OK, here are the final five questions to ask your lender…
Can you give me an estimate of my closing fees? Every mortgage involves fees that are paid to the lender and other companies involved in the financing process. Ask for a realistic estimate of what those fees will be, based on the specific mortgage details you’re talking about. Any lender that can’t provide an estimate should be viewed with suspicion.
How much will it cost to pay out this mortgage before the term is up? Sure, you may not plan to pay out your mortgage early, but what if you need to move or refinance unexpectedly. Some mortgages with low rates have HIGH prepayment penalties which make getting out of the mortgage VERY expensive. If your plans could change, it may make sense to pay a slightly higher rate and get a more affordable prepayment penalty. Be sure to ask about the terms and conditions of any prepayment penalty. We do not charge a prepayment penalty on any fixed rate loan.
What documents will I need to provide? Every mortgage requires you to provide some documents. But the number of documents can vary. As the name suggests, “Full Doc” loans require full documentation of income, assets, debt payments, credit history, etc. “Low Doc” loans require a minimum of documentation. However, you normally have to have very good credit and a large down payment to qualify for a Low Doc loan—and they can also carry a higher interest rate. Make sure you find out all the details.
How long will it take to process this mortgage? Once your mortgage application is approved, it can take from two weeks to two months (or more!) to process and fund the loan. Because you’re going to be on a deadline (the closing date of your house), ask the lender for an accurate processing timetable. This will also help you decide whether you need to lock in your interest rate.
What are some of the things that could slow the approval process? Nobody likes surprises, especially lenders! If the information you’ve provided is complete and accurate, there should be no delays. But changes to that information can really make a difference. If during processing, your income changes, you take on a new debt, you get married or divorced, or an undisclosed credit problem comes to light, there will be delays. Make sure you know exactly what the lender needs, so you don’t accidentally leave anything out.
Use this checklist for each lending institution you contact, whether you speak over the phone or in person. It’s a good idea to do all this research on the same day since mortgage rates can fluctuate daily. Be sure to record the company name, contact name, type of mortgage quoted, interest rate, etc. along with all the answers to the questions.
And by the way, feel free to give us a try…I know all the answers!