I was reading a blog on Money Magazine today about the best way to find a home loan. You can see that edition at this link (Money Magazine)
Sarah Max explained,
“When the easy money was flowing, you could get a great deal on a mortgage from just about anyone. But in today’s credit-challenged world, all the avenues for finding a mortgage come with their own set of problems.”
This is simple and a great intro to where we are at now in the industry. She went on to explain how the many banks have become very tough and tightened their standards and so forth. You see, brokers really have no direct relation with the money they loan, and that many times leads to a situation where more brokers than bankers would be willing to loan and “push” a loan that a banker or bank my turn down. Sarah makes mention of this in her message.
This is where I start to wonder, “is the helper trying to help the shopper in this case, speaking of Sarah with Money Magazine writing an article targeting the needed help of mortgage shoppers, or is she helping advertise the mortgage lead generating giants in our industry that typically support the broker and banker portions that established business by pushy sales rather than honestly earning referrals. Let me be clear though…I am not saying all bankers or brokers that purchase leads are not to be trusted, but I would place a bet on it that if you did the research you’d find there are more less qualified Loan Officers working primarily on purchasing leads rather than the Loan Officer who has made relationships through honesty and hard work. “Bonds between people keep one honest. If you don’t have a bond with someone, you have nothing to lose”…for being dishonest that is.
Now this is where Sarah crosses me a little on whether she’s helping the shopper or the major lead company. Sarah says,
“And while online lending sites hold the promise of one-stop shopping, some have developed a reputation for playing bait-and-switch on rates and not fully disclosing fees. All this adds up to a major shopping hassle. If you want to get the best rate, you’ll need to tap at least two of the sources below. Scour the Web. Shopping for a mortgage online has come a long way from the days of one-size-fits-all rate listings. At some sites, including Bankrate.com, MortgageMarvel.com, and Zillow.com, you can now shop anonymously and get accurate rates. Keep in mind that all these sites act as referral services, so eventually you’ll have to close the deal with a bank or mortgage broker.”
The aforementioned lending website companies as I may bring attention to are lead generating companies. Sarah even mentions that you will shop their rates and fees and eventually be dumped onto a banker or broker. There is very little accountability between the bankrate.com type company and the lead purchaser loan officer for the receiver of the lead to be, should I say, less than straight forward or not slippery. That being said, Sarah is suggesting to avoid the “bait and switchers” and mentions it nearly just like that, yet she suggests to her readers to check with these lead generating sites that sell their leads to entities with more probable numbers of bait and switch type loan officers. THAT is why I wonder if maybe a blog such as this is contradicting…efforts to educate and help mortgage shoppers crossed with the demand for advertising and keeping relationships with the people who probably advertise with them, creates a less than conducive atmosphere sometimes.
Here is what I suggest. Those large “engines” such as the aforementioned bankrate.com’s and so forth are large enough that they know they have to be on target when advertising and therefore will list their rates and fees pretty accurate to current competitive market costs…lending laws watch them closer than the small guys and therefore they are held more accountable many times. Now since it is obvious that today’s market isn’t forgiving to the person who prioritizes the “cheapest” loan, but first prioritizes the evaluation of trusting the loan officer with the most competitive rate, use the big “engines” to gauge what is competitive and then shop different lenders by your personal character “radar”. If you feel rushed or feel like you are being pushed at all, trust in the old adage, “if it’s a good deal, it don’t have to be committed on today”. Be sure YOU the buyer/shopper define committed right. Committed should mean to you in the mortgage industry, I’ve spent money. A lender may say, “sir, I realize you are shopping and I feel like rates will be higher tomorrow. Do you mind if I lock your loan?” As long as they don’t require upfront non-refundable money if you don’t use them, and you intend on using them if it works out, let them lock it for you.
Best of luck in your home shopping!