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How to Choose a Mortgage Lender

Finding the best mortgage is not just about finding the lowest rate, but the best fit. 

Once you decide you're ready to shop for a home, the most natural questions are "Can I afford it?" and "If so, how much?" 

And sure, there are plenty of online calculators to help you get started, but none come close to giving you the depth of personalized info you need. For that, you need a trusted mortgage lender, who will become your partner on the journey toward homeownership. 

But how do you find the right lender?

There's no substitute for working with a banking partner who is willing to form a long-term relationship with you and help personalize a plan and find the products that will fit your exact needs. Here are some criteria you should look for when choosing a lender. 

Start with your bank. 

Talking with an expert at the financial institution where you already have your banking relationships should be your first step. Why? These are professionals who already know you and your finances, and may be able to help you find the type of mortgage that is right for your situation. You'll also have the benefit of more face to face interactions and personalized service versus typing your information into an online questionnaire.

Ask the right questions. 

Some of these could include:

Can I get a loan estimate? An estimate helps you compare rates, fees, benefits, etc., and shop around. 

How long will it take? Some banks process loans more quickly than others, which might impact your ability to close in a certain timeframe or hot market.

What rates can you offer? This is where you'll get a general sense of the current interest rates available. 

What fees do you charge? When you undertake a home mortgage loan, there may be expenses such as credit checks, recording fees, origination, application, or underwriting fees—it's good to ask upfront, as each lender has different fee structures. 

What mortgage discounts am I eligible for? There may be affordable lending programs out there that are a fit for you. For example, as a first-time homebuyer, you might qualify for an FHA loan.

A loan is far more than an interest rate; it's a complex transaction and one in which you need to have a good connection and rapport with your lending team. 

At Citizens Bank, we work hard to get you the best possible rates and service for your home loan. Connect with one of our mortgage experts to get started.

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