What to Look for in Your Mortgage Lender

by Lili Patch 08/07/2019

Financing the purchase of a house from personal savings might mean a mighty long wait for the end of rent-paying. This reason is why most homeowners in the US today are using mortgages. If you want to buy a house and don't have enough in your savings account, you will want to hook up with a lender. But how do you know which lender to choose from the myriads out there? Here are some key pointers:

Interest rate

The interest rate should be the deal breaker when choosing a lender. Take time to compare the rates of as many lenders as you can. You will find several tools online that can help you do this quickly. Some mortgage companies will offer you a loan with a down payment of as little as 3% of the purchase price, but they make up for this with a higher interest rate.

Speed

With some lenders, you may have to wait months before your approval sees the light of day. Such lenders will typically require you to fill a plethora of forms when applying for your mortgage and support your application with a ton of documents. Many innovative lenders have come up with platforms that allow you to upload documents securely and complete the entire application process online.

Bad credit

For some lenders, especially traditional banks, a bad FICO score is an automatic "no". Others will still extend financing to you even if you have a credit rating below 600. However, perhaps you should keep in mind that such lenders will make up for the risk they're taking on with a higher interest rate.

Reputation

You may have a referral to a lender from relatives or colleagues, but before you begin your application with them, do a bit of digging of your own. What reviews come up when you search on independent online sources? Consumers Advocate has a listing of top-rated lenders, as do many other referral sites. 

Customer service

How quickly does the lender respond to queries, and do they provide comprehensive feedback? If you would rather talk or meet your mortgage officer during the application process, is that option available? Some companies operate entirely online, with no brick-and-mortar presence. If you would rather have that personal touch, you could be better off with a traditional bank.

About the Author
Author

Lili Patch

Radio Personality turned Realtor; I welcome the opportunity to turn house selling and house hunting into a fun and educated experience. House buying should feel like you're shopping with a friend, and I will keep you in the loop the entire time so you will not be wondering what you just signed or what happens next. It's that seamless, and we may even have lunch or dinner. I do this because when I started my real estate journey on the east coast, buying my first condo at the age of 18, I was clueless. I wished I had someone who had made that a stress free transaction- but it wasn't, and thats how I got the Real Estate bug. Let's take a step back first though to my first "job", I studied communications and entered the broadcasting industry. Through the years I purchased some more properties, and felt there was a gap that needed to be filled in the Real Estate profession. I set the bar very high on skill set & customer service. I have Real Estate Licenses in 4 states, which means I have more education, and training than most agents. My level of knowledge, strategy and experience is what sets me apart. I know how important being an astute negotiator is, being relentless, and answering the phone when it rings. I have earned certifications as a Seller Representative Specialist (SRS), a Certified Home Marketing specialist (CHMS), and a Pricing Strategy Advisor (PSA).

Meeting with people and traveling both east coast and west coast has given me a broad appreciation of the different laws, protections, and scenario's you encounter in real estate. Having the benefit of my communication background coupled with the vast knowledge of multi-state experience has been the backbone of my success.