There are lots of factors that go into Harris County Appraisel Districts (HCAD) determination of property taxes (individual property, location, neighborhood conditions, etc). I always recommend that a home owner dispute their property taxes on an annual basis. It doesn't cost anything to do so, and in many cases it can save you money. There are even companies that will dispute your property taxes on your behalf, and you only are charged if they succeed in lowering your taxes.... more
Most lenders are pretty similar as far as lending criteria and rates. I would definetely get good faith estimates from several lenders to compare there origination fees.
I have found that often smaller lenders are easier to do business with as everyone (underwriting, closing, origination) are in the same building or area. Instead of dealing with a big bank where you might be overnighting documents to California for processing. It also seems like the bigger the bank the more redundancy you experience as the right hand doesn't always talk to the left hand and sometimes you end up sending paperwork in multiple times to different people....That's just my opinion of course.