A:

The key to finding your ideal mortgage is choosing the right lender. Select a lender who views lending as a collaborative process and understands your long-term financial goals. The ideal mortgage lender focuses on meeting your needs as a borrower rather than simply trying to sell you a product. Vet potential mortgage lenders by gathering recommendations, doing your own research and conducting thorough interviews with candidates.

Asking for Recommendations

If you have a friend or colleague who recently got a mortgage loan, ask about their lender and their experience with the lender. Your attorney, realtor, accountant or financial adviser are also excellent sources for collecting mortgage lender referrals. Because these professionals work so closely with mortgage lenders, they are able to help you narrow down the vast array of candidates based on their abilities and skill sets so that you can confidently decide which one is right for you.

Doing Research

Once you have narrowed down your list of candidates, research each of them on the Internet to learn more about their offerings. Gather details about qualification requirements, fees, points and mortgage rate locks. Also check the lender's experience in the mortgage industry, their reputation with customers and their history of successfully completing loans. If you are working with a credit union or bank that you trust, it is worthwhile to do research their mortgage offerings as well.

Conducting Interviews

You have the right to ask questions of any lender at any point during the mortgage-shopping process, even if you have not engaged one for services. Call lenders, and ask questions about what they are offering. Request that good faith estimates and truth-in-lending statements be sent directly to you in writing via email or fax. Be sure to cover crucial loan details such as mortgage turnaround time and the likelihood of your mortgage being sold. The ideal lender needs to be able to give you a clear idea of what you can reasonably expect in the future. Ask what happens if the appraisal comes back lower than anticipated, if there are problems closing or if your rate lock-in expires.

Look for a lender who speaks to you in straightforward, everyday terms rather than using superficial sales-speak, and take note of those who are slow to get back to you or do not respond to you at all. If you have trouble communicating with a lender during the vetting period, you are likely to have trouble with him or her after you sign loan papers as well. You want a lender who is not just interested in your loan, but is interested in communicating with you clearly and honestly and helping you reach a mortgage loan settlement that agrees with your long-term financial plan.

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