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When you’re getting ready to purchase an Orlando home, the first step (unless you have plenty of cash) is to become pre-approved for a mortgage loan.
Pre-approval gives you the confidence to make an offer, knowing that yes, you can afford that house. It also gives the home seller confidence that yes, you can close the transaction.
Some people confuse the terms pre-qualified and pre-approved. You’ll want to be pre-approved. That means that the lender has checked your credit, your income, your debts, etc. just as if you were ready to buy immediately. Pre-qualification can be done with a phone call, and it means nothing.
Of course, before you can become pre-approved, you need a mortgage lender.
The very worst ways to choose a mortgage lender:
1. Going online. We know. Some people have had success with online lenders. More have been frustrated by being “just a number,” by speaking to different representatives each time they call, and by being given false promises. Some of these lenders even use “bait and switch” tactics to get borrowers committed to them before adjusting their interest rates upward.
2. Assuming that the Orlando bank where you have accounts will serve you well as a borrower. Even if you have a personal relationship with a bank employee, this is a dangerous assumption.
While it’s true that you could be offered the best interest rates and service available, all too often, long-time bank customers are shocked by receiving the opposite. They get delays, frustration, and excessive fees. Sometimes they’re strung along for weeks, only to have their loans fail to close.
The very best way to choose a mortgage lender:
Ask your Orlando real estate agent for recommendations.
Your real estate agent is naturally just as interested in a smooth closing as you are, so he or she will not steer you wrong. Instead, your agent will provide you with 2 or 3 names of lenders who offer the best rates, the lowest fees, and the most efficient service possible.
These will be lenders who have served their clients well, and who are friendly, non-threatening, and easy to deal with. They’ll be cooperative in working with you and your agent and will be happy to provide pre-approval letters upon request.
If your current bank is on your agent’s “preferred” list, you’ll know it’s safe to use them.
Since we all do have different personalities, it can’t hurt to interview more than one lender before making a choice. The ease with which you interact will be important as the transaction progresses. In addition, different lenders have different loan programs available to them. You are entitled to a Good Faith Estimate to use in comparing offerings from competing lenders.
Are you getting ready to go shopping? Call me – I’ll be glad to share my list of preferred lenders who serve clients here in the Orlando area.