Finding the best mortgage lender For most potential borrowers, the challenge is not in finding a mortgage lender, but in sifting through the multitude of banks, online lenders, mortgage brokers and others ready to take your loan application. How do you choose which one will offer you the best rates, terms and competent customer service to boot? Cut through the thicket by shopping broadly and then narrowing your focus as you learn more about what type of lending environment makes you most comfortable. Begin to familiarize yourself with various lenders and the deals they're offering by browsing around. Then take your shopping a step further. Go to the bank or credit union where you already have a checking or savings account and ask what types of mortgage deals they offer current customers. And be sure to ask friends and family members for referrals to loan officers and mortgage brokers who gave them good, professional service and helped them find the most competitive loans. Always keep in mind that, not only are you buying a home, you are committing to a very expensive financial product -- a mortgage loan. Remember, if you were to take out a mortgage for $300,000, at 4.25 percent interest and keep that loan for the full 30 years, you would end up spending over $231,000 in interest alone! You should demand to be treated as a very special customer when you're spending that kind of money. DIY or hire a broker? One important decision will be whether to pursue a mortgage at the bank or to use the services of a mortgage broker. While a good mortgage broker can shop your loan among several lenders, it's important to understand that bankers usually don't have special access to deals that are available elsewhere. And a banker is not obligated to find the deal that is best for you. Don’t confuse a rate quote on the phone as being the best deal for you, the only rate quote that matters is the quote at the application.  And never select your mortgage lender based strictly on a rate quote, reputation for service is just as critical.  You want to know your broker has the ability to close the loan with no surprises. So interview your lender as if you were going to put him/her on the payroll, because that is exactly what you are doing! Before working with a broker, take the time to talk with two or three of that broker's most recent clients. Ask if they received the same type of loan the broker promised, if the costs were in line with their expectations, if interest- rate lock-ins were obtained without delay and if the closing was smooth and on time. When you decide to work with a mortgage broker, your time spent shopping other lenders will help you judge whether the product the broker comes up with is indeed the best deal for you.
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