When you are getting ready to buy a home, one of the toughest decisions is choosing a mortgage broker to work with. This is especially true in today's rocky mortgage market where you don't know who to trust. These are confusing times, so you need to make sure that you are working with a mortgage broker you can rely on.
There are two main types of brokers to consider:
*First, there are mortgage officers associated with specific lenders, like Bank of America or WaMu or Countrywide. They will work with you to find the best deal from their company, and if you are already a customer with them, they will want to keep you as a happy customer.
*Second, there are independent mortgage brokers and they are able to run your profile with a wide variety of lenders to find you the best deal. They are not beholden to any one lender and will want to create a lasting business relationship with you.
Both type of mortgage brokers are fine, but I recommend getting a personal referral from a friend, family member or colleague. If someone has had a successful experience with a mortgage broker, there is a better chance that you will too. (I believe that referrals are the way to go for many personal decisions, from mortgage brokers to dentists to nail salons)
It is also wise to work with someone local, as they will know about special incentives and programs offered by local governments, such as first time homebuyer programs or special rates for certain professions like teachers.
Be careful using any mortgage contact you might get from the internet. While they might offer enticing introductory rates, they could be anywhere in the country and will most likely be more interested in getting you into a mortgage rather than finding the best mortgage for you. The personal connection is not there and probably cannot rely on them.
Finally, no matter who you choose to work with, make sure to get everything in writing, especially any fees associated with the transaction, and get a complete copy of the transaction paperwork. And, if you ever need a mortgage referral in the East Bay, just let me know.
I know there are also a lot of mortgage brokers here on AR. Any other tips to add?