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While a mortgage lender will always argue that they need to be hired first, starting with a Realtor you trust can be a great move! They make it their business to know who does good business. A Realtor’s connections and recommendations will be properly vetted as reliable, friendly professionals and most importantly - get the job done.
There are plenty of skeptics out there who feel like using referred business lends way to some dubious profiteering. I’m glad to assure you that the Real Estate Procedures Act (RESPA), a piece of legislation designed to protect homebuyers, strictly prohibits kickbacks for referring mortgage lenders.
Realtors more than anything want your deal to go through and have a successful sale with happy customers, which is why they make recommendations based on their client’s needs. They’re familiar with lenders’ products and what might be a most successful path for their clients whether they are first-time buyers, renovators, investors, etc. Their recommendations are based on who they’ve worked with and who has the follow-through to make the deal happen.
Believe it or not, the rate isn’t the most important quality of a lender. Typically, many larger lenders remain competitive by offering similar rates, anyway. A Realtor doesn’t know rates, they know service and they’ve already weeded through the non-closers. Taking a .05% lower rate won’t mean anything if the lender fumbles at closing. So if you’ve already found a Realtor you trust, their recommendations for mortgage lenders are likely to be trustworthy professionals, too.
No matter who you hire first— a Realtor or a Mortgage Professional— getting pre-qualified (or at the very least, pre-approved) before home shopping is MUST!