Shopping for a mortgage lender can be a bit intimidating but if you know what to look for and the right questions to ask, you can find a mortgage lender and a loan program that are a good fit for you. When we began our own search for our first home purchase we picked the first lender that was recommended to us. I wish I would have felt empowered to shop around. There are so many options and you should find the one that best fits you – not just make a choice you feel you have to make or are told to.
Let’s look at how you can search for a lender and get the information you need as well as get your questions answered.
- Start with people you trust. Ask friends, mentors, parents for help as to what lenders they may be familiar with and who they would recommend you choose. Press into their good experiences and find out the most important things on your must have list. It may be an interest rate you’re looking for, a particular loan type you may be eligible for, or a local lender.
- Get a basis for where you are at. Know your credit score, income, what you have in savings etc. This information will be helpful to know when you’re asking questions of potential lenders and you’ll definitely need it for pre-approvals or pre-qualifications. Using a mortgage calculator that takes your information into consideration can give you a good starting idea of what your monthly payment may be for loan programs that you may qualify for.
- Contact 3 lenders. This is the number suggested by the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau. You are welcome to contact more or less, but this is a good average. Inquire with some lenders and tell them your situation and ask what they could offer. If you apply with them, lenders will pull your credit report to help them give you the most accurate read of what they may be able to offer. But if you’re not ready yet, you don’t have to apply to ask them your questions.
- Make a list of pros and cons and find your best lender. Draw out a comparison chart and see how things line up. Choose a lender that listened to your concerns, answered your questions and was willing to work with you to find the best loan program for you.
Take your time in choosing a lender. Be empowered and find what options there are for you. The loan you get matters and you should enter homeownership feeling like you made the right choice.