One thing I recommend when clients want to show around for loans is to pull your own score from the three top credit bureaus and copy them for the lenders. That way they don't pull until you have decided who you want to go with.
Any of the online services can pull from the big 3 credit reporting companies. You can pull once a year for yourself with no credit hit.
Going to B of A or Wells Fargo is very smart for two reasons. One, you will know that these lenders will still be in business thru out your buying process. Two, the seller and their agents will know you have the ability to close escrow as well, and could be a reason they choose your offer over another.
If you need referrals for to either bank, please feel free to ask.
Dave Tap Tapper
My name is Luke Allison and I am a retail LO with Flagstar Bank. I will tell you that you should be able to shop around your mortgage and not see your credit score take too many hits while you prequalify. However, once you get your mortgage, you will see your score drop as you acquire the new debt.
As for the gold standard of lenders, let me say that a mortgage is a mortgage and you should be able to get the relative same product from bank to bank.
However, if rate is what you are talking about, you probably would do best to go with your local credit union. I have seen rate quotes from credit unions that I have been hard pressed to compete with. If you want to deal with a national bank and you are looking for the best rate, I would suggest finding a rep for Taylor Bean and Whitaker. I am not sure if they have a retail channel or if they only work with brokerages.
As much as I would like to say that you should call me, if I am being honest I would tell you that the going market rates from TBW, Bank of America and Wells Fargo always seem to ever-so-slightly better market rate going. However, remember that the rate you get offered will always be determined by the day, how much origination your LO offers you and how much profit/rebate the LO wants to earn from your loan.
If you have any questions, please call me.
First let me say good for you having 780 credit score-that is awesome and should get you some good rates. Searching lenders should not impact your score much at all. I would get one solid pre-approval letter with a well known lender to offer with-have them pull your credit, assets etc. Then you can search rates and programs-without other lenders pulling your credit again. Just let them know what your score is and that you are comparing rates. Good luck!
In some cases, you also need to be prepared to get approved by the bank's preferred lender.....it is not requested in all cases, but I am seeing it more and more in Orange and San Diego counties.
Make sure you are working with a full-time, real estate professional who has experience with bank-owned properties....you can get a great deal, but the process is often full of challenges that need to be navigated by an experienced professional.