Shopping for a Home Loan in Today's Market


Think back, how did you find your Dentist, Attorney or Doctor?  Odds are it was a referral from a friend or colleague or on the Internet.  Same goes for a home loan.  Both resources are acceptable and both sources with provide you with all the answers to your questions.

I’ve been helping people buy, sell and invest in real estate in Contra Costa County for over a decade and although the lenders guidelines and requirements have changes, it’s really the same process.

Here are the steps that my clients find works best for them.  Find a local lender through the real estate community or a friend.  These mortgage bankers have roots in the community and will make sure you are not getting the run-around.  Provide them with your income and asset information.  Also authorize them to order a merged credit report, that’s all 3 credit reporting agencies and public records.  This will determine your pricerange and monthly payments. You can have multiple credit resorts taken within a reasonable period of time and it only counts as one transaction.  The credit reporting agencies understand that you will shop for a home loan just like you shop for a car.  After saying that, please do not pull you own report every couple months unless you suspect something.  Once or twice a year is plenty.

During this process you may want to go on-line and check out an Internet based lender’s rate and fees.  That’s OK,  just make sure you are comparing apples with apples.  By the way your real estate agent can help you make sure you ARE comparing apples with apples.

Compare the interest rate, points and fees.  I think you will find that this process will provide you with the results you are look for.  It’s my opinion that lenders in the San Francisco East Bay Area are very competitive with Internet based lenders.  Please remember that if it sounds too go to be true, it is!

If the Internet lender is significantly less money, please go back and show your Internet results to the local lenders.  They may be able to come close to their proposal and show you pit-falls in the program.  Your Realtor can also recommend FHA and other lending product that are available too. 

So, start with your Realtor, then go to a local home loan specialist and if you really want to shop rates and fees, do a Google search.  The real key is transparency.  Build a team of service providers that you trust and will work well together.