Online shopping for mortgages
The expansion of mortgage lenders onto the Internet is a home
buyer's dream. No more visits to banks or mortgage brokers, no more long-winded
phone calls -- you can save hours by shopping for a mortgage online first before
selecting your lender.
Even before you consider individual mortgage lenders, you can
easily use online mortgage calculators to determine how
much house you can afford, what your monthly
payments will be, and interest rates nationwide at Bankrate's daily update
You'll find a wealth of information on mortgage programs available
online. Many mortgage brokers, banks and credit unions have detailed information
and even loan applications on their Web sites.
Where to start
Should you apply for a loan online? Not immediately. Use lender Web sites in
the same way you might use a magazine advertisement or billboard, as a place
to start your relationship. If a lender or broker insists you fill out an application
or charges you a fee to provide further information, move on; legitimate lenders
want your loan business, not your lunch money.
Once you've identified a lender you like, e-mail them to request
more information or ask the mortgage specialist to call you. Then, if you want
to move ahead, download the mortgage application, print it, fill it out and send
it by mail or deliver it in person. That way you won't have to worry about your
financial information ending up in the wrong hands due to lax Internet or e-mail
The Internet is a great place to mortgage shop, but don't make
the final commitment online. You will want to talk with the lender or broker,
get all of your questions answered and establish a relationship of confidence
and trust before placing your finances in their hands.
Here are a few Web sites to get you started:
-- Posted: April 6, 2004