If you’re just getting started in the process of obtaining a mortgage, it can feel overwhelming and stressful to determine a mortgage lender. Obtaining a mortgage lender is as much about knowing what you need and want as it is about knowing the background, experience, and reputation of your mortgage lender.

Choosing a mortgage lender goes far beyond determining the best interest rate. The lender is a critical decision in obtaining a mortgage, and it is a process that should not be taken lightly. There are numerous ways that a mortgage lender can fail you during the process, which is why it’s so important to find the right lender from the beginning. For example, if you want to move quickly on an interest rate or you want the loan to be closed quickly, a slow-moving or non-responsive mortgage lender can hold up or stall the process completely.

Start Early

One of the best ways to choose an optimal mortgage lender is to do your own homework before the application process begins. “Determining your own credit score, and correct any inaccurate information. Does your credit score is so important in determining the type of loan and rates you may be able to get, it’s critical that your information is up-to-date and completely accurate. You can greatly help your application status simply by monitoring your credit score prior to beginning.

Request a copy of your credit report and review it for accuracy immediately

How To Find Lenders

If you are new to the mortgage industry, you might not be aware of places to find possible lenders. There are several different ways to determine what lenders are out there for the mortgage are interested in. First of all, speak to your friends to determine who they have worked with. Anyone who has recently obtained a mortgage may be able to point you in the right direction, and warn you about any potential pitfalls.

Of course, every individual and family experience is going to be different, so use this as a general guideline but not the final word. Online sources can also be a valuable tool for learning about mortgage lenders. Many websites even offer quoting abilities to give you a baseline. A mortgage brokerage can also help you identify possible lenders. This is ideal for anyone who is simply too busy to locate a lender on their own time. Your bank or credit union can also give you helpful tips.

Finally, ask for referrals from agents. Agents generally want to have a pre-approval letter before they begin working with a specific client. This means that not only are you qualified, but that you’re a serious buyer in the market. Since agents work with many different types of lenders, they can provide you personal experience and professional tips.

There are many sources with details and anecdotes about determining a mortgage lender, so don’t be afraid to ask around extensively before getting started

Review What’s Out There

Even if you’re not sure whether you will move forward in the lending process, you should know the variety of mortgage interest rates in the market at the time. Don’t fall into the trap of simply relying on the first lender that you talk to, since they may not have the best rate or total package.  If you have friends that have recently been through the process of obtaining a mortgage and purchasing a home, ask for their recommendations. The experiences of other people can be extremely informative. Once you’ve collected a list of possible mortgage lenders, speak to each one to determine their interest rates.

If a lender provides information that you don’t understand or doesn’t go into detail on the type of loan they are referencing, make sure to ask questions. It’s really to your benefit to learn and understand as much as possible. You can then compare the various interest rates available. Make sure that you’re comparing apples to apples. For example, look at the differences on the interest rate between a 15, 20, and 30-year mortgage.

Do your research, and don’t be afraid to ask further questions of the lenders

Delve Deeper Than Interest Rates

Certainly, interest rates are important, but they are not the complete package. For the lenders that you’re considering working with, ask for a written document of all the costs, fees, and possible charges associated with closing. If the lender is not sure what you’re asking for, tell them you’re looking for a good faith estimate. You may be surprised that some of the costs and fees associated with lenders that you were previously considering working with. You can then use these documents from the various lenders to compare and narrow down your list.

Make sure that you’re comparing equally across lenders- fees, closing costs, or other details could determine who you choose to apply with.