How to Choose a Mortgage Lender in Portland

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Congratulations! You’ve decided to relocate to the great city of Portland, Oregon (or just moving across town, which is exciting, too). You’ve checked out the Portland neighborhoods, figured out how much home you can afford, and now you’re ready to take out a mortgage.

A mortgage is like a bridge between where you are and where you want to be – you don’t have all the money to pay for your home now, so a mortgage fills in the gap of time that it will take you to attain those funds. Portland has lots of bridges, and we have lots of options for Portland mortgage lenders, too. You could head to your old, trusted bank or credit union. Or, you could find a new financial institution willing to lend you the money. But what about all of those online mortgage lenders?

Obviously, the loan that’s right for you will be just as unique as the home you choose. There are, however, some basic guidelines to picking a Portland mortgage lender: let your real estate agent be your guide, shop around, then test the waters. Let’s look at those rules in more detail.

1. Ask your Portland real estate agent. We’re not just the people who help you find your home – a real estate agent’s job is to help home buyers from start to finish. We work with lenders every day, and we’ve built strong relationships with some of them. Ask your Portland real estate agent what kind of lender they most prefer to work with and why, and get some names of loan officers who may be able to help you.

2. Shop around. You may see offers for pre-approved mortgages. These can be helpful, but be aware that they’re not guarantees. Keep in mind that loan officers are sales people, and that taking on a mortgage is similar to buying a car or a new computer. Listen to what they have to say, but check out the claims they make.’s Mark Greene says, “Thoroughly investigate [loan]offerings for details. Advertising is shiny, so squint through the glare and find out about fees, lock-in periods, points and qualification requirements for what is being featured.

3. Test the waters. In my experience as a Portland real estate agent, customer service and communication skills differ widely between mortgage lenders. Although many Portland home buyers want to go with their established brick-and-mortar bank or credit union because they know and trust that institution, I’ve found that their customer service and mortgage rates can be subpar. I often recommend a local direct lending mortgage company which specializes in real estate loans.

To get an idea of what it will be like to work with a particular bank or lender, start by asking lots of questions by phone or email. If they don’t get back to you in a timely manner or give you insufficient information, imagine what it will be like dealing with them in an actual real estate transaction.

Picking the right mortgage lender is almost as important as picking the right home (or the right real estate agent!) I’ve had home closings fall through because lenders didn’t have all of their ducks in a row by the closing date, and the buyer lost the home they wanted – even though the buyer and seller were both ready to make the deal.

Of course, a good lender can help you save money and work hard to keep you informed through the home-buying process and beyond. If you’re ready to start your Portland mortgage search, give me a call today for my recommendations.

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