Taking out a mortgage can be a time-consuming, confusing, and even emotional process. For that reason, we encourage you to look beyond getting the best mortgage rates when choosing your lender. The top mortgage lenders will not only give you a competitive rate, but make the process as seamless as possible.
Here are a few tips that can help you find the best mortgage companies.
Tip #1: Do your homework online
Harness the power of the Internet to give you a wider perspective than you can gain from family and friends. You can find reviews of the best home loan lenders with just a few clicks. As with all online reviews, remember to consider trends. A few very bad (or very good) reviews may be an anomaly, while dozens of good or bad reviews probably get you closer to the truth.
A particularly good place to look is J.D. Power and Associates’ annual mortgage lender customer-satisfaction survey. The 2014 survey, based on the experiences of thousands of real customers, found Quicken Loans had the most satisfied customers, followed by Bank of America, Chase, U.S. Bank, and USAA. Criteria included how satisfied customers were with application and approval; whether the closing process was relatively quick; and whether the lending agent was reliable and easy to understand.
Tip #2: Ask friends and family
Local lenders may not have as many online reviews, so asking around can be crucial in helping you find the best mortgage companies in your area. Conduct a quick survey of your family and friends, especially if they’ve recently purchased or refinanced a home. Ask whether they felt they understood the lending process, whether their agent was prompt and courteous, and whether they feel they got the best rate they could.
Of course, it may so happen that your real-estate agent steers you to a reputable company. Happily, this was the case with my most recent home purchase. My husband and I researched the lender our agent recommended and found nothing but good reviews. We’ve been satisfied customers ever since closing.
Tip #3: Take note of how you’re initially treated
If you call a lender for information and don’t receive it quickly, consider that a red flag. Similarly, any lender who is unwilling or unable to clearly answer your questions — or acts like it’s a pain to do so — will probably be less than pleasant to deal with further down the line. Several of our calls to prospective lenders went unreturned, and we crossed those companies off our list immediately. Your mortgage might be the biggest financial transaction of your life, and you should feel comfortable with your lender.