Shopping for a mortgage can be overwhelming, but you don’t have to go into it alone.
Professionals like housing counselors and mortgage brokers are available to help you navigate the process.
Contact a HUD-approved nonprofit housing counseling agency. They might know about local and regional loan programs you haven’t heard of.
Besides being in the know, their counselors are objective. Unlike lenders, real estate agents, and mortgage brokers, they have no financial stake in what you do.
And BTW, like many other federally funded agencies, housing counseling agencies serve all consumers. Whether you have one quick question or want extensive guidance, they’re there for you, the taxpayer!
About half of all agencies advise you for free. The other half charge modest fees for some services. Look one up on the HUD.gov housing counseling page and the ConsumerFinance.gov find a housing counselor page — or learn more about them in our handy guide to housing counselors.
Another option is to look into hiring a licensed mortgage broker.
Mortgage brokers do all your mortgage legwork and paperwork. They will:
• Determine which type of loan works best for you
• Compare multiple lenders to find the lowest-cost loan you qualify for
• Manage your loan applications and negotiate the best deal
• Guide you through the process of finalizing your loan and closing on your new home
With their knowledge and experience, reputable brokers can pay for themselves, saving you both time and money. One sign of a reputable broker: They put all their fees in writing before taking you as a client. No surprises.
Broker fees are typically 1% to 2% of the loan amount. Comparison-shopping can pay off here too. If you want, you can often add the fees to your loan so you don’t have to come up with the extra cash.
For more tips to be your best self-advocate as a homebuyer, check out these posts:
- What every homebuyer should know about buying in an HOA.
- “What is Fannie Mae?” and all your other mortgage questions answered.