Home Loan Shopping: Apply to Multiple Mortgage Lenders

Friday, Oct 3, 2008

The mortgage marketplace is tight.  While many borrowers are just happy to get approved, there's nothing stopping you from applying to a variety of different mortgage banks for your loan.

Consumers don't think twice about shopping around for common household goods.  Don't think twice about approaching a mortgage lender in the same fashion.  In your quest to find mortgage rates that work for your personal situation, don't be shy about shopping around.  Look at different mortgage banks, and apply for the best offers.  It's a great way to comparison shop, provided that you don't commit to any expensive fees.

Shop first, get mortgage second


The problem most people face when they look for a mortgage lender is that they don't search thoroughly.  They may visit a couple of websites, or make a few phone calls, but generally, people don't shop for a mortgage as diligently as they should.  

If you want to find the right mortgage lender, begin your search by checking out the websites of the top ones in your area.  Then, make a chart for a side-by-side comparison of each.  Take into account all the closing costs and interest rates before you make a decision.  Many lenders tack on their own special fee, so keep an eye out for anything that looks overly expensive or unfamiliar when compared to other mortgage applications.  If you see an unusual fee, ask that it be removed.

Find mortgage, look for different lender


If you're worried about getting approved by a mortgage bank, your concern may be justified.  Bankers are tightening their lending guidelines, and even people with high credit scores are finding requirements rather difficult to meet.  

To provide yourself with a contingency plan, apply with at least two different mortgage banks.  This is a good idea if you feel like you're on shaky ground.  The downside of this approach is that a lender generally requires an application or appraisal fee.  If you apply with two different ones, you could potentially lose $300 to $500 dollars on the mortgage that you don't pick.  To avoid heavy loses, tell the lender that you're applying to two different places.  In today's hyper-competitive environment, this could prove to be a bargaining chip that may help you lower your costs.

During the process, several lenders will pull your credit report.  If you're concerned that your score will decrease because of multiple inquiries, don't be.  Credit bureaus won't drop your score if you have a number of inquiries concentrated within a small period.  They understand from this pattern that you're most likely shopping for a mortgage.

Mortgage lenders have become increasingly discerning in the approval process.  To protect yourself, get mortgage quotes from two different mortgage banks.  There's the potential that you could pay extra fees if you choose this route.  However, you'd have the assurance of knowing that if you were rejected by one, plan B would still be in place.

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