I found this article written for the "average" consumer.
Buying a new home or refinancing the mortgage on an existing home is a big step. You can take some of the stress out of getting a mortgage by choosing the right mortgage lender for your specific situation. While who has the best interest rate is certainly a consideration, there are many other factors to look at when you choose a mortgage broker. If you have friends that have recently bought a home or refinanced, ask them if they were happy with their mortgage lender, and for a recommendation. If you're selling your home, your real estate agent may have a recommendation for a lender they have worked with before. Chances are, you'll get several recommendations. Check them all out before you make a decision.
What to Look For
First, look for a Certified Mortgage Broker, as certified by the National Association of Mortgage Brokers. These brokers are trained and certified in every aspect of lending, and should be able to give you the best service, while helping you find the best credit source for your particular mortgage needs. Phone your prospective lenders and ask them about their terms, fees, interest rates, points, escrow terms/closing requirements, loan servicing, and any other credit information you need to know. If they can't or won't answer these questions, you need to move on to the next prospective lender on your list. Watch for hidden costs, and check out the company's history and reputation on the Internet, or in the library.
Some Warning Signs
Watch out for lenders who won't quote you a specific interest rate (at least ball park), or who are vague about their service and costs. Look for lenders who give you a feeling of trust, and ask for a list of satisfied customers. Check out the company online, and ask your friends and neighbors about the company and its reputation. Be wary of lenders who solicit you through email, and will not quote actual rates, or insist you are already "pre-qualified" for a loan.
It's not that difficult to choose a mortgage lender, but you do have to be informed and know what you are looking for in a lender. Be wary of offers that sound "too good to be true," they probably are.
Cyle Greenwell, President
Max Enterprises, Inc