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Follow The Three Simple Steps Below When Researching & Shopping Mortgage Lenders As Well As Loan Programs

Consult Your Favorite Search Engine…

If you don’t already have a good referral or a mortgage lender in mind, you’ll need to do some research. Fortunately, the internet makes this a lot easier than going through the phone book. Plus, you can get so much information about mortgage lenders online that the phone book becomes even more obsolete than it already is.

I personally prefer to work with a lender that is at least in the same state as I am. This is important because you can hold them personally accountable by visiting their office. This is damn near impossible and also incredibly expensive when the lender is out of state.

Another reason an in-state lender is a better option is because they will be more familiar with state specific programs. Knowing about these programs can help borrowers to get better deals and have more lending options to choose from.

The best way to find in-state mortgage lenders is to simply search using the name of your state followed by the word “mortgage lenders” or “mortgage brokers”. You can also use “mortgage companies” or “mortgage experts” but I prefer the first two.

For example, if you click on the search results image below, it will open the Google search results in a different browser tab for “best michigan mortgage lender”;

Your best bet is to pay attention to the organic Maps listings which show you where the lender is located as well as their contact info and if they have any reviews. This is a good starting point since you can see how many reviews each lender has on Google as well as their star rating.

If you notice, Michigan Mortgage Solutions is the “B” listing on the map for “best michigan mortgage lender” and we have nothing but five star reviews…not too shabby…lol!

However, Google is not the only place you should be searching for reviews and after you find a couple mortgage lenders you’d like to interview, you’ll want to move on to the next step which is to check with your states chapter of the Better Business Bureau.

Check With The Better Business Bureau…

The best way to find out how consumers feel about a business is to check with the Better Business Bureau or the BBB for short. The BBB assigns a letter grade to each business with the highest grade being an A+.

These grades are determined using several criteria which include the amount of customer complaints received and resolved. They also just started offering consumers the ability to submit reviews so this will make the BBB even better for checking out potential lenders.

For example, if you click on the Better Business Bureau search results image below, you’ll see the Michigan Mortgage Solutions Accredited Business profile and also see that we have an A+ rating;

Now that you’ve learned how to research a lender with the BBB, your next and final step is to read reviews about that lender from multiple sources around the web and pick your favorite lender to interview.

Read And Evaluate Past Client Reviews…

Now that you have one or several mortgage lenders in mind, you’ll need to do some additional research. The best way to complete this final step is to simply use Google and search using the name of mortgage company followed by the word “reviews”.

This will pull up all of the online directories that customers for this company have left reviews on. For example, if you click on the image below, it will open the Google search results for “Michigan Mortgage Solutions reviews”;

The reason this step is important is that you’ll want to make sure and read reviews from several different directories. Most directories don’t have a review filter meaning that anyone, including the business owner, could leave a positive review and it will show up. Make sure to remain a little cautious when reading unfiltered reviews as they could lead you astray.

One local directory site that has an incredibly strong review filter is Yelp. Yelp is the most reliable source of consumer reviews per Nielsen Ratings so make sure you definitely check out the lenders Yelp reviews. In fact, the Yelp review filter is so strong that only five out of our 16-5 star reviews have made it past the filter and we’re actually leading most mortgage companies in Michigan with just five 5 star reviews. You can view our Yelp reviews by clicking the image below;

Use These “Must Ask” Questions When Speaking to Potential Mortgage Lenders

Accuracy is key when shopping lenders against on another or you’ll be wasting your time. A good mortgage lender will be able to thoroughly explain all costs, where these costs come from and also the interest rate you qualify for.

At Michigan Mortgage Solutions we consider ourselves “Math Nerds” and our Good Faith Estimates are usually within a couple hundred dollars of the actual numbers at close. This allows our clients to breath easy and avoid the stereotypical pitfalls of the nightmare mortgage closing.

However, I realize that every borrower that reads this is not going to do business with us so I’ve created a list of questions to ask your lender to make sure that they are providing you with a legit quote. Since purchase and refinance transactions are a little different, I’ve separated these questions into two categories; Questions for Purchase Lenders and Questions for Refinance Lenders.

Questions For Purchase Lenders

1. Do you charge an Application Fee, a Processing Fee, or any Admin Fees? (If yes, ask if those fees are negotiable. If non-negotiable I would suggest you move on)

2. If I’m paying an origination fee will I get a lower rate? (If no, ask why you’re paying an origination fee and if they can’t explain it move on)

3. Are you going to use a true escrow formula for my escrow account and tax prorations or do you use averages? (If they use averages, tell them you want true calculations and if they can’t I would suggest you move on)

4. Where do you get my summer and winter tax information from when completing my quote? (Make sure they’re using county records NOT the MLS listing)

5. What are you using as my yearly homeowners insurance premium and where did you get that information? (If you’ve obtained a quote you should provide them with that yearly premium. If not, make note of the yearly premium they used and compare them as it could change your closing costs and monthly payment)

6. Do you include my first year of homeowners insurance as a “Prepaid Fee” or is it a fee outside the transaction? (If not included as a “Prepaid Fee” make sure to account for covering this cost out of pocket. Also make sure to count it when comparing against other lenders that included it as a “Prepaid Fee”)

7. Does the interest rate quoted provide me with any type of lender credit to help cover some of my costs?

8. How long is the lock period for the quoted rate? (You’ll want at least 30 days but 45 is preferred)

Questions For Refinance Lenders

1. Do you charge an Application Fee, a Processing Fee, or any Admin Fees? (If yes, ask if those fees are negotiable. If non-negotiable I would suggest you move on)

2. If I’m paying an origination fee will I get a lower rate? (If no, ask why you’re paying an origination fee and if they cannot explain it I would move on)

3. Are you going to use a true escrow formula for my escrow account or do you use averages? (If they use averages, tell them you want true calculations and if they can’t I would suggest you move on)

4. Where do you get my summer and winter tax information from when completing my quote? (Make sure they’re using county records or that you supply the tax bills)

5. What are you using as my yearly homeowners insurance premium and where did you get that information? (You should be able to provide your homeowners insurance declarations page with exact numbers. Make sure you do this as it could change your closing costs and monthly payment)

6. Does the interest rate quoted provide me with any type of lender credit to help cover some of my costs?

7. How long is the lock period for the quoted rate? (You’ll want at least 30 days but 45 is preferred)


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