It is not always easy to find the right mortgage broker. With all of the flashy advertisements and incredible offers, new homebuyers are often overwhelmed when it comes to just finding a mortgage company. After all, the right mortgage company can make all the difference and the wrong one can really kill your home buying experience. If you are new to the process, use these tips first before you sign on with anyone.

Ask for referrals

Ask your friends, family and coworkers about which mortgage provider they used. They often can tell you their experiences and who they recommend better than any website can. Also, take a look at the Better Business Bureau and see what reviews and/or complaints are listed for a particular mortgage company. Doing your research beforehand can help save time and make sure you don’t run into any problems by choosing an unprofessional mortgage company.

Can’t I just go straight to the bank?

Yes, you can just go to your local bank (preferably one you have an account with already) and apply for a home loan, but then you could lose out on the benefits of a broker. A mortgage company or broker has relationships with more than just one bank, which means they can negotiate interest rates and increase the likelihood of you being approved. That being said, if you enjoy your current bank and want them as your lender, you can go straight to them and cut out the middleman.

Decide the type of lender you want

Are you looking for a mortgage company that will return your calls and have time to speak to you in person? Or, are you looking for a big lender that has a solid reputation? There are plenty of advantages to going with a local lender, but that also means you’ll spend more time searching for the right lender. If you don’t have time to research, then go with one of the big national names that have been around for years. If you’re unsure which type of lender is right for you, read more about the different types on Realtor.com.

Test out the company’s customer service

Call the mortgage company’s customer service line and see how they are. Do they rush you through the process or do they take time to talk to you? Are they knowledgeable? How helpful would you rate their services to be?  First impression is everything and sometimes you can get a good idea of how it will be to work with that lender just by checking out their customer service department.

Get Good Faith Estimates

A Good Faith Estimate is a mandatory form created by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development and is required by law, so if a mortgage company doesn’t offer one, do not use them. A Good Faith Estimate will include the following:

  • Purpose
  • Important dates
  • Summary of your loan
  • Summary of your settlement charges
  • Tradeoff table (compare different loans with the same lender)
  • Shopping cart (compare GFEs from different loan organizations)

To read more in detail about Good Faith Estimates, visit the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) where a form listing information about the terms and guidelines of your mortgage loan is available.