Finding the best loan and interest rate for your home purchase can be a challenge, and an independent mortgage broker can make the process easier and less time consuming, as they have access to different loans and options, not just the one offered by your bank. But working with the right one is essential to ensure a positive experience.
You probably know someone who has bought a house and may have used a broker; a good first step is to check with them for recommendations. Your real estate agent may have some contacts in the industry too, and of course you can always browse online listings, but pay attention to comments and reviews from previous clients. Many brokers have an online portfolio or profile, and you can also contact the NMLS (Nationwide Mortgaging Licensing System) for a list of brokers in your area.
Most experts recommend that you talk to at least three mortgage brokers before deciding on one to work with. It’s a good opportunity to ask any questions you may have, as well as get a feel for what they can offer you and how they work. You should ask them about the application process, the specific requirements and how long you can expect the closing process to take. And a good mortgage broker will ask you questions too, about your income, debts, credit score and marital status, all in an effort to find you the best possible product.
Once you have talked to several different mortgage brokers, it’s time to compare notes so that you can find the right one for you. It’s important to take everything into consideration – not just the broker’s experience, qualifications and track record, but also how accessible they are. Remember, you will be working with your mortgage broker for weeks, perhaps months, and you want someone who answers emails, returns phone calls and is generally there when you need them to be. If you have a particular situation, such as a low credit score or are looking for an FHA or government backed loan, it’s important that your broker is familiar with the subject.