Whether you are buying your first home or are an experienced homeowner, you will likely need a mortgage to make such a large purchase. No matter where you live, there will be multiple mortgage lenders who you could use to making buying your house possible. How can you choose the best mortgage lender for your budget? Here are some tips for doing just that:
Shop around for the best rate
When it comes to mortgages, rate is important. Some may argue that it is actually the most important part of choosing a lender. Don’t stop shopping around with just two or three companies; get as many rates as you can. Remember, rates do not just mean the interest rate you will be paying. When you talk to a lender for the first time, they will give you a good faith estimate, which includes interest rate information as well as closing costs. You can expect to spend at least $2000 to $5000 in closing costs and more if you are buying a million-dollar (or more) home. With one mortgage lender, closing costs might be on the low end, while with other mortgage lenders, you could be paying a lot more. These are out of pocket charges, so you have to be prepared to pay them upfront, just like you do with your down payment.
Be prepared with your credit score that lenders can review
When choosing a mortgage lender, one of the best tips to ensure that you find the best one is to be ready with your credit report and score. Most mortgage companies will review this information if you get to the point where you want pre-approval, but you will likely have to pay a fee to get your credit report through them, and too many checks can actually lower your score if they are spread out over several months. You can check your own credit score for free once a year, so before you start looking for a lender, print your credit score and talk to them based on that information. Now, once you actually chose a lender, you are going to have to pay for the official credit check, but there is no need to pay for that until you have chosen a lender. In the meanwhile, get ideas about what the costs could possibly be using the unofficial credit report you have.
Avoid pre-approval that is extremely high
Some lenders will try to encourage people to pick them by pre-qualifying at high rates. You know how much you can afford every month, though. When you only have enough money for a monthly payment of $1000, getting pre-qualified for a million-dollar home is just asking for trouble. Not only could you get in over your head, but you may also be looking at sky-high interest rates and closing costs you can’t afford. The best mortgage lenders will always have your best interests in the back of their minds. Pre-approving you for a higher amount than you can afford is a red flag that this company does not really care about your and your financial situation.
Searching for a mortgage lender is all about asking questions and the more you ask the better. Don’t be afraid of the answers, because it is better to know now than in a few months when you want to buy the perfect home you found. Ask questions not just about cost, but also about what to expect it terms of timeframe, trends, and reliability. If possible, speak one-on-one with the person who is going to work with your on the mortgage, instead of just talking to a secretary or manager. One of the best ways to ensure that you are getting the answers you need is to actually write down your questions. That way, before you hang up the phone or leave the office, you can look over your list and make sure that all of your questions have been answered.
Look online and offline
Lastly, when you are looking for a mortgage lender, remember that there are two different places to search. Online lenders can sometimes be a great option. At many online sites, for example, you can see their rates and the rates of other companies. However, other people find that the best option is to use a lender in their own neighborhood. When you first start your search, don’t limit yourself to only online companies or only offline companies; look at all the companies you can. Even if you aren’t comfortable with working with a company based online, you can still use information from these companies for comparison purposes. The key is to simply keep comparing as much as possible until you find a mortgage lender that is a perfect fit