Five Steps to Choosing a Mortgage Lender
Q: How do I choose a mortgage broker or a lender that can provide me with the best service at competitive rates?
A: The best way to get a first-rate mortgage is to do lots of research and make an informed decision. Follow the 5 steps outlined below to help ensure you won’t go wrong!
Step#1: Get your finances in order
Before you begin shopping for a loan, have proof of income handy and work on improving your credit score as much as possible.
Step #2: Narrow your choices
When shopping for a mortgage, you may come across several of these terms:
- Mortgage lenders: Companies, or financial institutions, that lend money for home purchases. Mortgage lenders set the interest rate, fees, terms and repayment schedule.
- Mortgage brokers: Licensed professionals who act as an intermediary between lenders and borrowers.
- Retail lenders: Lenders that sell their loans directly to clients, without using a broker.
- Portfolio lenders: These lenders originate and fund loans from their clients’ financial account deposits.
You’ll need to decide if you’d like to work with a broker or directly with any kind of lender. Brokers have fees, but they can also save you time by getting quotes for you from various lenders.
Once you’ve decided which path to take, narrow your options to five lenders or brokers.
Step #3: Research
Begin by asking each lender or broker for referrals from recent clients. Ask the referrals these questions:
- Did the broker/lender explain the borrowing process in clear, simple language?
- Were you given multiple quotes to choose from?
- Did you find the broker/lender to be responsive and easy to work with?
- Were there any unexpected fees at the closing?
Ask to see their Good Faith Estimate—an estimated list of closing costs. Compare that to the actual fees on the final loan document to check for major discrepancies.
Ask the broker/lender some questions as well:
- What kind of loan can I expect with my current income and debt?
- Can I see a Good Faith Estimate immediately?
- Can you give me an estimate of my closing costs?
Step #4: Make your decision
Choose your broker or lender and then work on getting your pre-approval. Having that paper in hand shows sellers you’re serious about buying.
Now you’re ready to begin house-hunting!
Step #5: Read the fine print
You’ve found your dream home and you’re ready to begin the mortgage application process. If you’ve done your homework well, things should proceed smoothly.
Be sure to read the fine print on any documents you need to sign. If you find any errors, point them out to your broker/lender.
Are you in the market for a mortgage? Learn about Truity Credit Union's fantastic mortgage products!