1. Which Type of Loan is Best for Me?
Reputable lenders will find out more about you before throwing out loan options. You wouldn't expect a doctor to suggest surgery before she assessed your medical situation, would you? Choose a lender who gathers enough information from you before she suggests a certain type of loan. Don't be afraid to ask a lender to explain the pros and cons about:
2. What is the Interest Rate & Annual Percentage Rate
The annual percentage rate (APR) is derived by a complex calculation that includes the interest rate and all the other related lender fees divided by the loan's term. However, bear in mind that:
If your interest rate is adjustable, ask about its:
3. What are the Discount Points and Origination Fees?
Each "point" is equal to 1 percent of the loan amount. Therefore, 2 points on a $100,000 loan cost $2,000.
4. What Are All the Costs?
All the costs of a loan include not only fees that go into the lender's pocket but also related third-party vendor fees such as:
An estimate of these fees constitutes the Good Faith Estimate or GFE, which the lender is required by federal law to give to you.
5. Will the Lender Guarantee the GFE?
According to the Real Estate Settlement and Procedures Act (RESPA), lenders have three days after you've applied for a loan to give you the Good Faith Estimate, containing all the costs of your loan. Points to consider:
6. Do You Offer Loan Rate Locks?
Interest rates fluctuate and change daily. If you have reason to believe that interest rates are moving up, you might want to lock your loan. Lenders typically charge zero to one point to lock a loan rate and points. Ask your lender:
The alternative is to pay the prevailing rate and points on the day your loan funds.
7. Is There a Prepayment Penalty?
In some states, prepayment penalties are no longer allowed, so ask. Typically, prepayment penalties let the lender collect an additional six months of "unearned interest" if you pay the loan off early through a refinance of sale of the property. Be sure to ask:
8. Are You Equipped to Approve Loans In-House?
Underwriters review loans and issue conditions before approving or rejecting a loan.
9. How Much Time Do You Need to Fund?
Average loan processing time periods fall between 21 and 45 days. To properly write a purchase contract, you will need to include a closing date, and that date should be coordinated with your lender. Find out:
10. Do You Guarantee On-Time Closings?
A big issue is closing your transaction on time. Your purchase contract will contain a date to close escrow, but that date is generally subject to the lender's ability to close on time. If the lender cannot close on time, that could mean extra costs or problems for the buyer such as: