- Posted by: steve
- Category: mortgage news, mortgage rates
It’s never a good idea to blindly choose a lender when buying a home. Here are the trusted few we recommend.
It’s your worst nightmare. You buy a house after someone says they can recommend a “great” lender. But weeks later, you’re chatting up a stranger at a party or sitting next to them on an airplane. Turns out, they also just bought a home.
You’re about the same age and work similar enough jobs. But you find out that they got a far better deal on their mortgage. This means they also got a better house and a better price. How did this happen?
That is every homebuyer’s worst fear. With so much money on the table, you want to make sure you’re getting the best deal that’s mathematically possible. You want to be the person that makes other people jealous because you got such a good deal.
Finding out who people recommend is the first step, but not the only one. Let’s take a look at how to find the best lenders and mortgage rates in West Palm Beach Area.
Reputation: Who Do Your Friends Recommend
Clearly, this is the first thing most people thing to do. Start by reaching out to your own network of friends, family, and coworkers.
You’re going to ask around. You’re going to ask who people have used, and who they like. Obviously, you’re probably going to disqualify all of the realtors in the bad stories. But you also need to know what to look for in the good stories.
Even when you’re hearing a glowing review about somebody, listen to the words that this person is using. Are the things that they are raving about important to you?
If they’re talking about how laid back and friendly their lender is, ask yourself if that is something you even care about. Do you want somebody who’s going to be a little bit more professional? Maybe. It’s personal preference.
Don’t throw out a lukewarm review. “They were fine” may not seem like a ringing endorsement, but it’s good enough to follow up on. Maybe they got the job done, but maybe there was a personality clash between them and your friend.
Maybe they’ll get along much better with you.
Do Your Homework Online. Who do Reviewers Recommend?
Like anything, you’re clearly going to Google it. But what should you really be looking for?
Of course, you’re gonna look at online reviews first. And you should. That’s what they’re there for. In fact, 88% of consumers say they trust online reviews as much as personal recommendations.
Next, take a look at their website and their blog. Try to find some testimonials from previous customers. If they don’t have any, what does that mean? Are they too modest to ask for them? Or are they not blowing away their customers enough to warrant a testimonial.
Again, pay attention to the words in these reviews, and make sure they match up with what you want.
Now take a look at their blog. Mortgage rates and the world of real estate should be enough to keep any lender’s blog pretty active. They should have a lot to say and lots to recommend. So their blog should be reasonably active and up-to-date.
If you read the blog and it’s terribly written, that’s not a great sign. That could mean they’re not really knowledgeable enough about this space to write intelligently about it.
Now let’s see what else we can find. Definitely go beyond the first page of Google.That’s where you’ll find little tidbits like their participation in the local charity events. That’s a good sign.
It’s also a good sign if local newspapers or trade publications quote them in stories about real estate. That means they’re trusted and respected. And of course, you don’t want their name or their firm making headlines in news stories for any of the wrong reasons.
Put a Lot of Stock in First Impressions
They don’t need to wow you in your first meeting, but it would be nice. They definitely need to answer all of your questions and convince you that you’re working with a qualified professional.
The first red flag you need to watch out for is any sort of vagueness. They should be able to tell you exactly how they’re going to help you. And exactly how they’ve helped other people, just like you. If they can’t be specific, we recommend you walk away.
They may not want to go into great detail because they feel like they have to keep their trade secrets. But, this isn’t a time to hide. Your money is more important than their secrets. So don’t work with anybody who won’t tell you how they’re going to work.
And when they’re prescribing a solution or plan for you, do they seem to have tunnel vision on one product or service. They should be pitching you a number of solutions. Not getting one in their head and refusing to let go of it.
Maybe you’re looking to:
- FHA Purchase
- FHA Refinance
- VA Purchase
- VA Refinance
- Reverse Mortgage
Also, pay attention to what they spend the most time talking about. Do they focus on talking about your needs or their qualifications? Do they recommend something before you’re done talking?
Their resume and track record are important and they should be able to put your mind at ease if you ask. But their focus should always be on you, and how they can better serve you.
So they should be asking you a lot of questions to find out exactly what you need and how they can help you get it. They need to know everything about you before they try to sell or recommend anything.
Should You Work with a Big Name Company?
Should you work with a big name firm, or a smaller/ local firm?
Some people think you’re out of your mind if you’re using a small operation. Other people demand the individual attention and don’t want to be just another invoice number for a big corporation. They pride themselves on always giving their business to local people.
But if you’re going to buy some tools from a smaller mom-and-pop hardware store instead of Walmart, you’re going to pay a little bit more money. Is that the case when you don’t work with a big name lender?
Not at all. We recommend exploring all your options.
But many of us like to shop at Walmart and buy a Sony TV because we know these names. We immediately transfer our trust of that brand name and logo to whatever we’re about to buy. And the same can be true when you add a big name logo to a lender’s business card.
Mark Greene wrote a great piece for Forbes.com, where he explores the issue of transferring your trust in a company to an individual who works for that company.
“Credentials are not a prerequisite for assessing expertise or even competence when consumers shop for a mortgage lender,” wrote Greene.
“Name recognition is a big deal. Transferring the credibility and credentials of the institution to the individual gives consumers a sense of comfort and security that eases the requisite leap of faith when choosing a mortgage lender.”
Can I Trust an Online Quote?
A lot of people will just fill out a bunch of online forms and simply base their decision on who gives them the best online quote. We don’t recommend this approach.
Is this the best way to choose your lender? Not really, but it’s certainly one of the most popular. According to Marketwatch, “Released in late 2015, Fannie Mae’s National Housing Survey found that 70% of recent home buyers would like to obtain a mortgage quote online — and nearly as many (69%) would like to fill out a mortgage application online.
“Handling the mortgage process online was even more of a priority for recent home buyers who had graduated from college, had a higher income or were younger.”
These online quote generators are great. You trust the science and the formula it was built on and assume it’s going to give you the mathematically best possible option. But it’s not that simple.
These tools seem great, but they don’t tell you the whole story. You may have spent your lunch hour using similar tools to get a quote on your car insurance. And you probably soon found that the lowest rate seemed to swell when you followed up and called the people on the phone.
Why? Because personal finance is, of course, numbers based. But there are too many factors involved to put your faith in a landing page. In the world of lending, these tools are a great place to start.
But you may find out (like you would with insurance) that the lowest quote is too good to be true.
Ready to Speak to Someone?
Maybe we’re a good fit to find you the best mortgage, and maybe we’re not. But we would love to talk about it.
You can reach us any time by clicking here to ask us anything.