questions and find out why. For example, are there any penalties involved? Are there any hidden fees somewhere? If your fees are being “discounted” are they being recalculated right under your nose into a higher interest rate? Trust your instincts, and remember there’s no such thing as asking too many questions.
Fast. Good. Cheap. (Pick Two)
If you are signing your name on the dotted line to the cheapest offer, chances are you are going to end up with poor service and the least amount of experience. In some cases you may not even close at all. Remember, this transaction is too important to give up the experience and reliable advice and guidance you deserve.
The rapid rabbit
Interest rates and fees fluctuate and change so rapidly—on a daily and even hourly rate sometimes—that you should compare quotes from multiple lenders ONLY if you have asked for these quotes on the same day, at the same time.
This is one of the biggest and most important purchases in a lifetime. Be smart, and take advantage of all the factors you can when deciding which mortgage company to trust with this transaction. Ask lots of questions and have a conversation with a loan officer sooner than later. If your mortgage company and loan officer are encouraging you to shop around, it probably means they’re confident they are the best out there.