Whether you’re shopping for your first home or looking to refinance your seventh, you’ll likely also be searching for a lending institution in your area. However, mortgage research – to be effective – goes well beyond locating the best interest rate. So, keep reading for some criteria and factors to help you evaluate different mortgage lenders.

Single Mortgage Loan Officer

A good mortgage lender assigns you a single loan officer who takes you through the entire loan process – from walking in the front door of the bank to signing over the funds to you. This person provides ongoing personal support and is your one contact at the bank or mortgage lender.

However, some mortgage lenders cycle you through a series of bank employees and contacts as you go from one step to the next during your loan process. This musical chairs version of mortgage service can slow down the process and cause you significant headaches.

Credibility and Reliability

When comparing home mortgages, look for a lender that exudes credibility and reliability. While that new mortgage broker with an office in the nearby strip mall might offer the best interest rate, you may have more faith and confidence in a local lender who’s been established in the community for a long time.

Closing Speed

Sometimes an efficient lender who can guarantee that they’ll close on time is worth the extra closing costs or .01 percentage point. A lender with a reputation for being slow can take your entire house purchase down with them if the financing isn’t ready by your deadline.

Closing Costs

Before you choose a lender, make sure you get a written list of all the fees and closing costs associated with applying for and closing a mortgage with them. You should try to estimate your overall costs ahead of time, so there are no surprises at the closing table. Ask for full disclosure so you can accurately compare each lender.

Customer Service

From the moment you walk through the door of a mortgage lender, you should be evaluating their customer service skills. Remember, you are a customer, and this lender should be competing for your business – not the other way around.

Unfortunately, some mortgage lenders act like they’re doing you a favor. So, if you don’t like the way you’re being treated, say so, leave, and find a more customer-friendly lender.

Interest Rates

While interest rates aren’t the most important factor when choosing a mortgage lender, they are still very important. So, look for a mortgage lender who offers a low rate. Remember, you don’t have to go for the lowest rate but look for a quality lender who combines features like superior customer service and historic credibility along with the lower rate.


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