Tip #1: Always Shop For Home Mortgage Rates
Don't blindly accept a Realtor or Builder referral to apply for a Home Mortgage through their preferred lender. Many times they will say, "We work closely with this guy and he gets the job done". Translation: "We play golf together and he buys the beer". Remember, the Realtor won't be paying the bill each month for the next 30 years, you will.
Mortgage Loan Officers that work off of a referral network of Realtors and Builders don't have to have competitive Home Mortgage Rates because they have a steady stream of "Drones" (people who are referred to them and don't shop) calling them. Shop around, get the lowest cost Home Mortgage Rate, then if you are inclined, approach the "preferred" Loan Officer you were referred to and ask him to match the quote.
If you apply for a Home Mortgage through a preferred lender without shopping, you will pay hundreds or even thousands of dollars in additional costs.
Tip #2: Call For Home Mortgage Quotes After 11:00 a.m. Eastern Time
Mortgage Rates change each day and sometimes midday. The previous day's rates typically expire by 8:30 a.m. the next morning. Generally, Home Mortgage Rates are published each day by 11:00 a.m. Eastern time. This varies from lender to lender. To make sure you are getting Home Mortgage Rates from the current day and not a mixture of rates from the previous day from some lenders and the current rates from other lenders, always do your rate shopping after 11:00 a.m. Eastern time.
Sometimes Home Mortgage Rates change midday due to a volatile bond market. When this happens, some Home Mortgage Lenders will adjust the Discount Points for their rates in accordance with the new bond prices and publish new Home Mortgage Rates for that day. Other Lenders may continue to honor their morning rates.
Tip#3: Always Tell The Mortgage Loan Officer You Are Prepared To Apply For A Loan NOW
If you are buying a home, tell the Home Mortgage Loan Officer you are Rate shopping and you have a "ratified contract" to purchase a house. Tell him you intend to make a decision and Lock-In a rate on that day, but you have to check a few other lenders. If he asks you how his rates compare to the others, tell him he's the first person you've called. If you are refinancing, tell the Home Mortgage Loan Officer you are ready to apply for a Refinance Home Mortgage today. If you don't tell him that, he may provide a fake Home Mortgage Rate quote.
Loan Officers know you will probably talk to another lender with lower Home Mortgage Rates and the only way he can be sure for you to call him back is to give you a fake quote that appears to be the lowest. He's expecting you will rate shop for several days and figures you will call him back in a day or two because he provided a low, bogus rate quote. Also, since Home Mortgage Rates change daily and are subject to change at any time, he's not concerned about giving you a fake quote.
How will you compare quotes if you don't know which quotes are real and which are part of a bait and switch plan? The only way to ensure getting real quotes is to box in the Home Mortgage Loan Officers by making them think you are ready to Lock-In a Home Mortgage Rate immediately.
Tip#4: Ask For The Total Points And The Total Fees
When you call a Mortgage Lender, ask for the "Total Points" (Discount Points, Loan Origination Fee, Broker Points) for each Home Mortgage Rate. Some lenders will only quote the Discount Points and deliberately leave out the Loan Origination Fee. You won't find out about the 1.00 Point Loan Origination Fee until you apply for the Home Mortgage. By that time, the Loan Officer figures you will just accept it because he's got your application and pulled your credit report. In addition, Mortgage Brokers often neglect to mention their Broker Fee.
Some lenders do not charge a Loan Origination Fee.
When you are quoted the Total Points, specifically ask them if there is an additional Loan Origination Fee or Broker Fee being charged. You truly have to nail this down when you talk to a Home Mortgage Loan Officer.
Also, ask for a list of ALL other fees that will appear on the Good Faith Estimate that you will be paying to the Lender or Broker. Make sure they include their Credit Report and Appraisal Fees. Some lenders charge one lump sum fee and that includes the Credit Report and Appraisal Fees while other lenders will itemize each fee. Keep it simple and ask for all fees, including the cost of the credit report and appraisal fees.
Don't get confused by Title Company, Attorney Fees or Escrows. A lender will estimate these on your Good Faith Estimate, but these charges are not related to costs associated with a Mortgage Rate quote. The amount required for your escrow account will not change from lender to lender and Title Company and Attorney Fees are not being charged by the lender. Don't include them in your comparison.
Tip#5: Always Confirm The Rate Lock Period When Asking For A Rate Quote
If you are buying a home and you need 60 days to close, make sure you specifically request Mortgage Rate quotes with a 60 Day Lock period. Some Home Mortgage Loan Officers will quote rates with 15 Day or 30 Day Lock periods because the Discount Points for shorter lock periods are less than rate locks for longer periods. Quoting a Home Mortgage Rate with a 15 Day lock period obviously gives that Loan Officer an unfair edge. It is also a waste of your time because the quote isn't real if you can't settle on your loan within 15 days. Always specify a 60 Day Lock-In if you are buying a home. Ask for 45 Days if you are refinancing, but you may be able to get it done within 30 days if you are very diligent and call your Home Mortgage Loan Officer twice a week for a status of your application.
If your rate lock expires, the lender will re-lock you at the higher of either the original rate or the current rate when you decide to re-lock. That's a LOSE/LOSE situation for you. Never let your rate lock expire.