Portland Mortgage Lender: 15 Tips to Find the Right Lender

October 1, 2020
Last updated:
January 11, 2024
In This Article

When buying a new home in Portland, it’s important that you take some time to find yourself an experienced Portland mortgage lender when applying for a mortgage. A home loan is one that you will be tied to and responsible for repaying for many years to come, so you want to be sure that you choose wisely when it comes to the lender you work with and the mortgage product you take out.

As much of a deep commitment as getting a lender sounds, it doesn’t have to be overly complex. While the process certainly has its nuances, working with a trusted mortgage lender in Portland will help take the complexity out of the process. These experts will work with you side-by-side to help you get familiar with the process and educate you along the way.

You probably already have plenty of experience shopping online for consumer goods and even paying your bills virtually. Well, you can also shop for a mortgage online, which can help save you time and hassle.

There’s no need to commute, meet face-to-face, and deal with making appointments with a lender. Instead, you can peruse the web as you search for your mortgage lender and home loan products while comparing current interest rates and fees.

15 Tips for Finding the Ideal Portland Mortgage Lender

To make sure you end up with the right lender and mortgage product, consider the following useful tips.

  1. Identify your main goal.

    Before you set foot on the path to finding a Portland mortgage lender, you’ll first want to establish what your goal is. For instance, you may want to move into a larger home to accommodate a growing family, or you may want to downsize from a large house after recently becoming an empty-nester. Or, you may want to buy a vacation home or sell an investment property.

    Whatever your specific needs are, it’s helpful to define what they are so you can choose the appropriate type of mortgage lender to help you realize a successful transaction.

  2. Decide what type of mortgage you need

    There are so many different types of mortgage products out there, so your job is to do your due diligence to find out what they are and which one may be better suited for your particular situation. For instance, there are conventional mortgages, FHA loans, VA loans, jumbo loans, and so forth.

    You’ll also want to determine the length of the term for your home loan, such as a 30-year versus a 150-year mortgage. Plus, you’ll want to decide on a fixed-rate mortgage versus an adjustable-rate mortgage.

    As you can see, there are decisions to be made about the type of mortgage you take out, which you will want to contemplate as you search for a mortgage lender.

  3. Know your credit score

    There are a few factors that play a role in your ability to secure a mortgage, and your credit score affects mortgage rates and approval. is one of the more important ones. If your credit score is high, you’ll have a better chance of getting approved for a mortgage at a lower rate. But if it’s on the low end, your odds of securing a mortgage are lower.

    You can find out what your credit score is by pulling your credit report from one of the major credit bureaus in the US.

  4. Improve your credit score

    Now that you know where you stand with your credit score, you can decide whether or not it needs improvement. If so, there are a few things you can do to increase it, such as:

    • Pay all bills on time
    • Don’t spend close to your credit limit
    • Pay more than the minimum payment on your credit card
    • Don’t take out any additional loans
    • Keep old credit lines open
  5. Search for reviews

    There are plenty of review sites out there that you can look on to search various Portland mortgage lenders. Just be sure to visit reputable review sites and read as many as you can to get an overview of what the lender is like to work with rather than just focus on a handful of reviews.

  6. Demand transparency

    Don’t work with a lender who can’t answer all of your questions using clear languagfe, or who won’t put their promises in writing.

  7. Familiarize yourself with lending rates

    One of the top “do’s” when applying for a mortgage is to be able to lock in the lowest rate possible. This will help you save thousands of dollars over the term of your home loan. As such, you should compare interest rates among various mortgage lenders in Portland. Luckily, this can easily be done via a quick internet search.

  8. Seek a referral

    You can get the best idea of who to work with from other people who have had good experiences. Reach out to family members, friends, or even your real estate agent for referrals to a good Portland mortgage lender.

  9. Use your common sense

    If an interest rate seems too good to be true, it probably is, so read the fine print. Listen to your gut, and have a lawyer look over your mortgage contract before you sign if anything feels off at all.

  10. Gather your paperwork

    Portland mortgage lenders do a lot of homework on mortgage applicants to make sure they are financially fit enough to handle mortgage payments. To do this, they require common mortgage documents to verify applicants’ risk level. This can include things like tax returns, pay stubs, bank statements, and so forth.

    Your lender will want to make sure you earn enough of an income and don’t have debt levels that are too high. All the paperwork you provide will help the lender make that decision. Collecting all this paperwork takes some time and effort, so the sooner you get everything you need, the faster the loan process can begin.

  11. Rein in your spending habits

    If you have a bad habit of spending a little too much, consider taming this behavior. Now is not the time to rack up more debt. Instead, you want to pay down as much debt as possible to free up more of your income to be put towards your mortgage payments. This will strengthen your loan application and increase the odds of approval. Plus, having less debt will make it easier to keep up with your mortgage payments.

  12. Look at a lot of different programs

    Remember, there are tons of mortgage loan programs, and your lender should be well versed in the ins and outs of all of them and able to show you exactly why one might be a better fit for your unique situation than another.

  13. Ask about the fees

    While the interest rate is a crucial factor to consider about a mortgage, it’s not the only thing you should consider. You should also weigh the fees that the mortgage lender charges. In some cases, a mortgage with a lower rate may still cost you more than a mortgage with a lower rate if the fees on the former are very high. So be sure to choose a lender who is transparent about their fees so you can do some accurate comparison shopping.

  14. Check for additional costs

    Remember that there could be additional costs associated with buying a home, and be prepared to shell out for PMI (private mortgage insurance) or HOA (homeowners association) fees.

  15. Push for expertise and customer service

    You want to work with a mortgage lender that has a long track record of successful transactions in your local area. You’ll also want a lender that can provide you with the support you need throughout the application and approval process. Be sure to choose an online mortgage lender in Portland that has an established presence in the industry, like Sammamish Mortgage.

Portland Mortgage Rates

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, California, 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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