REThink Real Estate
And bankers certainly aren't able to close transactions as quickly -- overall -- as top-notch mortgage brokers can. Because this can be the difference between getting a particular home or not, I personally choose to work with mortgage brokers.
Many of the shadier brokers have self-selected out of the business, as loans are so much harder to do these days. You can eliminate much of the rest of the shady factor by working with a mortgage broker you find by referral; get one from friends or relatives who are very, very happy with their experiences, and ideally have worked with their broker over many years.
With that said, there are a couple of circumstances when I advise people to talk to a mortgage banker rather than a broker.
First, when you are buying a new home, many homebuilders have relationships with lenders that can save you thousands and thousands of dollars off closing costs, homeowners association dues or even upgrades to the property.
In these cases, it may make sense to work with the lender, though I do recommend also talking with a mortgage broker just to make sure you're not taking a hit on the interest rate or otherwise getting a raw mortgage deal for what sounds like a good incentive.
Second, many who are refinancing find that their current mortgage lender may offer a no-fee refinance. Again, I'd encourage you to get a rate quote from a reputable mortgage broker, if you are trying for a no-fee refi with your current lender, to make sure the fees aren't simply being recouped in the form of higher interest.
Tara-Nicholle Nelson is author of "The Savvy Woman's Homebuying Handbook" and "Trillion Dollar Women: Use Your Power to Make Buying and Remodeling Decisions." Tara is also the Consumer Ambassador and Educator for real estate listings search site Trulia.com. Ask her a real estate question online or visit her website, www.rethinkrealestate.com.
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