How to Select a Mortgage Lender


You’re buying a new home! Your home search may have taken you from vibrant main streets to quiet cul-de-sacs and leafy country lanes. You may have looked at dozens of handsome ranches and stately Colonials, vintage Victorians and trendy townhouses. And finally, you’ve found that perfect place to call home. But don’t celebrate just yet because the search isn’t over. Now it’s time to figure out how to select a mortgage lender. Specifically, you need to know how to pick a mortgage lender that offers more than just an attractive interest rate so that buying a home is as easy and stress-free as possible.


You already know you need a home loan, but where should you look for the best mortgage lenders when the choices are seemingly endless? Here are some tips for savvy consumers interested in selecting a mortgage lender that understands you and your unique needs.


Starting Your Mortgage Lender Research


  • Go online and compare interest rates, but be aware that the stated rate on a mortgage lender’s website is only a starting point. If your credit score is low, you’ll pay a higher rate for your mortgage loan. On the other hand, there are numerous ways to get a discounted rate – from paying points to changing your payment frequency. Fortunately, at UCU, you’ll get the Lowest Loan Rates in the Nation Guarantee2 so you don’t have to look any further. You can rest assured that you are getting a great deal on your mortgage.
  • Seek recommendations from friends or relatives who have been through the process, or from professionals such as financial advisors, attorneys or real estate agents.


Understand What Differentiates Mortgage Lenders


  • After narrowing the field, contact loan officers at select institutions to get a sense of the personal attention you’ll receive. The loan officers at University Credit Union take time to listen to your specific needs and goals while forming a meaningful relationship with you.
  • Go beyond the interest rates and get a detailed breakdown of mortgage closing costs. Fees paid for home appraisals, title searches, legal services and interest rate reductions (known as “discount points”) can total thousands of dollars. UCU and other lending institutions provide good-faith estimate documents allowing consumers to compare these costs. Plus, there are often promotional offers from UCU that our mortgage lenders will share so you can know all the options to save money on your loan.
  • Timeliness is another factor. Most lenders will lock in the interest rate that’s in effect at the beginning of the application process. Find out how long the rate lock-in period lasts. If you have a deadline for moving, you’ll also want to know how quickly the mortgage lender will decide on your application and then set a closing date.


Get the Details


  • Loan officers have a wide range of training and experience. The loan officers at UCU can expertly analyze your financial situation and offer appropriate mortgage options that fit your lifestyle and budget. Would a 15-year* mortgage better suit you than a standard 30-year* loan? Might you qualify for government programs that offer lower rates to veterans or favorable terms to first-time homebuyers? We’ll help you figure out everything.


Considering an Online Mortgage Lender?


  • The internet has exploded with companies touting great rates and lightning-fast closings. But we’ve found that these generally are not looking out for your best interests. They are not dedicated to the University Community like UCU has been for more than 68 years. You want a name you can trust and one understands your home-buying needs.
  • How do you find the best online mortgage lender? Read online reviews, check Better Business Bureau ratings and go beyond the media ads to confirm interest rates and closing costs. Some consumers get weeks into the application process before learning they don’t actually qualify for the specially advertised rate. At UCU, we work with your best interest in mind. We have no conflicts and give you the best value possible upfront.
  • Experts say that online lenders tend to be more forgiving to those with subpar credit scores. But communication with these lenders can be a challenge. There’s no specific loan officer assigned to handle your application and inquiries are likely to be fielded by someone in an impersonal “call center.” In contrast, the UCU staff is professional and will generally call you back within an hour or so. You’ll get answers to your questions and our follow up is quick because we want to help expedite your home loan process.


Knowing how to choose a mortgage lender can take a little work, but it’s definitely worth taking the time to investigate all the options. After all, you’re not just trying to get a good mortgage, you’re taking a necessary step toward making a life into your dream home.


If you’re interested in diving deeper into the mortgage options at University Credit Union, check out our low mortgage rates. Contact us to learn how a home loan with UCU can reward you with an extra 1.00% APY on your Checking Account balance up to $25,000.1

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