Get a mortgage from a national bank or a local lender?

mortgage lender

Shopping for a home in Portland? Then you’re probably shopping for a home loan, too.

Keeping in mind that this is a Portland real estate blog, not a mortgage blog, we have some general advice. That is, shop around, never underestimate the importance of good customer service, and know the difference between using a credit union, big national bank (or online bank), and a local mortgage lender.

When it comes to the nuts and bolts of your mortgage, the number of options out there is mind-boggling. You may have already received offers or advertising from multiple lenders offering low interest rates or points. Which brings us to piece of advice #1… keep looking!

When it comes to loaning you money, national banks and credit unions have the advantage of being convenient, with multiple branches and people you’re familiar with. Plus, your bank already has your money so transferring funds is easier. However, the customer service at big banks and even local credit unions can be slow, either because they’re too big to care (national or online banks) or because they’re so small (credit unions) they don’t have adequate staff! The last thing you want at your home closing is a snafu because the lender didn’t provide the necessary paperwork. In my experience and in the experience of my co-workers, if a deal does not close on time – 99 times out of 100 it is because the home buyer is using a big national bank or a credit union to secure their loan and that bank or credit union is behind (sometimes by weeks). This can create havoc with the buyer’s moving plans and the sellers moving out plans, ultimately can cost the home buyer a lot of money in negotiations to keep their home purchase contract from terminating, and in moving / planning costs. To top it all off, these national banks and credit unions may not necessarily have the best rates.

As a top Portland real estate agent, I usually recommend that my clients look for a direct, local lending mortgage company to finance their Portland home. Please feel free to contact us for our immediate recommendations. They typically can offer more loan options than the banks, and they typically provide the best rates and service.

When you talk to any lender about a mortgage, be sure to ask for a breakdown of the total costs for closing on your new home. It should include all third party fees, the appraisal fee, cost of obtaining a credit report, title insurance, any any other costs that will be either due up front or wrapped into the loan amount. You can use this to easily compare lenders and find the best deal.

Although you’ll want to shop around for the best rate, shop around for the best loan officer for your mortgage, too. They should be someone you enjoy working with, because you’ll need to be comfortable asking them questions on the fly. They need to be experts in their field, because they’ll be the one in charge of getting the paperwork done in time for your home to close!

Great loan officers are hiding out at both big banks and small direct lenders, and it takes experience and first-hand knowledge to know who is worth their salt. That’s where the expertise of your real estate agent comes in handy. Just ask and I’ll be happy to recommend lenders that I’ve worked with in Portland for years, where the loan officers put customer service first – just like my buyers’ team does!

December 21, 2015

Stephen FitzMaurice

Stephen FitzMaurice, Realtor is a top 5% real estate agent in the U.S. A Principal Broker in Oregon, Managing Broker in Washington, he has been licensed since 2003 for residential real estate sales. Call his team in Oregon at 503-714-1111 or in Washington at 360-345-3833.

4% max to sell a home in Portland and SW Washington.
4.25% max to sell a home in Salem and Bend.
Over 2,000 homes sold.