How to Shop For A Mortgage Loan

Here’s a short explainer video to help you compare mortgage loan options from different lenders.

Most of us aren’t involved in mortgages every day, so the terminology and decision factors can be intimidating.  Creating a simple, structured process to compare your loan options can make it a bit easier.

Devise your own “checklist”, and keep the same details for each lender and loan program as you shop.  Your checklist should include company-level details:

  • How big is the lender? (Offices, personnel, number of loans per year, or something other measurable factor.)
  • Do they have local representation?
  • Who is the key contact, and how can you reach them?

For each loan, you’ll want to track consistent details. Some recommended items:

  • Type of mortgage — fixed (15? 30?), ARM, balloon and so on.
  • Minimum down payment required
  • Current interest rate
  • Points options and terms, if applicable.
  • Closing costs
  • Prepayment terms

If the lender provides information on loan-processing timelines, that may be helpful to know.

Because interest rates can change rapidly — even daily — accumulating this information gradually may not be effective.  If you can arrange to call the lenders on your list on the same day, you’ll have a better basis for comparison.

If you are already working with a real estate agent, they may have a list of lenders to help you get started.

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