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Profile picture for dg8375

Need advice on how to best research mortgage rates

We are 1st time home buyers. Can anyone recommend best way to do reserach to find best mortgage rate? What do we need to ask potential lenders? Is it impossible to get under 5% now? Last week Astoria Federal had rates at 4.875%, now at 5.625% . Should we pay a mortgage broker to find best rate? Is it worth the $ and how much should that cost? Should we be cautious about going with lenders that are not big bank names like Chase, HSBC, Citibank, etc..Also- any special loans to look into to see if we qualify?
  • May 28 2009 - Astoria
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Answers (12)

May be to late but http://www.ffiec.gov/ratespread/newcalc.aspx 
link shows the average rate for freddie mac for fixed rates and if your rate is close to this it is fair.

  • October 06 2009
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Not that this will matter after 4 months, but I advise dg8375 not to contact anyone that is using someone else's identity ( re agent ) and claims to be a loan specialist. One who has not been checked out by Zillow, and who has never quoted 1 loan on Zillow.   

  • October 05 2009
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better yet..Rich check out the SE thread and see that he pretends to be his wife offering his services.


Vincent...Anyone today can provide 4.75%.  What is behind your guarantee.  Reminds me of a saying by old Tom Callahan.

  • October 05 2009
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It is possible, to spend thousands of dollars worth of time, shopping mortgage rates, and end up saving hundreds of dollars, on the costs of your loan. If you talk to more than 5 sources, you are probably getting a marginal return, on your time.

Today's discussions should revolve around best rate, for least out of pocket. If you have cash, keep it. You may not even want to waste your time talking to non FHA lenders. There's at least a 60% chance that will be your optimal product. All my humble opinion.

Next statement is fact.

The best, and simplist way to get multiple quotes, is to go to the ZMM page and request quotes. They will be quick and numerous, but will require some clarifying and verifying.
  • May 28 2009
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Profile picture for Chris Corica
When doing research on rates it is important to look at the whole picture to make sure you are comparing apples to apples. Two lenders may have similar rates but one may be charging additional points or fee's to give you the same deal. When it comes to rates there are no magic lenders out there and we pretty much all drink from the same well. I would say it is more important to go with the mortgage professional you feel most comfortable with then just the person who tells you the lowest rate. I also want to address your question about "paying a mortgage broker to find the best rate." It doesn't necessarily cost you any more or any less to use a broker. A broker may call their fee a broker fee, a banker may call their fee an origination fee. Same fee, different name. You should be able to get pre-approved or ask any questions you like with no upfront cost or obligation. If someone tries to charge you upfront, I personally would go elsewhere. Regarding your last question about big bank or small bank. This is just a matter of where you send your payment and receive customer service. If you are concerned with a smaller bank going out of business, I can assure you someone else would pick up the servicing of the loan and the only immediate change you would notice would be where you mail the check each month. Hope this helps! 
  • May 28 2009
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Brad,
Smaller brokers do not have access to lower rates they have access to the exact same rates, they may or may not be able to work on a thinner margin.
  • May 28 2009
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Smaller brokers usually have access to better rates than the big guys, who have more overhead. Under 5% was very possible for a long time, but as of Weds 5/27, rates went way up unexpectedly. Hopefully they will eventually come back down.
  • May 28 2009
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If I needed a loan in NY he is one of the Lo's I would call.
  • May 28 2009
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dg, call and talk to this lender:

http://www.zillow.com/profile/Chris-Corica/

You may very well end your search with him.
  • May 28 2009
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Don't shop for a rate shop for a loan officer.  If you find a good loan officer you will get the best avaialable rate at the time you decide to lock.  Shopping any other way will add a ton of stress to an already stressfull process.

Banker/broker we are all getting the money from the exact same sources.  Be careful of working with someone that is working on too thin a margin.  They may have lower over head, but they also have fewer folks behind them to make sure loans close smoothly. Broker, Banker, big lender, small lender all can provide you great service and deliver the best avaialable rate as long as you choose the right loan officer.  Rule out anyone that tells you one is always better than the other....that's spin that is being used to steer you to one channel over another.
  • May 28 2009
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Profile picture for Nate
You should definitely spend the time to shop around to find different rates.  Mortgage brokers can typically shop across a number of different lending sources for you, but it is still good to shop multiple mortgage brokers and banks.  Saving a quarter of a point on a mortgage can save you a lot of money in interest over the years.  You can use Zillow Mortgage Marketplace to anonymously shop mortgages from thousands of lenders, including banks and brokers.  The process is free and you can check each lenders ratings, user reviews, and profile before you decide who/if you want to contact them.  Even if you find a mortgage guy you like, I would recommend double checking the rates on Zillow before you buy.

One thing to remember is that rates change all the time.  So if you are doing comparison shopping, you want to get quotes from all of the lenders at the same time.  If you ask for rates from lenders on different days, the variation in rates may be due to market rate fluctuations as opposed to lender differences.  Check here to see the latest up to the minute rates.  Today (5/28/09) you can see that the rates jumped (due to a spike in government treasury prices).  If you were going door to door asking lenders for rates and you went to one bank yesterday and another bank today, the bank you talked to yesterday would look much better even though their rate today may be worse.   So, I would watch national rates and when they are low, submit a custom Zillow loan request and get quotes with the latest rates in seconds.  You can always come back and resubmit your loan request to get fresh quotes in seconds.
  • May 28 2009
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Everyone has access to the same rates for the most part.  Its all about who has the lowest margin.  (who's making the most profit)  Just ask the broker what their margin is and shop that way.  Sometimes you will spend more money up front working with a big bank rather than a broker.  Brokers usually don't charge for an application, credit report, or rate lock fee.  Brokers are typically faster than the big banks right now by at least 30-60 days as well.
  • May 28 2009
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