How to Choose a Lender

hot to choose a lender



So, you’re ready to find your dream home – congratulations! Now comes the not-so-fun part: navigating the world of mortgages. How do you choose a mortgage lender? 

With so many lenders vying for your business, it can feel like diving into a labyrinth of interest rates, terms, and fees. But fear not! With a little guidance, you can navigate this maze with confidence and find the perfect mortgage lender to finance your slice of homeownership heaven.



Know Your Needs 

Before shopping for lenders, take some time to assess your financial situation and goals. Are you a first-time buyer looking for a low-down payment option? Are you planning to stay in your home long-term or just for a few years? Understanding your needs and priorities will help you narrow down your options and find a lender that can meet your specific requirements.



Check Their Reputation 

A lender’s reputation speaks volumes about their reliability and customer service. Look for lenders with positive reviews and ratings. You can also ask friends, family, and real estate professionals for recommendations. A lender with a solid reputation is more likely to provide a smooth and transparent lending experience.



Consider Customer Service

Buying a home is one of the biggest financial transactions you’ll ever make, so choosing a lender who will be responsive and supportive throughout the process is important. Pay attention to how promptly they return your calls and emails and whether they take the time to answer your questions thoroughly. A lender who values clear communication and customer satisfaction can make all the difference in a stress-free home-buying experience.



Evaluate Loan Options

Different lenders offer different types of loans, each with its own terms and requirements. Take the time to explore your options and find the loan program that best fits your needs. Whether you’re interested in a traditional fixed-rate mortgage, an adjustable-rate mortgage, or a government-backed loan like FHA or VA, make sure the lender you choose has experience with the type of loan you’re seeking. 



Compare Rates and Fees

While interest rates are crucial in choosing a lender, they’re not the only thing to consider. Be sure to compare closing costs, origination fees, and other charges associated with each loan offer. A lender may offer a lower interest rate but tack on higher fees, so it’s important to look at the big picture and evaluate the overall cost of borrowing.

You should do this BEFORE making an offer on the house or within your inspection period. By the time you’ve completed your inspection period, you should know what lender you’re working with. 


choosing a mortgage lender



Get Pre-Approved

Before you start house hunting in earnest, it’s a good idea to get pre-approved for a mortgage. This process involves submitting a loan application and providing documentation of your income, assets, and debts. A pre-approval letter not only gives you a clear idea of how much you can borrow, but it also shows sellers that you’re a serious buyer. Many sellers won’t even consider offers from buyers who haven’t been pre-approved. We don’t want anyone wasting their time looking at houses with which they aren’t comfortable with the monthly payment! 



Trust Your Gut

Last but not least, trust your instincts. If something doesn’t feel right about a loan officer,  don’t be afraid to walk away. Your mortgage lender will play a significant role in your home-buying journey, so choosing someone you feel comfortable working with and who has your best interests at heart is important.



Some Pro Tips

  • If you plan on using a VA loan, USAA and Navy Federal are not your only options. Local lenders are also well-versed in VA loans and offer competitive financing options. 
  • If you’ve gotten a pre-approval from an online lender who hasn’t looked at any of your documentation, that isn’t worth the paper it’s written on! Make sure you’re having an in-depth conversation about your finances. 
  • Local lenders are typically more educated on New Orleans’ taxes and insurance amounts. We have found many out-of-town lenders are vastly underquoting these numbers. It will come as a sticker shock later when you find the monthly note is much higher than anticipated. 
  • Please tell your lender what you’re comfortable spending monthly! You could be pre-approved for a lot more money than you would like to spend, so it’s important to talk about what you want to spend monthly. 



Choosing the right mortgage lender is a critical step in the home-buying process. So take your time and research; before you know it, you’ll settle into your new sweet home. And don’t fret – we always have a great local lender recommendation for you!



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