The single biggest debt/financing/liability/interest paid over time decision most people make, is choosing the best mortgage deal available, when buying or refinancing their home. So, what is the best way to do that?
There is certainly no shortage of choices when it comes to lenders, mortgage financing products, pricing options, referrals, web based virtual interfacing, rate locking, rate quoting, closing costs estimates and on and on. Even the chemistry vibe with a lender rep, can all make for a swirling vortex of information which may be difficult to distill into a best possible decision.
Everybody has a “guy” (gender neutral term), that is the best in the business, will get you a great rate and that you absolutely have to talk to him (more gender neutrality). Your friends, your spouse’s friends, your real estate agent, your attorney, the guy at the deli, your brother, everybody has a “guy” that you need to talk to. So which one do you pick? Of all of the people in your universe who have a “guy,” whose opinion do you trust the most? Start there, remember, this person, in fact, all of these people have already been through what you are about to do, they have vetted their “guy,” and they have experience to share. There is no better place to start than here.
Of course the lure of the great interweb and all forms of virtual and electronic messaging will add lender options to be explored. Start with a big list and narrow your financing targets to a universe that you can manageably follow-up with regularly, to measure competitive consistency. Every lender will offer the lowest rates, fees and closing costs available, just ask them, they’ll swear it’s true. Average rates and high closing costs will never be part of the pitch. Rate shopping can be seductive but contrary to popular belief, it is not a surefire method to scoring the best deal on your mortgage financing. In fact, rate shopping can be fraught with peril and sounds too good to be true information, caveat emptor.
Once you have distilled your mortgage lender search to a short list of well vetted finalists, call each one and see what you can do for each other. Offer advocacy and endorsement; let it be known that you will actively refer people in your universe whenever the opportunity arises. Take the time to thank whoever referred you to the lender rep and let the rep know you did that. Leverage the relationship of the referral source that connected you in the first place. Then ask if there is any room to do better on the interest rate being offered or if any of the fees can be negotiated. You will be surprised at what can be done.
Relying on rates and fees quoted in a preliminary phone conversation with someone who may not have much vested interest in your financial well-being, may not be a strategy with sound footing.
There is a difference between analysis and over-analysis, one involves a decision, the other does not, although you may think you made a decision, if you are second guessing, you are still analyzing. Break down your top choices into a quantitative comparison, stir in the qualitative differences and close out your decision. And then be done with the deciding and get started with the mortgage approval process doing.