Bellevue Mortgage Broker: Finding the Best Home Loan Options

August 23, 2020
Last updated:
January 10, 2024
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Looking for a Bellevue mortgage broker when buying a home? While brokers typically have vast networks of lenders they can share your data with, they may not be the best choice if you’re looking for high-level financial advice to support your home purchase.

Online mortgage hunting can mean quickly getting overwhelmed with all of the choices when it comes to mortgage loan products, loan terms, “points”, amortization, and other lingo associated with getting a home loan. There are plenty of mortgage brokers in Bellevue you can use, but are they really the best option for ensuring you get the best loan possible? Here’s everything you need to know about Bellevue mortgage brokers.

Who a Bellevue Mortgage Broker Is

What a mortgage broker is: a middle man, a matchmaker, a loan originator. Mortgage brokers are a conduit to the world of lending, and can provide access to lenders, but they aren’t the only portal you can use.

What a mortgage lender isn’t: an actual lender, underwriter, loan approver, or loan funder. Mortgage brokers work with lenders, making connections between would-be borrowers and delivering loan offers.

A mortgage broker is typically the holder of a bachelor’s degree in finance, business, or accounting, has completed a pre-licensure course or certification, may have a business license for the state(s) in which they practice, and is bonded. Bellevue mortgage brokers also are required to have passed the National Mortgage License System (NMLS) Loan Originator exam.

What a Washington Mortgage Broker Does

What mortgage brokers do: gather your information, and possibly your documentation; share that information with lenders; pull your credit; originate your loan.

What mortgage brokers don’t do: set interest rates, underwrite your loan, approve your loan, or provide funding for your home purchase.

What your Bellevue mortgage broker should do but might not: talk with you about your specific financing needs, research loan options, make the best recommendations for you based on your best interests, and negotiate with lenders about the interest rate, down payment, and closing costs.

There’s a lot of range when it comes to how personalized your advice and service from a mortgage broker can be. A big part of that can have to do with who’s paying the broker and how that payment is calculated.

How Mortgage Brokers Get Paid

Mortgage brokers can get paid in one of two ways: by a flat fee, or by a commission based on the total loan amount. The commission is usually not lower than .05%, but legally can’t be over 3% due to a federal cap.

Mortgage brokers can get paid from one of two sources: the borrower, or the lender. The Dodd-Frank Act prohibits dual compensation, so a broker can never accept any sort of payment from a borrower if the lender is paying their fee, and vice versa. If you pay the broker, you pay at closing. If the lender pays, the settlement is typically done after closing.

The main problem with using a Bellevue mortgage broker is that the majority are paid by the lender and on a commission, so they can have a bias when it comes to what loan amount they try to get for you and which lender they steer you towards.

Online Mortgage Application and Preapproval

With everything online these days, getting a home loan is easier than ever. You don’t need a mortgage broker to hold your hand. A reputable bank with a modern lending system in place will allow you to apply online, submit all of the important documents needed for verification through a secure portal, and get fully preapproved without ever leaving your home.

At Sammamish, we’ve made it extremely easy to complete your entire mortgage application online. You can do it all by yourself or with personalized assistance from one of our salaried loan officers (LOs) who will be there to walk you through each stage of your home buying journey from pre-approval to closing.

Once you’re pre-approved, we’ll issue you a pre-approval letter that you can take with you and show sellers and real estate agents when you make an offer, proving you’re serious and have the backing needed to buy a home. You don’t need a mortgage broker at all.

Using a Loan Officer vs. a Bellevue Mortgage Broker

Wondering what’s the difference between a mortgage broker and a loan officer? A mortgage broker sets up borrowers with different lenders, brokering the deal and acting as a middleman, but not touching the actual nuts and bolts of the loan itself.

A loan officer works for the lender as part of a team designed to complete the entire loan process in-house, interacting with you, the transaction coordinator, and the underwriter to ensure the process goes off without a hitch.

There is one thing to look out for with loan officers, and it’s the same thing you have to be wary of with mortgage brokers: how the LO gets paid can affect their advice, so make sure you’re working with a mortgage bank that pays their LOs a generous salary and not just a commission.

Questions to Ask a Mortgage Broker

Still want to try a Bellevue mortgage broker on for size? Ask the following questions first and evaluate their answers before you make your final decision:

  • Do you get paid a commission?
  • Who pays your fee?
  • How many years have you been a broker?
  • Do you hold the proper licenses/certifications?
  • What types of loans do you typically recommend?
  • On what basis will you make your recommendations for me?
  • Do you work with specific lenders? Why?
  • When do I get a preapproval letter?
  • When does my rate get locked?
  • How long until my closing date?
  • Are you going to be supporting me from start to finish?

A mortgage broker who is using algorithms to estimate potential loan amounts, tells you they can “prequalify” rather that pre-approve you, or who can’t give straight answers about rate locks, closing dates, and other specifics, may not be the right choice for you.

It’s a big step, making the decision about what lender to apply with and what loan product to select. Having the right advisor by your side can make all of the difference. Make sure you settle on an expert, whether that’s an online Bellevue mortgage broker, or a salaried LO from a well-reputed mortgage bank.

Bellevue Mortgage Rates

Important Loan Limits Information

Loan limits are dollar amount caps placed on a mortgage. Different types of loans have different limits.

  • Conforming loan limits are caps placed on loans that Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae will acquire.
  • FHA loan limits are caps placed on loans that the Federal Housing Administration (FHA) backs.
  • VA loan limits have been eliminated since 2020. Some borrowers may still be subject to them if they currently have a couple of VA loans, or have defaulted on one in the past.

Loan limits are assigned to (and vary across) each county in every state across the country. They typically increase at the start of every year to reflect the growth in home prices.

Check out our mortgage loan limit tool for conventional, FHA, and VA loans.

Get an Instant Mortgage Rate Quote Today

Bellevue Mortgage Broker Alternative: Sammamish Mortgage

Sammamish Mortgage is a family owned, local mortgage bank serving the broader Pacific Northwest region, including Washington State, Idaho, Colorado, California, and Oregon. We are proud to offer a wide variety of mortgage programs and loan products with flexible qualification criteria.

Please contact us if you have any questions or are ready to apply for a home loan. One of our salaried loan officers (LOs) will be happy to help you get pre-approved for the Bellevue mortgage that is right for you.

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