How do I go about getting a mortgage loan?
April 18, 2019 7:54 PM   Subscribe

I’m looking to buy a house in Seattle and a couple of lenders are aggressively competing for my business. A quick Google search tells me they stand to make quite a bit in commission. How can I as the borrower get the best deal and lowest closing costs?
posted by Dragonness to Work & Money (8 answers total) 6 users marked this as a favorite
I asked for recommendations from three coworkers I knew who had gotten mortgages recently. Then I got bids from those three places, and made a spreadsheet and compared those bids. It was a giant PITA because they give different fees different names, and you’re comparing apples to oranges. I remember it taking a long time to make sense of it and actually figure out who was giving me the best deal, and it was very stressful. But eventually I got it figured out, and chose a lender.

Maybe make the lenders who are pursuing you aware that you’re making a spreadsheet to compare them?

I’d offer to send you my spreadsheet template, but that was almost 20 years ago, and I don’t think I saved it when we trashed that computer.
posted by MexicanYenta at 3:31 AM on April 19, 2019 [1 favorite]

As a borrower looking for a good deal, check out whether you can be a member of any local credit unions. It's not a guarantee, but they often have advantageous mortgage offerings compared to the commercial banks.
posted by mccxxiii at 5:08 AM on April 19, 2019

"Lender A, I have an offer of [your rate - 1/8 of a percent]. Can you beat that?" If no: "Well, can you match the rate and come down on closing costs?" Repeat as necessary.

Also, check with at least a couple more other lenders, if you haven't already. It should be easier at this point, because you can just let them know your current best offer and ask if they can beat it. When I was mortgage shopping, I was stunned by the large variation in rates. I took the quote I got from a the bank recommended by my real estate agent to my credit union and broker, and both seemed honestly surprised, saying that their best rates were a quarter point or more higher. It may seem like a pain, but a 1/8 percent lower rate will add up to thousands in savings over the life of the loan.
posted by Mr.Know-it-some at 6:24 AM on April 19, 2019 [1 favorite]

Awesome tips, thank you.
posted by Dragonness at 9:46 AM on April 19, 2019 [1 favorite]

If you are using a Realtor, seek that person's advice. Your Realtor probably has a good read on the best (a slippery definition, granted) mortgage brokers. Moreover, your Realtor has something at stake that other advice-givers may not ... his/her professional reputation.
posted by John Borrowman at 9:47 AM on April 19, 2019

While the recommendation to listen to the Realtor(TM) is not a bad one (it's what I did), always remember to be skeptical in areas where interests do not align. Your agent's interest is to (a) close the deal, (b) within (a), get you to spend as much money as possible. So their recommendation is going to be someone who is very good at closing, and very good at minimizing out-of-pocket and maximizing LTV approvals. But not necessarily one that will get you the best rate/lowest total cost.
posted by doomsey at 12:18 PM on April 19, 2019

We did a refi with quicken loans and it was the most painless process ever! Everything was online and they sent someone to our house when it was time for paperwork. So incredibly efficient . I wish we had used them for our original loan. The app is great. They respond quickly and are all around easy to deal with.
posted by nevertoolate at 8:12 PM on April 19, 2019

In Seattle, despite a tip toward a buyers market, it can still make or break a sale to use a mortgage lender like Caliber over a big bank like Chase/B of A or BECU. Until the market changes a bit more, the seller can be influenced by the buyer's lender choice because it can mean a faster closing vs. a big bank which might not even be available on a weekend or evenings.
posted by belau at 7:28 PM on May 27, 2019 [1 favorite]

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