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Choosing a loan offer

Request and review multiple Loan Estimates

Save money by shopping around

Once you’ve chosen a home, it’s time to request Loan Estimates from multiple lenders. Getting multiple Loan Estimates can help you save money and get a mortgage that best meets your needs. Homebuyers can potentially save $600 to $1,200 per year by getting mortgage offers from multiple lenders.

What to do now

Request multiple Loan Estimates

Requesting a Loan Estimate is simple, and no written documentation is required. Contact the lenders you are considering and tell them you are ready to request a Loan Estimate.

  • Lenders must give you a Loan Estimate once you’ve submitted six key pieces of information:
    • Your name
    • Your income
    • Your Social Security number
    • The address of the home you plan to purchase
    • An estimate of the home’s value
    • The loan amount
  • The more information the lender has, the more accurate your Loan Estimate will be. You do not need a signed purchase agreement to get a Loan Estimate.
  • Make sure you’ve told your lender if there is anything unusual about your situation — for example, if you are self-employed, have irregular sources of income, or are purchasing a unique type of property.
  • Once you’ve submitted the request, each lender is required to send you a Loan Estimate within three business days. Allow a few extra days for mail delivery if the lender is using postal mail. If you haven’t received a Loan Estimate within that timeframe, call the lender and ask why.

Ask each lender for the same kind of loan with the same features

You want to compare apples to apples when you get your Loan Estimates.

Share information about the property taxes and condominium or homeowners’ association dues for the home you plan to purchase

Your Loan Estimate includes an estimate of these costs. If they are escrowed, they are included in your total monthly payment. To get the most accurate estimates, share information you have about these property-related costs with your lenders. The seller or a real estate agent is usually the best source for this information.

Review your Loan Estimates carefully

Double-check the important details. Check what to look for with our interactive guide to the Loan Estimate.

  • Check if your interest rate is locked. Some lenders lock your rate as part of issuing the Loan Estimate, but some don’t. If your rate is not locked, it can change at any time. Learn what a rate lock is and how it works.
  • Check for risky features. Certain risky features are listed under Loan Terms on page 1 of the Loan Estimate. Can the loan amount, interest rate, or monthly principal and interest payment increase after closing? Does the loan have a prepayment penalty or a balloon payment? If these features are included in the loan, ask the loan officer why. Ask the lender to give you another Loan Estimate for a loan without the feature, so you can see the difference in costs for a loan with less risk to you.
  • If there are errors on your Loan Estimate, get them fixed. If your name is misspelled, or other key details are wrong, fix them now. Some errors, such as a typo in the address of the property you plan to purchase, could seem minor but are actually major errors that could affect your rate and costs.
  • For help reviewing your Loan Estimates, consider contacting a housing counselor. You can find a HUD-certified housing counselor online or by calling 1-800-569-4287.

What to know

Getting additional Loan Estimates doesn’t hurt your credit

Within a 45-day window, multiple credit checks from mortgage lenders are recorded on your credit report as a single inquiry. So, the impact on your credit is the same no matter how many lenders you consult within that timeframe. Learn what happens when a lender checks your credit.

Your loan hasn’t been approved or denied yet

When you receive a Loan Estimate, the lender has not yet approved or denied your loan. This is true even if your rate is locked. The Loan Estimate shows you the terms the lender expects to offer you. The lender is not offering you the proposed loan, and your decision to proceed does not mean you accept the loan or any of the loan terms. You have not committed to this lender. The lender can ask for certain processing fees up front after you get your Loan Estimate, but you are not committed to a lender or contractually bound to loan terms before you have signed final documents that contain all the material terms of the loan.

Loans for some types of property can cost more

Lenders can charge slightly more for loans to buy a condo, a home with more than one unit (for example, a duplex), or a manufactured home.

How to avoid pitfalls

Lenders shouldn't ask you to pay substantial upfront fees at this point

By law, the only fee that lenders are allowed to charge you before issuing a Loan Estimate is a small upfront fee to pay for pulling your credit report.

  • If a lender asks you to pay for anything other than a credit report fee to get a Loan Estimate, this is against the law. You might choose to work with another lender. You can also submit a complaint to the CFPB.
  • Lenders must wait to charge you additional fees until you choose a loan offer and tell the lender that you are ready to move forward with your application. Once you tell a lender that you are ready to proceed, the lender you choose can charge you additional fees, such as an application or appraisal fee.

Ask questions if a loan officer suggests a different type of loan or features than what you asked for

It’s possible the loan officer has found a better loan for you, but they could be trying to sell you a particular type of loan for other reasons.

  • Ask the loan officer to explain why they think the new loan is a better deal for you.
  • Ask the loan officer to give you Loan Estimates for both the original loan you asked for and the new loan they are suggesting, so you can see the differences in costs and risks.

If the explanation you receive doesn’t make sense, be wary. Consider working with one of your other lenders instead. You can also submit a complaint to the CFPB.

Never sign a form with blank spaces

When you sign a loan application, you are saying that what is on the form is true. Don’t let anyone persuade you to sign a blank form or a form with blank spaces to be filled in later.

Watch for warning signs of illegal credit discrimination

Illegal credit discrimination often happens behind closed doors, which makes it hard to spot. If you believe you have been discriminated against, you can:

Visit our sources page to learn more about the facts and numbers we reference.

The process and forms described on this page reflect mortgage regulations that apply to most mortgages.