Buying a home is a long haul deal. In most cases, people pay mortgage payments for 15, 20 or 30 years. Therefore, it’s smart (and recommended) to look around and find the best mortgage lenders out there.

Finding a mortgage lender involves more than just getting a good interest rate. You want to work with the best mortgage companies and professionals who will take care of you through the process.

These tips will help you learn how to look for a mortgage lender.

1. Get your credit score in shape

Because not everyone can qualify to buy a home. You actually have to meet certain credit and income criteria to assure mortgage companies you can repay your loan.

Remember: the higher your credit score, the more bargaining power you have.

2. Compare rates from several mortgage lenders

You will need a lot of patience for this one. With more options than ever (including neighbourhood banks, big commercial banks, credit unions and online mortgage lenders), you have to be smart.

You can look for the best mortgage rates online to start.

However, have in mind that this is just a starting point. A lender or a broker will have to pull your credit info and process a loan application to provide an accurate rate.

Once you have several quotes, compare the costs and decide which one makes the most financial sense for you.

3. Know the lending landscape

As mentioned above, you have more options than ever when it comes to mortgages. Here are some of the most common types of lenders you can choose from:

  • Credit unions
  • Mortgage bankers
  • Correspondent lenders
  • See the rest at NerdWallet

4. Ask the right questions

When it comes to picking the right lender, one of the best options is to ask your friends for a referral. If your friends and family don’t give you the right answer, then ask your real estate agent or read online reviews.

Once you find the right person, ask the following questions:

  • How do you prefer to communicate with clients?
  • How quickly do you respond to messages?
  • What lender fees will I be responsible for at closing?
  • What are the down payment requirements?

5. Don’t forget about the fine print

Ask your lender about other costs such as:

  • estimated closing costs
  • points
  • loan origination fees
  • transaction fees

Ask what each of these fees includes.

Also, don’t forget to examine the fine print of your loan documents. This is particularly important with the initial Loan Estimate and the Closing Disclosure.

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