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How Can I Shop for Best Mortgage Loan?

By Gretchen Wegrich Updated on 10/24/2014

Shopping for best mortgage loanYour home is probably the largest, most expensive, and most significant purchase you'll make in your lifetime. If you choose to finance this purchase with a mortgage, do your research. Find the best terms and the lowest rate, and pay attention to the details. You'll be living with this mortgage for many years to come. The following tips will guide you through the process of selecting a mortgage.

Know your Credit Score

Order your own credit report and review it for accuracy. Mistakes are often made by credit reporting agencies, and studies have shown that a significant number of credit reports contain highly noticeable errors. Check the accuracy of your credit report before you move forward with a mortgage. It may be the difference between acceptance and rejection.

Educate Yourself 

As much as possible, try to understand local mortgage rates, national interest rates, and the national economy as a whole. The Treasury Note and bond markets influence mortgage rates significantly, and if you can learn to tell where the market is headed, you'll be able to make financial decisions with much greater confidence and obtain better interest rates. Still, mortgage rates are highly volatile and change often. Even if you've done your research, simply keeping up-to-date on local rate changes is highly important.

Family and homeChoose the Right Loan

There are numerous kinds of mortgages available. Select the one that is best for you. Do you qualify for an FHA home loan? Are you eligible for a  VA loan program? Should your loan be conforming or non-conforming? Research as many options as you can. Find out which apply to you before shopping for a lender.

Identify your Goals

How soon do you hope to pay off your mortgage? How long do you intend to remain at this residence? What monthly payment can you afford? How much money can you put toward a down payment? Do you have a secure source of income? What tax bracket are you in? Do you have significant savings? Are you significantly risk-averse? You'll need to answer all of these questions and more in order to best identify your long-term financial goals. Know what your plans are before you lock yourself into a mortgage.

Compare Closing Costs

You're ready to start shopping a lender. Don't simply work with the first loan originator you find. Pick three or four local lenders and analyze their offers. Interest rates are important, but go deeper than that. Ask about closing costs and other fees, as well as points and down payment requirements. All of these variables can significantly alter the value of a deal, and every lender will have a different offer. Beware of hidden costs. Check everything. This is the hard part. Expect to spend a lot of time comparing lenders, and don't' give up until you've found the best deal.

It doesn't end when you've found a lender. Analyze the mortgage package to ensure that it's a perfect match for your needs. How much is the down payment? What is the length of the repayment timeline? Are there early payoff penalties? Is mortgage insurance required? Are the application fees refundable? All of these factors and more can influence the ultimate cost of the loan.

Once you're satisfied that you've found the best deal for your situation, go for it. Have confidence. You've done your research. You can compare mortgage rates every day for a month, but sooner or later you have to jump in and apply what you've learned. Get started today.

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About The Author:
Gretchen Wegrich
Gretchen Wegrich is an editor at Lender411. She specializes in mortgage basics, personal finance and green living. She graduated with a bachelor's degree in writing from University of California, San Diego and previously worked at the Santa Cruz Sentinel. Contact her at gretchen@lender411com.

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