Do Your Homework to Improve Your Mortgage Experience
By John Voket
I previously covered a report on which banks are making it easier for consumers to obtain credit and a mortgage, and provided a checklist to prepare when shopping for a mortgage.
So we'll conclude this little series of columns with some of the best practices Fannie Mae suggests once you have chosen a mortgage lender.
The agency suggests these tips to improve relations with lenders:
Get recommendations: Ask friends and family members for suggestions, especially if they've recently obtained a loan.
Check credentials: Mortgage bankers are regulated by either your state's department of banking or division of real estate. Check with the one appropriate to your state to see if a lender is in good professional standing. Mortgage brokers may be state regulated or not. If not, check with the local chapter of the National Association of Mortgage Brokers or the Better Business Bureau to see if their record is clean.
Do your homework: Learn about typical mortgages and ask questions when something looks amiss; a broker may be trying to pad closing costs or other fees at your expense.
Take care online: There are plenty of attractive deals online, but first make sure you're dealing with a reliable broker or lender.
The Real Estate Settlement Procedures Act (RESPA) requires lenders to give borrowers information on all closing costs and escrow account practices. Any business relationships between the lender and closing service providers or other parties to the transaction must also be disclosed.
Consumers are reminded that many fees are negotiable. For more information on home buying and mortgages, visit www.fanniemae.com or call 202-752-7000.