You may be ready to purchase property and are ready to hop online to find out the top banks for mortgage loans. You probably think you should begin by finding a low mortgage rate. You can shop those online, but it may not do much good because there are a lot of variables that go into determining your mortgage rate (like your credit score and the type of property you want to purchase).
You may consider looking for something more than just the lowest rates.
When you only focus on how low rates may be, you could end up dealing with poor customer service (a situation where it will take longer to close than you expected, the response rate with your lender may not be high, your loan may or may not close and your closing costs may be higher than expected).
So make sure you are looking for the right things online. When examining a lender online, make sure to check out:
- Their personal websites
- Their reviews
- Their social media accounts
If they are mainly referencing low interest rates on their various online platforms, think about why low interest rates are being promoted.
When you do find a lender with positive reviews, consider either picking up the phone or going in to see them and asking them a series of questions.
Here is what you may consider asking a potential lender in order to determine if they are a right fit for you.
- Will I have one point of contact or will I be passed down an assembly line of people when I start the process?
- Do you pre-qualify ONLY initially or do you “underwrite approve” first while I am in the market for a home search to purchase? (Pre-qualifying takes a loan officer less than five minutes. Getting underwritten-approved takes longer, but it holds up more often than not.)
- Will you be available to return my call, email or text in a timely manner? (Same day is what you want.)
- If I prefer to communicate through text message, social media, etc., are you capable and is that going to be OK with you?
- Tell me what you know about today’s financial and real estate markets. (Your lender should have a decent grasp on the economy and real estate market because both are tied into the mortgage industry.)
- When should I lock my loan, and do you have a “make sense” reason as to why we should wait or lock now? (Some lenders simply ask you to lock when you are ready with no financial education or advise to back it up.)
- Can you explain the loan process to me in terms that I will understand so I know what to expect?
- How many days is it taking you to close loans on average? (Be wary if the answer is anything longer than 30 days.)
- What are your “lender fees or cost” you are going to charge to do our loan?
Educating yourself on both the type of loan product and loan term you need, as well as the right lender to work with takes some time. Don’t just focus on the interest rate because you may sign up for something that doesn’t come with quality customer service.