Most buyers need a mortgage before they can purchase a home, but finding the right lender can be tricky. There are many options to choose from, and it’s easy to feel overwhelmed. The good news is, making the right decision could lead to a smoother financing process—at a price that fits your budget. If you’re ready to apply for a mortgage, here are a few tips for finding the ideal lender…

1) Know the lending landscape

Many home buyers wind up working with their banks by default, but it’s important to make an informed decision. That’s why it’s a good idea to learn as much as you can about the lending landscape. On the one hand, your bank knows you, and they can offer you advice based on your complete financial circumstances and history. On the other, brokers can be extremely helpful because (unlike banks) they have access to the products, services, and interest rates of many different lenders. Other options, like credit unions and mortgage specialists (aka monoline lenders), also come with their own unique benefits.

2) Do your homework

Once you know what type of lending professional will work best for you, it’s time to take a closer look at your options. A bit of online research will help you find the cream of the crop. Step one is making sure that the professional you’re thinking of working with is reputable (this is especially important if you’re looking at smaller lending organizations). Google each lender you’re considering to verify that they have a credible website full of helpful information. Don’t forget to look for unbiased online reviews!

3) Take good advice

While doing your research is certainly helpful, hearing from someone with firsthand experience can sometimes make all the difference. In other words, it pays to ask around. Have any of your friends, family members, or acquaintances had a particularly good experience with a lender? To find out, spread the word that you’re on the hunt. Social media can be a great place to get some recommendations through your network. Don’t forget about the real estate professional you’re working with! If you’ve already decided on an agent, they should be able to refer you to a highly-reliable lender.

4) Ask the right questions

Before you commit to a particular lender, find out as much as you can about the way they work. Start by asking about timelines and fees. The last thing you want is to encounter delays, so make sure you know your lender’s turnaround times for pre-approval and mortgage processing. It’s also a good idea to learn exactly what they’ll need during the process—from beginning to end—so that you can get it to them in a timely manner. When it comes to your hard-earned cash, ask for a loan estimate. The amount will detail the different fees you can expect to pay.

While many home buyers believe that all lenders are the same, that simply isn’t true. Knowing what to look for in a lending professional can help ensure a smooth financing process—and ultimately, a successful home-buying outcome.

Ready to start your home search? Get in touch—we can walk you through the entire selling process, from beginning to end!

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