When you are applying for a mortgage, do not do anything strange with your credit. Any activity can lower your credit score. Do not buy new things, or run credit excessively. The best way to compare programs is to get a copy of your report, you can do this from one lender, or even for free through the credit bureaus....then use this report to shop with. Lenders can use your scores and other information to compare against the guidelines for different loans and rates.
I would caution you against just going to direct lenders. They are big institutions which will put you into a system and are often taking a very long time to fund/close. Mortgage brokers have access to the direct lender programs as well as all the other lenders out there....they can keep tabs on the progression of your loan and change direction if you run into a hiccup.
I do have a lender that I work with and love....if you need a referral, just shoot me an email and I can give you her name and phone number.
Instead of calling every single bank out there, give my lender a call, she's been a mortgage lender for 30yrs and can shop ALL of the banks & their Wholesale NOT Retail rates and together you can see which bank will loan you the most for the lowest possible rate.
When you call BofA or Wells Fargo direct, you get their retail rates.
I can also help you find a great deal in Irvine once you have your perfect loan.
Lender is: Arlene Spellman with Stratis Financial, you can email her at ASpellman@StratisFinancial.com or call her at 562-552-1191
I recommend that you get prequalified by Bank of America....
Bank of America holds most US mortgages (they absorbed Countrywide)...with a B of A pre-approval you just might find yourself on the inside track.
For the best B of A Mortgage Pro in OC visit: http://www.ocbankownedexperts.com
and click on financing options.
Any questions? Let me know.
Century 21 Award
Orange County CA