Mortgage Lenders, Home Loan Refinance Lenders

Dan rafter
Written by
Dan Rafter
Read Time: 5 minutes

There are literally thousands of mortgage lenders in the United States. Which is the one for You?

Essentially, a mortgage lender is the term used to describe companies, institutions and organizations who loan money to people for the purchase of real estate. These include banks, credit unions, trust companies, life insurance companies or a private company that lends money to buy land, houses and other real estate.

There are literally thousands of mortgage lenders in the United States. Some lenders are very small, such as local banks that focus on lending money for real estate in a small geographic area. There are also larger lenders who provide mortgage loans through an entire state or region and there are lenders who make loans nation wide.

Mortgage lenders may also be affiliated with state or federal agencies that provide funds or guarantee real estate loans such as HUD and Freddy Mac.

For the perspective buyer, it really doesn't matter whether you secure a loan through a mortgage lender, mortgage company or a mortgage broker; the goal is to attain the best possible interest rate and lowest fees.

Mortgage Lenders or Brokers

Mortgage brokers are in business to arrange transactions, they never lend money directly. In other words, they take your loan application and find you a lender. Broker's have access to numerous lenders which may offer you a wider selection of loan opportunities. Broker's are obligated to find the best deal for you unless they have a contract with you allowing them to act as your agent. It isn't a bad idea to contact more than one broker, just as you should with banks and other lending institutions. The bottom line is for you to make yourself the best deal.

Actually, in many cases, whether you are working with a lender or broker may not always be clear because some financial institutions operate as both lenders and brokers. It is important for you to ask because a broker is usually paid in the form of "points." One point is equal to 1 percent of the loan amount. If you are paying points to acquire a home, these fees can add up. Let's say your loan is $300,000. That means you pay $3,000 (one percent) out of your pocket to get the loan.

Once a lender makes you an offer, remember it isn't cast in stone, so continue to negotiate. You never know, but on any given day, loan brokers and lenders may offer two different deals to people with the same qualifications. The reason is that they are probably allowed to keep some of the difference as compensation for generating the loan. These situations can occur in both fixed and adjustable-rate loans.

A good tip is to have the lender or broker write down all the costs (called garbage fees by lenders) associated with the loan. Then simply ask the lender to waive or reduce some of the fees or give you a lower interest rate or fewer points. Remember, it never hurts to ask.

Finding the right mortgage company

How do you get started with the process? Simply, fill out our short form and you will get competitive quotes from up to four lenders or brokers so that you can compare their offers. has helped hundreds of thousands of people by matching quality lenders with your specific needs.

Don't forget to shop around, compare offers and negotiate from there.

Refinancing? Five Questions to Ask Your Mortgage Lender

The world of mortgage loans is foreign to the majority of us. It's riddled with its own jargon, rules and unique mathematical formulas. To make your visit to this strange planet a beneficial one, arm yourself with knowledge. Even though you've already been through the mortgage process once, it's easy to forget. Here are some questions you'll want to ask when shopping for a new mortgage.

Question 1 How much are the closing costs?

Closing costs generally total two to five percent of a home's purchase price. They're not part of the down payment, and include such charges as an appraisal fee, credit report fee, title insurance, and prorated property tax. If your first mortgage wasn't obtained too long ago, you may be able to use some documents from your original closing. One thing you'll particularly want to watch out for is points, which are lender's origination fees. You'll receive a Good Faith Estimate well before you close the loan. Be sure to scrutinize it.

Question 2: What are the options for locking in a rate?

Some lenders give you the option of either locking in a rate or "floating," which means waiting for rates to potentially get lower. "Floating" can be tricky; be sure to ask your lender for details.

Question 3: Is there a prepayment penalty?

This is a fee, sometimes quite sizable, designed to discourage you from refinancing your loan at a later date. Try to avoid these, if at all possible. Also, make sure that the mortgage you're refinancing doesn't have one, or you may be in for a surprise when you pay it off.

Question 4: Will I need to escrow insurance and taxes?

Some lenders give you the option of escrowing your own insurance and taxes. You may not like the extra monthly payments that you've been giving the bank for this purpose, and are hoping a new lender will let you handle them yourself. There may be an added fee for this privilege, so make sure you check.

Question 5: How long will it take to close?

Closing times vary by lender. If you need to close the loan sooner than later, make sure that your lender can accommodate you.

So what do you do now that you're armed with knowledge? Heed the sage lyrics of Toni Tennille, who crooned, "My momma told me: 'You better shop around.'" Start shopping for lenders and ask them the questions listed above. They'll help you to make an apples-to-apples comparison that should ultimately result in a loan that's music to your ears.

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