When you're looking for a mortgage, whether it's a first time loan or you're taking advantage of an opportunity to refinance an existing mortgage, it may seem that you're wading through a quagmire of uncharted territory. If you're prepared ahead of time, you'll avoid some of the common pitfalls and know how to find the best deal for your situation.
Remember that you are the consumer and that you are shopping for a service. That means that you have the right to be treated as a customer. Ask questions and keep asking until you get all the answers you are looking for. If a potential lender is reluctant to spend the time addressing your concerns, you don't have to do business with that particular company. In today's market with the opportunities to shop for a mortgage online, finding a lender is the least of your worries.
Look for the best interest rates, but also search for a lender who offers the mortgage without the high closing costs. There are likely to be some requirements for closing the loan. You may be asked to pay for an appraisal, home inspection and even a survey if property is involved in the transaction. Those are fairly standard but be wary of a company that charges a large additional fee for closing costs though you can expect a moderate fee. A lender is a business and as such, is in business to make money. That means that you as the consumer should expect to pay for the service, but comparing fees and interest rates will help you find the best possible deal on your mortgage.
Finally, be aware of unbelievable claims. A company that promises you'll be approved for a loan regardless of credit is probably making promises that they can't keep. If you're asked to pay an application fee with this guarantee, you could be wasting your money. In some cases, the lender will approve the loan, but will make unreasonable requirements for repayment or down payment. If you then can't meet the terms, the company will have fulfilled their promise - they did offer you the loan. Your application fee is typically non-refundable and you've simply lost that money.
Mark Lambie is the founder of The Loan House a website that allows consumers to quickly and easily get mortgage quotes and mortgage information.