Checklist for Finding the Perfect Banking Lender

By  0 Comments

As newlyweds, you and your spouse have committed to each other for life. Congratulations! In all likelihood, you signed a marriage certificate, also known as a binding contract that cannot
be broken without a legal decree. This marriage contract is probably the most important contract you will ever sign and it’s one of many to come for you as a married couple.

If owning your own home is on the horizon, be prepared to sign yet another big contract. Unless you are paying in cash, you will need financing to buy a house, whereby you both enter into a long-term promissory note, more commonly referred to as a mortgage note.

Securing a lender and getting pre-approved for a loan is an important first step before house hunting. Be ready to verify your income and assets with your W2s, two years of tax returns, two to three months of bank statements, proof of your down payment and paycheck statements.

Your Realtor may insist on getting you pre-approved even before showing you houses. Plus, some sellers won’t accept an offer unless they receive a pre-approval letter from a buyer. Don’t get dismayed. The whole process is not as daunting as it sounds and it can all be accomplished in a short period of time.

Let’s take a look at a few tips on how to find a great mortgage lender. Do your research and compare rates and terms among the various lenders vying for your business. Take your time and never feel pressured by sales-driven tactics among mortgage brokers.

First, ask for personal recommendations from your friends who have actually secured a loan from a lender. Anyone who owns a home has a potential referral. Ask if they were happy with their experience, and stay away from any company with dubious reviews.

If no one has any recommendations for you, try to research mortgage companies online. They will request how much a mortgage you need and what rate you will qualify for, as well as promise you an immediate quote.

But be aware that as soon as you fill out their online personal questionnaires, you will be inundated with emails and voicemails from every online mortgage company quote generator. Why? The Federal Trade Commission allows lenders to buy lists of consumers in need of loans. So you should opt out of this list-sharing by going to or calling 1-888-5-OPTOUT. Once you’ve done that, you should not have to worry too much about online stalking.

Check your own credit union or bank’s daily posted rates online or call to ask what their current loan rates are, as well. Wherever you inquire, remember that loan officers are in the business of securing loans for their institution. Make them work for you. Ask pertinent questions. Get a breakdown of all the costs associated with obtaining a mortgage, including application fee, credit report fee, origination fee, appraisal fee, flood determination fee, tax fee, recording fee, commission and, of course, interest rate.

Do you have to pay points, typically 1 percent of the loan, up front? What is the down payment? Do you need private mortgage insurance, otherwise known as PMI, if you don’t pay 20 percent or more as a down payment? If so, when does the PMI disappear when you’ve built up enough equity in the home?

There are many down payment assistance programs and grants for first-time homeowners. The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development has various local and state programs. For example, The Good Neighbor Next Door Program helps teachers, law enforcement, emergency and medical technicians become homeowners by offering 50 percent off the list price of HUD homes on A bid for the property must be submitted by a HUD-registered real estate broker.

Always choose a lender that makes you feel comfortable, if not safe. Be sure she is knowledgeable and explains all terms thoroughly. If you feel good enough to give this lending officer your social security number and date of birth, you have probably found a good lender.

Still, get at least three lenders to compete for your business. Note who was the most prompt in dealing with your questions. Who took their time with you and never made you feel rushed? Who knew every answer to all of your questions and if not, found the answer in a reasonable amount of time? Who gave you honest information and feedback, and who made you feel secure? Experts agree that if you have found a lender with the three Cs, you have found the right mortgage lender: competent, capable and caring.

Buying your first home is a huge step as a newlywed. Make it as pleasant as possible. ■

Sources:, and