While either path will work for you to get pre-qualified, I think the best option is to find the right person (banker or mortgage broker) that will take the time to explain the options you have and what the best fit will be for your budget and income. Not all lenders are equal and sometimes its the luck of the draw if your going in without a recommendation. As a real estate professional I am biased. I'd start with the agent and ask them to recommend you to someone they have worked with. We do this every day...and have a greater exposure to the good, the bad, and the ugly when it comes to lenders.
If your looking for an agent- I think you should consider using www.crs.com and lookup an agent there that works in your area. These are some of the very best agents in the business.
Any comparison of apples to apples categories will reveal an increase in prices in SIC over the same time period. With the exception of one notable segment, prices are up. However, the bottom end of the market has been particularly active, skewing the data. Any guess what one segment did not move up in price and might be the best value out there right now on the island?... more