As you surf the Internet you may see flashy advertisements for super low interest rates or lower closing costs, but how reliable or trustworthy are these advertisements or companies?
While most lenders stand behind what they advertise or promise, you should still do your homework before committing to financing.
Thankfully, there are a few techniques you can use to weed out a non-reputable mortgage company.
Get Mortgage Company Referrals
Applying for a pre-approval online can help save time and make it easier to get the best rate, but before you decide on a lender, ask for referrals.
Friends, family and coworkers who own their homes can be a great source of information.
You can also ask a REALTOR® for a list of preferred lenders.
Small Versus Large Lenders
If you like personal service, and enjoy the face-to-face contact, it may make sense to choose a small mortgage lender in your local area.
If you don’t have much time to waste and seek a well-organized lender, having a larger lender may be the choice for you. Also, a large lender may have more payment options such as online payment or automatic mortgage deduction.
Mortgage Company Reputation
Generally, a good lender will have a solid reputation with accreditation and reviews to back it up. To figure out where your lender stands, start by doing this research yourself:
Check with the Better Business Bureau for ratings, reviews and complaints against the mortgage company.
Look for a posted mission statement or customer service rewards on the lender’s website.
Verify the lender’s standing with the local Chamber of Commerce.
Check review sites for both negative and positive reviews of the mortgage company.
Mortgage Company Customer Service
Finding a lender with great customer service can make things easier, especially if you have questions about the application or terms—or find yourself needing help with your mortgage down the line.
Test the lender’s customer service skills by calling with a few simple questions about the application or the lending process. After you talk with a representative, ask yourself these questions:
Did the lender seem knowledgeable?
Did you wait on hold for a long time?
Was the lender helpful?
Did you feel rushed?
Remember, first impression can be very telling in the business world, and buying a home is a big financial commitment—so you should expect to be treated well by your mortgage company.
Good Faith Estimate
Once you’ve narrowed down your choice to three or four lenders, ask for a good faith estimate: a detailed list of costs provided by a bank or mortgage lender to a borrower, required by law. The costs listed include the following:
Settlement or closing costs
Partial month interest
Credit check costs
Hazard and property insurance rates
While these are only estimate and may vary slightly from your actual costs, you can use your good faith estimate as a tool to help you chose the most reasonable lender.