Your home loan is probably the biggest debt you will ever have in your life. Bigger than your car loan, bigger than your student loan and certainly bigger than your credit card debt. Surprisingly, though, most people don’t know that when it comes to picking a mortgage lender they have a choice.
According to a recent study, three-fourths of Americans fill out an application with one lender only.
“It’s a surprising finding, and it suggests that they’re still fairly intimidated by the mortgage transaction. Or they’re a little distracted because, at the same time, they’re picking out a house,” Richard Cordray, director of the recently created Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, told news reporters.
Rick Piette, owner of Premier Mortgage Lending, said he thinks the reason could be “because buyers are only given one choice by their real estate professional and assume they must use the lender who provided their pre-qual letter.
“Obtaining a mortgage loan can be intimidating,” Piette said. “But, in reality, it boils down to only two things: interest rates and fees.
“For example, consider two buyers, each getting a $200,000 loan. The first pays 4 percent interest, and the second pays 4.5 percent. Based on interest rate alone, the second buyer will pay over $20,000 more in monthly payments. But wait a minute. That still doesn’t take into account the difference in fees between lenders for obtaining the loan in the first place, which can add thousands of dollars to the overall price.
“The fact is, if consumers don’t shop different mortgage lenders to find the best rate and fees, no one else is going to do it for them. And that can end up costing homebuyers a lot more than it should,” Piette said.
The great news? Buyers do have a choice. However, simply knowing that isn’t enough. Buyers also need to consider this question: “How do I go about choosing the right lender?” According to Piette, the first thing to do is to learn about the process.
“Homebuyers should understand the difference between ‘the homebuying process’ and ‘the home loan process.’ As part of the homebuying process, your Realtor will direct you to their preferred lender to obtain a pre-qual letter. And while that letter will allow you to go home shopping with the knowledge that you’re more than likely qualified to obtain a mortgage loan, it does not mean you must use them as your lender, or that their rates and fees are competitive in the marketplace,” he said.
“In truth, that Realtor may not have your best interests in mind because using their preferred lender may have more financial benefit for them than for you. One reason? The lender who issued your pre-qual letter may not be able to give you the best deal on your loan. And without shopping to compare rates and costs, you could end up spending thousands of dollars more than you should.”
Premier Mortgage Lending created a mortgage shopping information website called www.KnowBeforeYouOweNevada.com. It offers short, simple explanatory videos that show you what information to compare on each lender fee sheet you receive, then how to use that information to determine where you will get the best deal for your needs.
“But just like with any other purchase, if you don’t compare the price with at least one other item (think of the last time you bought a computer), how will you know which is the best deal? At Premier, we advise homebuyers to visit at least two mortgage lenders,” Piette said. “After all, how can you do an apples-to-apples comparison if you only have one apple?
For additional information, call 702-485-6600 or apply online at www.premiermortgagelending.com. To discover facts on how much a mortgage loan should cost, visit www.KnowBeforeYouOweNevada.com.
Premier Mortgage Lending, NMLS No. 393282, is at 701 N. Green Valley Parkway, No. 125 Henderson. The full-service lender is a member of the Las Vegas and Boulder City chambers of commerce, Better Business Bureau and Southern Nevada Home Builders Association and an affiliate member of the Greater Las Vegas Association of Realtors.