by Lew Sichelman (Special to Freddie Mac)
Virtually every lender today can estimate how much you can borrow and at what interest rate -- after they verify employment, bank accounts and other information*. The big differentiator among lenders today is timely, personalized service. Everybody wants that lender who will follow through on its promises, close the loan on time, and get you the best deal you can afford.
So how do you find that lender?
Start your search by asking your friends, family members or trusted realty professional for their recommendations. Then pick two or three candidates and interview them. Be thorough. You will have to live with your choice for a long time.
That’s why you should ask questions like you are the hiring manager for a Fortune 500 company. Here are just a few questions I think you should use when you ask for a recommendation or talk to a prospective lender.
Finally, before making a decision, see if there are any consumer complaints involving the lenders that interest you. The way to do that is to check with your local Better Business Bureau and the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau a federal agency that maintains a database of gripes filed against lenders. It’s really no different than calling a past employer to check out a candidate before deciding whether or not to hire them.
Follow this series just in time for the spring homebuying season.
*How much you can actually borrow will depend on whether the appraisal supports the amount of the loan you want.
Lew Sichelman writes about housing and mortgages in plain English for consumers in The Housing Scene, a nationally syndicated column. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org
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