Attorney Kate Cavanaugh-Forte
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How to find the best mortgage lender when buying a home


Finding the best mortgage for you will save a lot of stress.

Referral, referral, referral. Ask your financial adviser, you accountant, your attorney or your realtor to give you a short list of lender referrals.  All of these people deal with mortgage lenders regularly and know which are good and which are bad.  I deal with mortgage brokers, loan originators, loan officers, you name it. I know which ones work hard for you and which ones make you work hard.

Compare apples to apples. When you get quotes from different lenders make sure you are looking beyond the interest rate. Compare the rate and all the fees, including points, origination fees, application fees and any other fees charged by the lender.

Ask to see the Good Faith Estimate, the GFE. You can now get the same GFE from every lender you request an estimate from. Lenders are required to give you a GFE if you supply them with 6 pieces of information-your name, social security, monthly income, value of property you are purchasing, address of the property and the loan amount.  

The GFE will show you all the fees, closing costs and the interest rate. Get GFE’s from at least 2-3 lenders so you can make a side by side comparison.  

Not all lenders are the same.

Make sure the lender offers the program that is best for you. Not all lenders offer 1st time homebuyer,  FHA, or VA loans. Lenders also have different down payment requirements, loan-to-value ratios and credit requirements.  

Get a free credit report before you start. Before you start interviewing lenders, know what your lender will see when they pull your report. Check out your credit score so you can tell lender your score when asking for mortgage quotes. The better the score, the better the loan terms.

Decide whether you want to pay more upfront to get a lower interest rate? A lower interest rate may cost you more money up-front but will be worth it if you are in your house for 20 years. If you have a job that requires you to move around or you can fix your credit and refinance in a few years, then go for lower up-front costs.

Find out what the lender will need from you to make an application. Your mortgage quote is just that-a quote-it is not an application for a loan. Mortgage applications require a lot of documentation, wage earning proof, tax returns, job verification, etc. Ask your lender what their process is and be prepared –start getting the documentation together as soon as possible.


Once you’ve gotten your 2-3 quotes, you’ve decided on a lower rate or lower up-front costs, you’ve chosen the mortgage program that works for you, now you can look at the GFE’s and make your decision.

I would be happy to help you with that process.


About the Author Kate Forte

Kate's a practicing Attorney for over 20 years. She is a pet rescuer and a strong supporter of pets Rights. Kate expertise is Real Estate, Probate, Estate Planning, Personal Injury, and Business contracts. Kate is happy to discuss any legal or pet matter you may have and if she cannot help; she is more than happy to point you in the right direction. Kate Forte 17 Good Hill Rd Woodbury Ct 06798 Office 203-598-8847 Fax 203-841-1116

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