Absolutely not. You can go to direct lenders or mortgage brokers to secure a pre-approval. Another way to secure a lender is to select an agent. Many agents have years of experience working with lenders and the relationship has been cemented. Find an agent you trust and are comfortable with and have that agent refer you to a lender. There are a wealth of great agents in San Diego who can assist you and refer you to the right lender. It is the agent's duty to protect you in all aspects of real estate. Good Luck with your new purchase.
All lenders are not equal.
Two pieces of advice:
First, stay away from Internet-based lenders. Some are OK. Some aren't. But it's better to have some accountability, and the ability to actually deal with a living, breathing person.
Second, ask your Realtor for recommendations. Two reasons: First, it's likely your Realtor will have had actual experiences helping clients get loans, and will have a good idea of which lenders are "better" and which ones aren't. Second, frankly, it's in your Realtor's self-interest to recommend a lender who'll work hard to make sure the loan goes through.
Hope that helps.
Work with lender who can explain the process to you.
Lynn911 Dallas Realtor & Consultant, Loan Officer, Credit Repair Advisor
The Michael Group - Dallas Business Journal Top Ranked Realtors
This part of the process can be difficult for consumers to compare apples to apples. You really have to ask questions about each and every fee on their good faith estimate - all while comparing interest rates. I know people at each of these kinds of lenders and could put you in touch with them to help get you started on this part of the process. Let me know if I can help further.
I live in University Heights and would love to help you in your home search. I pride myself on my service to my clients and have outstanding reviews from my clients to show for it. Aside from being an excellent Realtor I've also worked in mortgage financing for 5 years and can help you choose the best lender when the time comes. Please let me know if I can be of assistance.
As you have read mortgage lenders are not equal! It is important to ask a few questions of your loan officer. Much more goes into a loan then an interest rate and closing costs. Of course those are important, but a loan officer should be digging deeper then a monthly payment. He should explain to you the entire process. Without a little education it makes it difficult to make the right decision. Also, make sure your loan officer has access to conventional programs with very little down. Most conventional loans require at least 20%. FHA requires as little as 3.5%. However, FHA is much more expensive in government mandated fees. PLUS, most properties in SD county and even more so in North Park do not accept FHA financing. That means if your loan officer does not have access to the little down conventional loans then you will not be able to qualify for homes that you could afford. I can explain this in more detail if you need.
On a good note, interest rates are currently extremely low! Not sure for how long, but nonetheless they are low. I do both real estate and loans. Currently, I have 3 deals in escrow where I do both the loan and the real estate. It allows for less mistakes, more efficiency and lower costs to you. I live in Hillcrest and am very familiar with North Park. Contact me with any questions, no obligations :)
Serving San Diego for the past 35 years!!!
I have been doing loans for some time now.
All are NOT created equal!
There are three primary conduits that you can use for your financing (retail, banker, and broker). I have been a Banker and Mortgage Broker. In Dec 2008 I wrote on the differences between Retail, Mortgage Banker, and Mortgage Broker here:
In the link above I commented how Mortgage Brokers reduced the number of financing sources (this was due to wholesalers requiring certain volume after all hell broke loose 8/07). While choice suffered, a benefit of this consolidation was the higher loan volumes created through reduced funding channels, which allows for volume-based pricing adjustments that can make certain brokers more competitive than a direct lender.
My suggestion WOULD NOT be a retail bank (i.e. BofA, etc.) since you will only be exposed to their mortgage rate for the loan product you desire. Also, in my own experience as a Realtor, I find the lack of transparency regarding loan status to be quite frustrating and worrisome when it comes time to remove the Buyer's contract contingencies when dealing with retail sources.
Brokers will have multiple funding channels that offer the product you are looking for, and itâ€™s the job of the Broker you choose to find who's offering the best pricing of all sources. A Brokerâ€™s job is to be a â€œprofessional money shopperâ€ on your behalf and be someone you can trust to help you decide the timing of when to lock your loan rate, which changes based on economic news.
Please review this 2-page primer on "rate shopping" before you contact a broker so you are informed about the process:
Coldwell Banker Res. Brokerage
Buyers Hotline: 888-7-2-BUY-SD
You're correct the first step is to meet with a lender and determine how much you qualify for, what the required down payment will be and how much the closing costs are. There's a difference between how much you qualify for and what is truly affordable to you so make sure you understand all of the monthly costs associated with a mortgage.
I always recommend you go to your personal bank or credit union to discuss a home loan.
Here's a direct link to search homes for sale in North Park: http://www.queststarrealty.com/NorthPark.ubr
To answer your questions all lenders are not equal. It would be advisable to obtain a preapproval from a "direct lender" which is a lender that loans their own funds. Many of the investor or bank owned sellers want to see that you are truly qualified when considering your offer and will not even consider your offer if it is from a no name mortgage company. My suggestion is stick with one of the big ones like your bank or credit union and it is always a good idea to be an educated consumer and compare rates/costs with at least a couple different lenders. Let me know if yoiu need any recommendations