btw - just a note: Once you fill out an application, you don't need to request a good faith estimate. By law you have to have one within 3 business days, but I would get one asap for comparison issues.
If you run an analysis of 3 different GFE's (good faith estimates) you'll see that sometimes the lowest interest rate is not really the best deal due to garbage fees. Additionally the GFE has to quote the APR (Annual Percentage Rate) which is supposed to factor in all the fees, BUT everyone has a different method for doing this to make their program look the best.
Find an experienced agent you and let them guide you through this difficult choice. They know the market, they know the good lenders from the bad and since they won't get paid if your loan doesn't close, they will not recommend a lender who waits til just before closing to inform you that they can't do the loan.
Lynn makes an excellent point about not allowing these agencies to pull you credit score because of the potential for lowering it.
Our recommendation is to shop first...collect information on programs and rates before considering approval. Once you have found what you believe is the best rate and program for your specific needs then go for pre-approval.
Remember to request a "good faith estimate" which is documentation of the program and rates quoted by the agent.
IF YOU KNOW your credit scores speak in general terms with potential lenders, request for a GFE good faith estimate compare "apples to apples" many lenders could have hidden fees, high closing costs and etc. Appears as an awesome deal at 1st till you see bottom line perhaps other lender was less expensive.
Also,don't know if you have heard yet but congress is considering a new tax credit. It would provide a $15,000 (or 10% of purchase price) that consumers can use as a credit on their tax returns over two years. This new bill would do away with the previous $7500 credit and the big difference is that it would not have to be paid back. It was passed by the Senate Wednesday and just waiting for a vote in the House. We can keep you posted on that as well.
If you are not already working with a realtor, we would be happy to assist you. We have both lived in the Brandon area for MANY years. Feel free to visit our website for additional resources.
Debbi Tinker & Lynn Seevers
The ACE Team - Keller Williams
If you are interested in getting these recommendations, let me know by emailing me at PaulaBean@HomeOrlando.com and I'll be happy to give you their info and my hearty endorsement of 30 years working in this industry. After this long, you know who is good and who is not, but you need to have someone help you with what you are trying to do.
If you are one of those people (like me) who still want to be a control freak and research til your ears fall off, I can refer you to a million sites that will put you to sleep at night ;-) but first.....you need a real, live, honest, experienced person to help you.
Rates change 3 times a day, based on what happens in the market.
Mortgage bankers, mortgage brokers or end lenders? who charges upfront fees to get the lowest rates?
I could give you a number of sites to look at, but as I said, unless you have more expertise in the area you will not make a good decision and you need to rely on a professional for guidance. If you are going to buy a house, find a good agent who has knowledge of finance and connections to good lenders who can help you.
Trying to learn this on your own is like trying to get an MBA in a week - it is not going to happen.
Hope this helps!