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As soon as the sales contract is signed, obtaining financing for the new home becomes key for most buyers.

When most people think about choosing a mortgage lender, they think about finding the lowest rate. Bear in mind that mortgage packages consist of more than interest rates. They consist of a quoted rate, plus origination fees, discount points (prepaid interest assessed by the lender at settlement) and other fees, plus a full range of terms including adjustable versus fixed-rates, low down payment versus high down payment, the presence or absence of prepayment penalties, and many other features.

In addition to the financial considerations, you will want a lender you can trust, a lender you can work with effectively, and a lender who offers a wide range of mortgage loan products. Here are three steps that can help you shop for a mortgage.

Build a List of Lenders
Talk with your real estate agent. Real estate professionals are normally in the best position to learn about financing opportunities in the marketplace. Lenders regularly call agents to alert them to financing packages. Talk to people you know who have bought or refinanced a home recently. Check the newspaper’s real estate or business section. Look in the Yellow Pages under "Mortgages." Finally, check out Web sites for lenders in your area. Many sites include information on home loan programs, as well as publish rates.

Talk to a Loan Officer
Call or visit the lenders on your list. Get a feel for what it will be like to work with them and how they approach your needs. You might want to ask for references – recent home buyers like yourself – and talk to them. Here are some key questions to ask lenders:

What type of mortgage loan products do you offer?
What are your rates?
What are the points?
What is your rate lock period?
What are your closing costs?
How long will it take to process my mortgage application?
How long before I know if I have been approved for the loan?
What documents do I have to provide?
What costs am I expected to pay?
Is a deposit required to make a loan application?

Compare Rates for Similar Loans
Among the things you’ll want to discuss with prospective lenders are the rates they offer on mortgages. When comparing rates between lenders, be sure the rates are for comparable loans and rate lock periods. Remember to include fees and other costs so you’re comparing apples to apples.

Mortgage Rates

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Home Buyers Guide
Affordability Guide
Mortgage Calculator

Finance Guide Links
Overview Page
What is a Mortgage Loan?
Types of Mortgage Loans
Shopping for Mortgage
Applying for a Loan
After Applying



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