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Know the Difference When You Shop Online For a Mortgage

Posted: October 11, 2010 at 10:09 pm 10,833 views No Comment

With the increasing popularity of online shopping, more consumers are searching the internet for the next home loan. Lower prices, helpful education, and convenience are the leading factors for someone to start the online mortgage search. In fact, a study by Bankrate.com showed that the 30 year fixed rate offered online is a half point (0.50%) lower in interest rate than the same program offered online. In addition, the survey found that online approvals were faster and provided more convenience as borrowers applied for their loan at their leisure.

If you are ready to jump online, it is important to understand the different ways you can shop for a loan. Most people start their shopping experience by using their favorite search engine (i.e. Google, Yahoo) or web portal (i.e. MSN, AOL) and entering “mortgage” as the keyword.

For example, using Yahoo! for the search will provide you with several different types of mortgage shopping choices.

1. REFERRAL SOURCE: LowerMyBills.com is a leading online referral source for various financial products including mortgage loans. While it is not entirely clear when you visit their site, they will collect your information and forward it to four competing lenders, similar to Lending Tree. Once you provide your information, each lender will contact you to verify your information and will possibly collect additional information to provide you with a mortgage rate quote.

2. INTEREST RATE AGGREGRATOR: Bank Rate (NASDAQ: RATE) is a consumer site that collects daily rate information from banks, lenders, and mortgage brokers. Through their online rate search, you can view numerous mortgage companies by state and their quoted interest rate by product and interest rate sorted by any criteria. If you are interested in getting more information from a particular company that is listed, Bank Rate provides their phone number and a link to the company’s website.

3. DIRECT LENDER WEBSITE: E-Loan launched in 1997 and today is one of the leading online lenders lending in all 50 states. Regional direct lenders offer many of the same programs and online conveniences in a smaller lending area. In addition, large lenders such as Countrywide offer their products and services via the internet.

4. LOCAL MORTGAGE BROKERS: Local mortgage brokers working with the local real estate experts often market themselves through search engines, mortgage directories, and email marketing campaigns.

With all of these choices, I would recommend using a combination of search tools to find a direct internet mortgage lender that lends in the state where your property is located. Whether you use an interest rate aggregator like Bankrate.com or a search engine like Yahoo! or Google, it is important to research at your state level. Once you have limited the online possibilities to state-based lenders, visit each lender’s website to further reduce the number of possibilities.

The next step is up to you! Most websites will provide online pricing for standard programs allowing you to comparison shop quickly. Whether you call or email, I would recommend a quick question or two with each lender to gauge their responsiveness, service levels, and general ability to make you feel comfortable with their company. Once you make your decision, sit back and relax knowing that you saved money and time by taking control of your online mortgage shopping experience.
By Chuck Aikens (Blog), Greenwood Capital, VP Internet Lending Visit Greenwood Capital for specific analysis of available interest rates, discount points, and fee packages, you can visit our website at GreenwoodLoans.com. Or select “Interest Rates” on the top navigation toolbar to view our current interest rates which are updated daily. Request a custom Rate and Free Quote to have a Mortgage Loan Consultant provide a ‘lock-able’ interest rate with associated lender fees and closing costs for your review via email.

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