Whether you’re buying for the first time or the tenth, if you‘ve decided now is the right time to buy a home, the first step towards home ownership is to find the best home mortgage lender for you and get pre-approved for your mortgage loan.
You can go to a lender that you have used in the past, a lender referred to you by a friend or family member, or you can call us and we will be happy to give you a list of mortgage loan officers who our clients have used in the past.
You also have to decide between a lender or a loan program. There is actually a bit of difference between lenders and loan programs.
You want a lender who:
- Will give you answers in writing about what they can or cannot do for you – including the interest rate offered to you
- Is responsive – returning your phone calls or emails promptly
- Does not charge excessive “extra” fees
- Feels “comfortable” to you
That last point may seem trivial, but it is important. You and the lender will be working closely for a while, and you are going to be revealing personal information, so make sure you choose someone you are comfortable with.
To save time, go to your first meeting prepared to discuss your financial situation. Take along your tax returns from the past couple of years, your last 2-3 pay stubs, your most recent bank statements, and a list of your assets and debts.
Before the lender can give you a pre-approval letter, he or she will get a copy of your credit report and FICO scores. You may have heard that every request will slightly lower your scores, but multiple requests from mortgage lenders within a short time-frame will all count as one. The people who compile credit scores know that you are shopping around for the correct lender.
Each lender will have to give you a GFE, otherwise known as a good faith estimate, before you commit to using them. This gives you the opportunity to compare rates and fees between different lenders before making a choice.
If you have questions after reading those GFE reports, do ask the lender for explanations and clarifications. If you still are not sure, give us a call. We will be happy to go over the reports with you and help you find the best mortgage lender for you.
P.S. Remember, during the weeks prior to purchasing a new home, you should refrain from letting anyone but a mortgage lender check your credit. Do not give your Social Security number to anyone for any reason.