Thousands of mortgage lenders finance home loans so you can have your pick of them. Doing your homework will help you learn more about a bank’s fees, level of customer service and what deals it can offer you. Going with a bank with a solid reputation for qualifying borrowers and getting them through to closing without a hitch can help you avoid future headaches.
Talk to real estate agents and brokers who sell a lot of homes in your area. Ask for referrals to lenders that will hook you up with a loan option that’s right for you. Professionals who work with mortgage lenders on a regular basis are in the best position to tell you which banks give the best customer service.
Contact more than one lender to ask about loan programs. Pass if the officers are hard to get hold of or you have to wait for what seems like forever for a call.
Check the J.D. Power and Associates customer satisfaction index ranking for primary mortgage servicers. That online service can let you see how well a bank rates overall in customer satisfaction.
Inquire how long it takes the bank to process a home loan. Lenders vary in the time it takes to approve a mortgage, but some will explain the entire process from start to finish. They'll also tell you upfront what documents you need to submit with your loan application.
Ask how often the lender will communicate with you throughout the loan process. Choose a bank you feel will keep you well-informed from the time of application through to settlement. Find out if the bank will contact you by phone or email. It doesn’t hurt to ask who will service your mortgage if the bank sells your loan.
Check to see if a lender is registered with the Better Business Bureau. Find out from the BBB, local Chamber of Commerce, and your county and state consumer protection agencies if any complaints have been filed against the mortgage lender. Your state's Department of Banking also answers questions and takes complaints from consumers about lenders.
- Bankrate.com: How to Find and Choose a Mortgage Lender
- Bankrate.com: Finding the Best Mortgage Lender
- MSN Real Estate: How to Choose a Mortgage Broker
- ABC News: A Guide to Mortgage Shopping
- MSN Real Estate: Find the Right Home? Find the Right Lender
- J.D. Power and Associates: 2012 U.S. Primary Mortgage Servicer Satisfaction Study
- California Department of Corporations: 20 Questions to Ask a Lender or Mortgage Broker
- According to federal law, the lender has to give you a Good Faith Statement listing the fees and costs you'll be charged. Also, the lender has three days from the time he gets the application to give you a Truth-in-Lending Disclosure Statement detailing the terms and costs of your loan.
Amber Keefer has more than 25 years of experience working in the fields of human services and health care administration. Writing professionally since 1997, she has written articles covering business and finance, health, fitness, parenting and senior living issues for both print and online publications. Keefer holds a B.A. from Bloomsburg University of Pennsylvania and an M.B.A. in health care management from Baker College.