If only shopping for mortgage lenders were as easy as picking out a new couch for your home. You could visit the furniture store, agree on a fabric and color, try it out for comfort, measure if the thing will actually fit through the doorway (a minor detail), and then commit. Signed, sealed, and delivered.
But the stakes are much higher when choosing a mortgage lender. It’s a big decision that may affect your life for years to come and demands the same care and research reserved for selecting the home itself. However, similar to a couch, you should ensure that the mortgage lender you select is one you’re comfortable working with for the long-term. It helps to know what to look for in a mortgage lender.
Here are a few tips to keep in mind when shopping for the right lender:
- Understand The Journey: It’s important to know what you’re getting yourself into. Before starting shopping, familiarize yourself with the mortgage process and review basic concepts and key terms. You don’t need to become an expert, but starting with a little background knowledge will help you make the best decisions.
- Know That Mortgage Lenders Aren’t One-Size-Fits-All. Different lenders offer different loan products. Be sure to measure your criteria and consider the type of loan you want before committing to one particular lender. For example, if you are thinking an FHA loan makes sense for you, choose a lender that specializes in that type. Loan products offered by the Lender should be readily available for viewing on a lender’s website.
- Get a Second Opinion: Phone, text or e-mail a friend, colleague or family member. Reach out to others who have worked with a lender to refinance or purchase a home , or are in the process of buying a home. Tap your network and ask about their experience with their lender. Friends will tell you like it is, even down to their thoughts on your new couch.
- Remember – The Relationship Matters: If you met or spoke with a lender, notice their demeanor and the turnaround time it takes to get a response. Do you have to wait an unreasonable amount of time to hear back from them? Do they seem unwilling to help you start the process? Trust your instincts and pay attention to their customer service skills, as it could be an indicator of the kind of treatment you may receive during the life of the loan. The relationship is often as valuable as the loan.
- It Should be About Helping, Not Selling: A reputable mortgage lender who values you will take the time to educate you and keep you informed throughout the process. Before committing to a lender, make sure they’re willing to be an advisor. They should help you determine how much you can afford, brief you on any applicable rates and fees, educate you on available loan products, and take the time to understand your needs. Your lender will be your partner for the long-term, and you want to feel like they have your back.
Above all, a mortgage lender should offer you a lending experience filled with openness and transparency. Make sure you’ve found – and are comfortable with – a partner to guide you through every step of the mortgage process, answer any and all questions you have, and deliver the quality experience you deserve when taking this significant step in your life.