Summary: When deciding which mortgage company you will work with, there is more to consider than whether they were your realtor’s preferred lender or they had a low rate advertised online.
Working with a trustworthy and reputable company that you are comfortable with is an important consideration when making one of the most important financial decisions of your life. The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau recommends that a prospective borrower check with at least 3 lenders during the mortgage shopping process; however, over 50% of borrowers wind up going with the first lender they talk to.
Given the overwhelming number of mortgage companies and complexity of mortgage options available, it is easy to see why many will simply go with someone they were referred to or bank with. Unfortunately there can be significant differences in rates, costs and service when comparing one lender to another.
So how do you decide which company is right for you? One place to start is to check the company’s reputation online. Have they been in business for a significant period of time and weathered the ups and downs of the mortgage industry? Are they rated highly by the Better Business Bureau and in good standing with state and federal regulators? It is easy these days to search the reviews of a company online. If information is hard to find or there are numerous bad reviews, it may be a good plan of action to try a different mortgage company.
Another suggestion is to check the company’s website. Do they provide helpful and insightful information? Is their website up to date? In today’s digital world a company’s online presence is an indication of their performance in other areas of their business. If they neglect their presentation to the world online, what other aspect of their business are they neglecting
Are you able to easily search current rates and costs? Is the company you are dealing with transparent in what they have to offer? Do they have tools available to help you track fluctuations in rates and closing costs over time? Unfortunately, even with today’s technology many mortgage lenders choose not to show what rates they are able to offer at any given time.
Whether it’s because they think their rates are higher than their competitors, or they feel their sales department can convert more clients by talking to them before rate information is provided, many choose to keep what they can offer private. Some lenders will argue that every person is different and each borrower’s situation is different.
While it is true that credit scores, down payment or equity and type of transaction all have an impact on the terms available, there are many tools available that will reflect real-time pricing based on a borrower’s unique circumstances. Luckily more and more lenders are moving towards transparency as borrowers become savvier and their expectations of what information they should have at their fingertips increases.
Comfort and expertise
While a solid online presence is important, the mortgage process is complex. Having an experienced loan professional you trust and feel comfortable talking to is important. Can you call the company you are working with and talk to an experienced professional, or are you calling a call center with newly licensed order-takers that have limited knowledge of the mortgage business?
Does the person you are talking to take the time to answer your questions in an understandable way? While the mortgage industry is moving towards automation, the loan process is still very complex with a lot of moving parts. It is extremely important that you are working with someone that has the knowledge and experience to deal with unexpected challenges that can often come up during the loan process.
The borrower experience
In today’s highly regulated mortgage industry, there is no shortage of paperwork and documentation that needs to be provided:
- Does the lender you work with have systems that make the process easier?
- Do they have an intuitive online application that simplifies and streamlines the application process?
- Do they have options to easily electronically sign your loan disclosures?
- Can you safely and securely upload your loan documentation?
If you are uncomfortable with completing your paperwork online, are they flexible and can they accommodate your desire to complete the paperwork the old-fashioned way? With all the new government regulations and strict lending requirements you want to make sure the company you are dealing with can work with you in a way that you are comfortable with and help you navigate the process for a smooth transaction.
Start your search for mortgage companies
Now it’s time to put your knowledge to the test. To figure out what the best mortgage company is for you, you have to compare.
You can start your search by downloading our ebook Why Choose Sammamish As Your Mortgage Company? You’ll have insights into one of the highest-rated mortgage companies in the Pacific Northwest, and regardless of whether we fit your personal needs, you will gain insight and knowledge into what information and background a mortgage company can provide you.
Have questions? Sammamish Mortgage is a local, family-owned company based in Bellevue, Washington. We serve the entire state, as well as the broader Pacific Northwest region. Please contact us if you have mortgage-related questions.