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How do I find the best loan available when I'm shopping for a home mortgage loan?

Shopping around for a mortgage loan will help you get the best deal. Start with an internet search, or contact banks, credit unions, and other lenders and brokers in your area.

The internet is a good place to start your search. By doing a broad online search for mortgage rates in your area, you will get a good sense of the market. 

Next, contact banks, credit unions, or other lenders and mortgage brokers in your area. Ask each lender or broker you call for: 

  • A list of current interest rates for their available mortgage loans and whether the rates being quoted are the lowest for that day or week.
  • What fees the lender normally charges for each loan product.
  • Each loan’s annual percentage rate (APR). The APR tells you the yearly cost of the loan based on the interest rate as well as points, broker fees, and certain other charges that you may be required to pay, including certain closing costs. 
  • Whether the rates given for various products are fixed or adjustable, and what points or fees go along with different rates. Sometimes you can get a better rate if you pay “points” or additional fees. But make sure that you actually get a lower interest rate in exchange for the extra points you pay. 

There are many different types of mortgage loans available, so be sure you understand all of your options. If you are a veteran or service member, you may qualify for a VA loan. If you have concerns about your credit history or only have enough to make a smaller down payment, you may qualify for an FHA loan

With all of the options out there, it is important to shop around and take the time to understand the terms of the different loans offered to you. It’s a good idea to request loan estimates from at least three different lenders and compare them to choose the best loan for you.

Tip: Ask these questions to better understand your loan offer:

  • Is the interest rate fixed or adjustable?
  • Do I need to pay points?
  • What fees will I have to pay? Will I pay those myself or will the lender loan the fees to me?
  • What is the term of the loan?
  • How much will my payment be and will it eventually pay off my principal?
  • What other costs will be added to my monthly payment?
  • Can I repay the loan early without penalty?
  • Will the payments change over the life of the loan? How high can my payment go?
  • For an adjustable rate mortgage, are the payment adjustments and the interest rate capped?
  • How much will I need to put down?
  • Does the written offer match what I was told about the loan?