Spokane Mortgage Broker: Weighing Your Home Loan Options

April 27, 2021
Last updated:
January 11, 2024
In This Article

Seeking a Spokane mortgage broker for help buying a home? Mortgage brokers are a traditional choice for borrowers looking online for a loan, but may not be able to offer you the best advice for a number of reasons.

Online mortgage applications can be an overwhelming experience with dozens of new terms to learn about mortgage loan products, loan terms, “points”, amortization, and more. Mortgage brokers in Spokaneabound, but are they prepared to give you personalized service? Here’s a rundown on everything you should know about Spokane mortgage brokers.

Who a Spokane Mortgage Broker Is

A mortgage broker is a loan originator. They make their money by brokering deals between borrowers and lenders, then stepping back and getting paid for the introduction. Think of them as the middleman. They can’t actually lend money, but they can match you up with the institution that can.

Mortgage brokers are licensed and bonded professionals, usually with a bachelor’s degree in accounting, business, or finance, and a certification or pre-licensure source under their belt plus proof of having passed the National Mortgage License System (NMLS) Loan Originator exam. Depending on the state(s) a mortgage broker practices in, they may also hold one or more state business licenses.

What a Washington Mortgage Broker Does

The first thing a mortgage broker should do is talk to you about your needs, goals, and means for buying a home. Then they can research available loan options, recommend the best loan for you, and negotiate in your best interests with lenders about what interest rate, down payment, and closing costs will be.

However, most mortgage brokers skip quite a bit of that, going straight to gathering your information and pulling your credit score so they can start lining lender offers up. This can be nice if you’re exploring what your possibilities are, but a pre-qualification just means you’re getting the best estimates and not the bottom line on the best loan terms for your specific situation.

Mortgage brokers don’t set interest rates, and they can’t underwrite or approve your loan. They certainly won’t be the entity funding your mortgage loan. They are merely conduits, and you should be careful how much faith you put in a Spokane mortgage broker, since your interests may not be at the top of their priority list.

How Mortgage Brokers Get Paid

Bias can quickly creep into the equation if a mortgage broker is getting paid based on how big your loan is or what lender you go with. The Dodd-Frank Act prohibits dual compensation, which means a broker can choose to get paid by the lender, or the borrower, but not both.

Mortgage brokers can choose to charge a flat fee, or get a commission based on the total loan amount(usually no lower than .05%, but subject to a federal cap of 3%.) Getting a commission or getting paid by the lender — or both — opens up the door to bias..

A Spokane mortgage broker may be tempted to push you towards a bigger loan amount to inflate their commission, or may work only with a few lenders who offer them the fattest commission tier. This means you need to be wary.

The typical home value of homes in Spokane is currently $375,614. Spokane home values have gone down 1.5% over the past year.

Online Mortgage Application and Pre-Approval

A big star in the plus column for mortgage brokers used to be the fact that they were the gatekeepers when it came to online lending. However, these days many mortgage banks have their own online lending systems set up to make applying for a mortgage easy.

At Sammamish, our bespoke modern lending system lets you start your application process online, upload all the documents needed for verification through our secure portal, and get fully preapproved with or without the guidance of one of our salaried loan officers (LOs).

As your lender, we also provide you with a preapproval letter that you can show to real estate agents and sellers, proving you are a serious buyer with the chops to follow through on an offer. This can set you apart from buyers armed only with a pre-qualification.

Using a Loan Officer vs. a Spokane Mortgage Broker

Wavering between using an online mortgage broker and a local loan officer? A mortgage broker works for themselves, playing the middleman and pocketing a fee for introductions. They don’t handle the nuts and bolts of the loan process and may not be very knowledgeable about the specifics of loan programs or which one would be best for you.

In contrast, an LO works for the mortgage bank and for you. If they are getting paid a salary (something you should check to confirm), then there’s no bias involved and they will concentrate on getting you the best loan possible in order to create a strong positive relationship between you and the bank.

At Sammamish, our loan officers work hand in hand with transaction coordinators and underwriters, guiding you through the loan process from pre-approval to closing. Our goal is a satisfied home owner, plus referrals and repeat business, so we always put your interests first.

Questions to Ask a Mortgage Broker

If you’re dead set on giving a Spokane mortgage broker a try, vet your top picks by asking these questions first:

  • Who pays you, and how is your fee determined?
  • How long have you been a broker, and what are your qualifications?
  • What are the different loan programs available to me?
  • Which do you recommend and why?
  • What lenders do you refer to most, and why?
  • Will I be pre-approved or prequalified?
  • How does my rate get locked?
  • How long does it typically take until I can close on a home?
  • What kind of one-on-one support can I expect?

A Spokane mortgage broker who offers to “prequalify” rather than pre-approve you, and can’t give you clear answers about rate locks, closing dates, and other specifics, may just be using an algorithm to generate “loan offers” and you’ll end up doing 99% of the work yourself anyway.

If that’s the case, you’d be better off using a salaried LO from a well-known and respected mortgage bank to give you solid advice and help you secure the best loan terms makes a lot more sense.

Live Spokane 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.

Spokane 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 Spokane mortgage that is right for you.

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