LOOK FOR THE EAGLE!!! Do you look for the Eagle when you search for a mortgage lender? You ask, "Why should I?"
Every mortgage lender approved by the U.S. Department Of Housing and Urban Development is required to display this EAGLE in a publicly visible spot. Along with it, you will generally find other evidence of that lenders authority to originate mortgage loans.
Let's do an acrostic of the word E-A-G-L-E
E is for EVIDENCE that this lender has been investigated & is monitored by HUD, and is subject to severe sanctions if found to be in violation of Federal Lending laws.
A is for APPROVED to originate FHA loans, which were created to make buying a home more affordable, and qualifying more attainable to a larger portion of the population, and with a minimum amount of money.
G is for GOVERNMENT backing--"the full faith and credit of the U.S. Government" stands behind your loan, and that encourages lenders to be more willing to make that loan. Additionally, lenders approved to do FHA loans are generally more likely to offer other Government backed loans such as the VA Guaranty loan for Veterans, the USDA Rural Housing loan, and 1st time homebuyer loans provided through your State Housing Authority (THDA in Tennessee). These lenders are more apt to be approved by organizations that administer down-payment assistance programs like HOPE and ADDI.
L is for LICENSED to do business in your State--being in Compliance with all regulatory agencies. These lenders pay serious attention to the most minute details of the law. They make a major investment in abiding by the law.
E is for the EYE of THE EAGLE--These lenders spend serious money on annual audits, record keeping, and maintaining your file. They know that a HUD investigator, the FBI, IRS, or other Federal Agency can walk in their door at anytime and ask to see their files.
Beyond Compliance, Licenses, and Audits, these lenders must follow Federal laws regarding Equal Housing, Equal Credit, Fair Credit, and the Real Estate Settlement Proceedures Act of 1974 (RESPA) which requires full disclosure of all costs related to the loan funding & closing. You will be provided a Good Faith Estimate of Settlement Costs, and a Truth-in-Lending disclosure as prescribed by law. These laws have recently been "beefed up."
Finally, that EAGLE assures you that should you suffer loss of income due to circumstance beyond your control, or other community devastations (Tornados, Hurricanes, Earthquakes, and other Natural Disasters) there are Federal programs available to assist you. These programs are made available, but it is not guaranteed that you will qualify. They are not intended to get someone who is reckless & irresponsible out of a legal obligation; but it is far more than is offered on most conventional loans.
Talk to a lender who is proud to show you their EAGLE. Now, I am a REALTOR®, but for more than 25 years, I was an FHA/VA mortgage loan officer. I've seen people devastated by life's disasters avoid loosing their home, and even secure new FHA loans because I worked for a lender that honored the EAGLE and knew the rules. Find such a lender.