Questions to Ask When Comparing Mortgage Lenders

The process of purchasing a new home doesn’t usually begin with open houses and touring available properties—instead it begins in the office of a mortgage lender. These lenders determine whether you can get approved for a loan, what your interest rate will be, and how much money you can borrow for your home. For that reason it’s important to find the best lender—and you can narrow the list by asking these questions as you’re comparing and researching.

What home loan options do you offer?

Home loan options vary in the amount you can borrow, the interest rates you can qualify for, how much of a down payment is required, and the length of the loan term—and not all lenders offer the same loans. You want to make sure your lender can offer the one that will be best for you, such as:

  • Federal Housing Authority (FHA) mortgages
  • Veterans Affairs (VA) mortgages
  • Fixed-rate mortgages
  • Adjustable-rate mortgage (ARMs)
  • Low-down-payment mortgages
  • Interest-only mortgages
  • Jumbo loans (for homes over $510,400 in most places)

If they don’t offer a loan that works for you, find a new lender.

What are all the costs of getting a mortgage?

Lenders should provide you with what is called a “good faith estimate” (GFE) of all the fees and costs associated with getting your loan. It should include details of each line item. They are estimates, but in most cases the final costs should be very close to the estimate, so you can use the GFE to compare lenders.

How long will it take to process the loan application?

Assuming you provide all the necessary documentation in a timely manner, most loans will take anywhere from a few weeks to a couple of months to complete. If your lender says it might take a lot longer, make sure that delay won’t impact your ability to get the home that you want.

How can we make sure we don’t slow down the process?

Utah mortgage lenders do their best to process your loan as quickly as possible, but sometimes the speed with which they can do their job depends on you. To avoid slowing down your loan approval:

  • Start getting your paperwork in order right now
  • Complete all applications and documents quickly and in full
  • Answer phone calls or email questions quickly
  • Review your credit report well in advance so you can correct any errors before beginning the mortgage loan process
  • Don’t get a new job, take on new debt, or make significant changes to your financial situation during the home loan process

To speed up the process, have all your documents, such as proof of income and assets (pay stubs, bank statements, W-2s, two years’ worth of tax returns), identification, and credit history information available from the beginning. You may also need to show proof that you can make the down payment.

Be sure to ask plenty of questions before you commit to a lender. Your home loan will have a significant impact on your future, so it’s important to work with the right company.

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