I'm Considering buying a house in North Park, I've read the first step is to seek a lender and get pre-approval. Are all lenders equal?

Asked by Stephan, North Park, San Diego, CA Tue May 11, 2010

How do I choose a lender?

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Don Tepper’s answer
Don Tepper, Agent, Burke, VA
Tue May 11, 2010

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.
1 vote
Robert Chome…, , San Diego, CA
Tue Jul 10, 2012
Try to get referrals for 3 lenders and talk to each and see who you like best. And you may want to get a quote from each lender. Ask for an "Initial Fees Worksheet". This breaks the costs out as clearly as possible. The Good Faith Estimate is a very confusing document. And remember, a quote is only good for that date. Interest rates go up and down sometimes 3 times a day. So a quote one day could be different from the next. Also, if your loan has any challenging characteristics, I highly recommend having the lender you choose submit your loan for a FULL underwriting approval BEFORE you start making offers. This can help to eliminate any 11th hour issues.
0 votes
Rene' De Bla…, , San Diego, CA
Tue Jul 10, 2012
I would strongly consider the Morley Field area of NP. As for a lender, you can't go wrong with a not-for-profit credit union. Our fees are less, and our company has an office in San Diego.
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Alex Ashcraft, Agent, San Diego, CA
Thu Jun 28, 2012
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.

Alex Ashcraft
0 votes
Dallas Texas, Agent, Dallas, TN
Tue May 11, 2010
Most Realtor won't work with a home buyer till you have been approved. Those letters provide us guidance on how to work with you as a home buyer. All sales offers are submitted with letter of approval.

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
0 votes
Kevin and Di…, Agent, Del Mar, CA
Tue May 11, 2010
Stephan: As many people here said, no. All lenders are not equal. You have direct lenders (banks, WF, Chase), mortgage bankers (Opes Advisors, Del Mar) and mortgage brokers. Depending on your situation, one of these will be best. A lot will depend on your strength as a borrower, how much you are borrowing, etc. Each of these lenders charge you a fee for their product and services. They are all competetive with their prices but not the same.

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.
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Justin Gramm, Agent, San Diego, CA
Tue May 11, 2010
Not all lenders are equal. Also, if you don't have an agent yet, look into exclusive buyer agency.
Web Reference:  http://globella.com
0 votes
Nick Ruiz, , San Diego, CA
Tue May 11, 2010
Don Tepper = Best Answer!!!
Web Reference:  http://www.SearchSDMLS.com
0 votes
Sergio Casas…, , University Heights, San Diego, CA
Tue May 11, 2010
Hi Stephan, I agree with Alisa, these days most sellers want to see a pre-approval through one of the major banks or lenders, the more reputable and well known the better. My company, like others who responded, also do loans but in the current market we've advised the buyers we represent to go through one of the big boys because its what represents their interest best, even if we can offer them a lower rate. We've specifically been sending many of our clients to Mitch Zaralegui at Bank of America because he's delivered ourstanding service and the best rates to our buyers. I'd personally vouch for him which I wouldn't do for most loan officers so if you go through him and aren't extremely pleased feel free to trash me here on Trulia :) Here's his contact info:

Mitch Zaralegui
Tel: 619.409.4415

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.
0 votes
The Salas Gr…, Agent, Solana Beach, CA
Tue May 11, 2010
Hi Stephen,

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 :)

Jesse Salas
Conventional Properties
Serving San Diego for the past 35 years!!!

I have been doing loans for some time now.
0 votes
Steven Ornel…, Agent, Fremont, CA
Tue May 11, 2010
Hi Stephan,

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 it’s the job of the Broker you choose to find who's offering the best pricing of all sources. A Broker’s job is to be a “professional money shopper” 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.
See: http://docs.steven-anthony.com/SAR-HowMortgageRatesAreDeterm…

Please review this 2-page primer on "rate shopping" before you contact a broker so you are informed about the process:

Best, Steve
0 votes
Daron Chelet…, , San Diego, CA
Tue May 11, 2010
Stephan, not all lenders or even mortgage brokers are equal. They all have their own structure and of course pay plan the agents works on so fees and charges will vary from place to place. I always suggest to my clients to get quotes from couple 2-3 places. If you need help looking over the "GFE" or need help finding some good choice lenders for quotes please send me email or give me a call. I would love to help make sure you are getting the right loan.

Daron Chelette
Coldwell Banker Res. Brokerage
Buyers Hotline: 888-7-2-BUY-SD

DRE# 01874311
Web Reference:  http://www.SellingSDnow.com
0 votes
Chris Keller, Agent, Del Mar, CA
Tue May 11, 2010

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

Good luck!

QuestStar Realty

(858) 213-9999
0 votes
Elisa Peskin, Agent, El Cajon, CA
Tue May 11, 2010
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
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Scott Godzyk, Agent, Manchester, NH
Tue May 11, 2010
Stephan all lenders are not equal. Your first step is to meet with a trusted and local mortgage broker. They can prequailify you at no cost and let youknow what programs you do quailify for. Stay away from internet lenders, you want to know who you are dealing with and have a face to put with a name. You want a local office you can stop into to ask questions and to turn in your financials when it is time to get a mortgage. You want to be shopping interest rate, closing costs and service. Even local lenders may differ in service, make sure when you are speaking to them on yoru first converstaion they are polite, helpful and listening to what your goals are. If you feel uncomfortable, move on to the next loan officer. Good luck with your search
Web Reference:  http://www.ScottSellsNH.com
0 votes
Christopher…, Agent, Methuen, MA
Tue May 11, 2010
Stephan, like other businesses, all lenders are not the same. They each have their own requirements and rates and terms. A good way to shop a wide variety of lender programs quickly is to contact mortgage brokers that represent a portfolio of lenders. I suggest that you talk with about 3 mortgage brokers to start off and ask them for their best rates and terms based on your needs and also request a pre-approval. If you ask a local buyer's agent, they could give you recommendations or you could look for mortgage brokers on sites like Trulia and bankrate.com. It is also a good idea to check for complaints for companies that you have not used before using the bbb.org website. Here is a recent Trulia blog post on this subject. Good luck with your home search!
0 votes
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