One of the most important and complex decisions you will ever make is choosing the right lender when buying your home. This decision will profoundly impact your life financially for the next 15 to 30 years. And just because a lender accepts your application, that doesn’t necessarily mean that lender is the right one for you. You need to research and shop around. To help you out, here are 6 tips for choosing the right lender in Los Angeles.
1. Determine the Kind of Lender for You
You can choose between a big national mortgage lender or a small local lender (or even something in the middle). It all depends, really, on whether you prefer better rates or personalized customer service – in general, the larger lender for the former and the smaller for the latter. You need to research the differences and choose the one that best meets your needs and preferences.
2. Decide If You Need a Mortgage Broker
A mortgage broker is a sort of liaison between a lender and the borrower, earning her fee by arranging the deal between the two. The major benefit of using a mortgage broker lies in the time savings because she will do a large share of the work involved in finding a lender. A good broker can help you get the right mortgage and great rates.
What you have to watch out for are brokers who set up a deal with the greatest profit for them, but not the best mortgage deal for you. If you decide to use a mortgage broker for choosing the right lender, just be sure to do your research and get references.
3. Inquire About Mortgage Companies
Perhaps an even better way to go about choosing the right lender in Los Angeles – better than going through a broker or doing tons of research – is simply to ask friends and family about lenders. People who have had personal, first-hand experience with certain lenders can give you the real lowdown. They know whether the lender they worked with met their needs or not.
4. Check Out the Reputation
But no matter how glowing a lender’s recommendation from a friend you trust, you still need to check out the lender’s reputation yourself. You could begin by getting names and contact information of past clients and then speak with them yourself. Reputable, third-party review sites are also good sources to find out about lenders, their quality of service, and their reputation. Performing this due diligence now could save you headache and money farther down the road.
5. Compare Rates
Choosing the right lender should also involve the same kind of price comparison analysis that shopping for anything else does. Today, you have nearly endless options when it comes to mortgage lenders – big commercial banks, neighborhood banks, credit unions, online lenders, and more. So make sure you compare rates as a major segment of your selection process.
A good starting place (though certainly not the end of the process) is an online search so you could begin, for example, by doing a Google search for, say, “best mortgage rates in Los Angeles” or “lowest mortgage rates in Los Angeles.” There is a lot more to choosing the right lender than the finding the lowest rate, but it still matters.
6. Talk to Your Agent
Your qualified local agent can also be a huge help in choosing the right lender. Savvy loan officers at reputable lenders strive to take care of customers recommended by agents because repeat business is the most profitable. So don’t hesitate to get your agent’s opinion on the best mortgage lenders in your area.