Up until a few years ago, there wasn’t a lot of variation between what different mortgage lenders were offering. It was kind of a nightmare, to put it mildly. Since there wasn’t a lot to consider when looking for a lender, borrowers typically compared them on interest rate alone.
And because lenders had no differentiation in services, borrowers were always in for a frustrating, paperwork-heavy application process ahead (often with poor customer service from the bank providing the loan).
Luckily, today you have more choices. With the rise of online and marketplace lenders, there’s increased competition, which fuels improvements in process, service, and cost—and means a much better experience for you.
That said, there are still a few factors to consider when on the lookout for a lender. If you want to avoid getting stuck with a not-so-great one, take the time to shop around. Here are a few questions you can ask when evaluating your options:
1. Does the lender offer competitive interest rates?
Of course, this is the first thing you’ll want to know—but it’s only something you can know once you’ve seen the rates of others.
2. Does the lender offer terms and products that suit your needs?
For example, if you know what you’d like to budget for your down payment, you’ll want a lender that offers a product that’s right for you.
3. How much of the process is online vs. on paper or in person?
Some lenders make it possible to go through the process with much less face time.
4. How quickly can the lender close once you’re in contract?
This is important, of course, because the faster you’re financed, the sooner you’ll be able to move in.
5. What type of origination, lender, and other fees are you responsible for?
Take a look at the fine print, and keep in mind that these will factor into your overall mortgage costs.
6. What other benefits does the lender offer, if any?
As mentioned above, because of increased competition among lenders, some are offering further perks to working with them that are worth seeking out.
With SoFi, for example, student loan debt isn’t a barrier to homeownership. With flexible debt-to-income limits, you may qualify for more financing than traditional lenders can offer.
Mortgage loans with SoFi also let you become a homeowner sooner, because you can put as little as 10% down on loans up to $3 million. And there are no hidden fees.
On the path to homeownership? We’re right there with you. Download the SoFi Guide to First Time Home Buying to get valuable tips on these topics and more. Our guide also demystifies modern mortgage myths around down payments, the pre-approval process, student loans, rising interest rates, and more.
SoFi Mortgages not available in all states. Products and terms may vary from those advertised on this site. See SoFi.com/eligibility-criteria#eligibility-mortgage for details.