Kirkland Mortgage Lender: 15 Tips for Choosing the Best One

Published:
November 24, 2020
Last updated:
May 19, 2022
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Finding a Kirkland mortgage lender can be difficult if you do not know what to look for, especially when trying to navigate the real estate market in Kirkland, WA. In addition to comparing several local lenders, you need to make sure you find a lender that understands your needs and financial situation.

When it comes to finding the best Kirkland mortgage lender, you need to shop around.  Thus, first and foremost, you need to consider different financial institutions. Once you have found several quality lenders, make it a point to ask each of them about rates, loan terms, down payment requirements, property insurance, closing cost, and fees of all kinds. After you have a better picture of what a few lenders in your area offer, you can compare these details.

Why The Right Lender Is a Must

Like most of the country, Kirkland, Washington is a seller’s market. Moreover, in this particular city, the average home price is $1.075,986. Having a local lender that knows this market and how to navigate it is important. Plus, many local lenders in Kirkland specialize in high priced homes.

15 Tips for Choosing the Best Kirkland Mortgage Lender

Once you have focused your search on one or two particular lenders, do not just sign off on the one Kirkland mortgage lender you like the best. Instead, do yourself a favor by following a few more steps to ensure you get the best rate from the lender of your choosing.

  1. Identify your main goal.

    The first question to ask is what is your purpose for buying a home in Kirkland, WA? You might be buying it to live in full time, or as a vacation or second home, or even as a way to make money through renting it.

  2. Decide what type of mortgage you need

    Answering the question above can affect what kind of mortgage you need, since underwriting is different depending on what you’ll be using the house for.

  3. Know your credit score

    You need to know exactly what your credit score is, and avoid applying for new credit during the home loan process. You can access your credit score and a report from each agency free of charge once a year at www.freecreditreport.com.

  4. Improve your credit score

    One of the first things you should do in order to find the perfect match in a Kirkland mortgage lender is to strengthen your credit score. Improving your financial situation means you will have more power when it comes to negotiating for better rates with potential lenders.

    So, if you currently have a low or less than desirable credit score, you are essentially signaling that lending to you is risky. This, in turn, means you will likely get a higher interest rate on your home loan.  Also, it is important to note if you have a score under 580, you will have a hard time qualifying for most types of mortgages.

  5. Search for reviews

    Read reviews online, but take them with a grain of salt. Only five star reviews with very little detail can be suspect, but a harsh review can also be just one disgruntled customer, Talk to lenders directly as well for testimonials.

  6. Demand transparency

    When it comes to choosing a Kirkland mortgage lender, it definitely pays to shop around. Talk to at least three lenders to get a better sense of the company, their interest rates, and the specifics of the loans they offer. Watch for signs of hedging about rates or fees, and demand honesty up front.

  7. Familiarize yourself with lending rates

    Lending rates posted online can be misleading. The fine print often reads “for borrowers with credit above 740 and assuming 20% down”, which doesn’t apply to many homebuyers.

  8. Seek a referral

    When it comes to choosing a Kirkland mortgage lender, it definitely pays to shop around–talk to at least three lenders to get a better sense of the company, their interest rates, and the specifics of the loans they offer. Your agent may have recommendations, but it is best to do your own research, too. You can also ask friends, family, or co-workers for recommendations to find a local lender in your area.

  9. Use your common sense

    All WA State mortgage lenders are required to be licensed through the State department of financial regulations. Check this website: https://dfi.wa.gov/consumers/verify-license) to verify that your lender is in good standing.

  10. Gather your paperwork

    Most respectable WA State mortgage lenders will provide a secure online portal so you can upload documents like:

    • Tax returns
    • 401(k) or investment statement
    • Pay stubs
    • Bank statements

    Include all sources of income, and statements for all accounts under your name, including joint accounts.

  11. Rein in your spending habits

    Track and document all spending so you can show your lender you can handle the expense of a mortgage.

  12. Look at a lot of different programs

    Work with a lender who can give you access to a wide range of programs.  Once you have narrowed it down to your chosen lender and the best loan program for you, apply for mortgage preapproval. During preapproval, you will be asked to provide documentation on your financials, such as your paystub, W2s, tax returns, bank account balances, and credit information.

    This step in the process is a valuable part of the home buying process because a preapproval letter shows that you have been vetted for the first (credit) portion of the loan process, and you just need to find an eligible property. Once you apply with a lender, you will receive a Loan Estimate laying out the down payment, fees, estimated monthly payment, and more.

  13. Ask about the fees

    Your lender should be more than willing to discuss fees up front, and detail what is covered by escrowed funds and what would be due at closing.

  14. Check for additional costs

    Be aware that a down payment of less than 20% will mean you probably have to pay PMI, and that if you choose a home in a neighborhood with a homeowners association, you’ll also have annual HOA fees.

  15. Push for expertise and customer service

    You will want to find an experienced mortgage lender who knows how to get the job done with speed and efficiency. Thus, it is imperative that you work with a Kirkland mortgage lender that has ample experience with your specific type of loan and walks you through credit score challenges or opportunities.

    Also, it may be beneficial to look for a lender that offers in-house underwriting since this is a great way of increasing the likelihood that the process of getting a mortgage will be a smooth one.

    Once you have narrowed your options further, make sure you take a look at your possible lender’s independent/third-party online reviews from past customers. You will find useful comments from previous borrowers, which will provide you with an idea of what to expect throughout the process.

    Finally, when it comes to the ask and answer portion of the program, ask specific questions. This will help you see how each lender goes about the process of closing a loan and will provide you with more information regarding any additional fees you will have to pay.

    Asking questions is also a great way to gain insight into the lender’s level of professionalism and communication skills. Remember, you will be sharing a lot of personal information in your mortgage application document, and placing a lot of trust in this person.

Kirkland Mortgage Rates

Know Your Home Loan Options

Once you have found the right Kirkland mortgage lender, then it is time to start looking at the loan options available. If you are brand new to the process, you may be unaware that not all loans are created equally.

You have several different types of loans to choose from that each come with different terms, limits, as well as pros and cons. Some of the most popular options include conventional, fixed-rate, interest-only, FHA (Federal Housing Administration), ARM (Adjustable Rate Mortgage), and VA loans.

In addition to knowing what your loan options are, your lender should be able to walk you through any applicable WA state programs that are designed to help home buyers and first-time buyers.

Ultimately, by doing your due diligence, you will be certain that you have found the best Kirkland mortgage lender for your needs, and you can take the next steps in the homebuying journey with confidence.

Loan Limit Basics

If you take out a home loan that is higher than a certain limit, your mortgage will be considered a “jumbo loan.” That’s because of loan limits, which are dollar limits placed on mortgages. For conforming loans, loan limits are caps that are placed on loans that Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae will purchase or guarantee.

For FHA loans, loan limits are dollar caps on loans that the FHA backs. VA loan limits have been eliminated. But 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 every county in the country and usually 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

Why Sammamish Mortgage?

Sammamish Mortgage is a local mortgage loan company that has been serving clients since 1992. We support borrowers all across the Pacific Northwest, including Washington, Oregon, Idaho, and Colorado. We are proud to offer a wide variety of mortgage programs and products with flexible qualification criteria. Please contact us if you have any questions or are ready to apply for a home loan.

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