Do Your Homework to Improve Your Mortgage Experience

fannie maeBanks are making it easier for consumers to obtain credit and a mortgage, and provided a checklist to prepare when shopping for a mortgage. Here are some best practices Fannie Mae suggests once you have chosen a mortgage lender:

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 National Consumer Law Center (NCLC) also recommends borrowers understand how much a broker is making from the lender, as well as from any fees a borrower might be paying. And the Center suggests borrowers get this information upfront and in writing.

Avoid a broker who appears to be double-dipping or getting a premium from the lender, as well as borrower/client fees.

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 Fannie Mae’s website or call 202-752-7000.