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Wednesday, February 8th
LendingTree works as a referral service to match you with offers from up to five different home loan providers in their network. You should be aware upfront that once you've provided LendingTree with your contact information, it will be shared with many lenders - which will likely mean emails, calls, and texts that could last for months, even if you're just seeing what your mortgage rates might be. Plus, even if LendingTree matches you with the perfect loan, you'll still have to take the time to vet the lender and complete their application process. While we like the idea behind LendingTree, it's not our favorite resource for researching home loans.
Freedom Mortgage has time on its side: this lender has been around for over 30 years and has over a million customers nationwide. You can use their site to prequalify for a mortgage, learn about various loan types, and get a better understanding of the home loan process. That's about all we'd recommend you do, though: despite an "A+" from the BBB, this company has over a thousand complaints that frequently mention how Freedom has dropped the ball with paperwork, payment processing, and so on. We suggest checking out our higher-rated home loan providers instead.
Your first thought might be to visit your local bank or broker, but think again. Why? You're not likely to get the very best rates and terms there. True, you might get a promo or slightly lower interest rate for being a current customer, but will your financial institution shop around to find you the ideal loan for your situation?
More than likely, they'll fit you with whichever mortgage is convenient (or profitable) instead of working to get you a home loan with the best possible terms. With interest rates constantly fluctuating, it's never a bad time to start looking into your financing options if homeownership is your goal. Even if you're just curious to see how much you can ultimately afford when the time comes, that will help you start budgeting and saving to have enough to secure your new home when you're ready.
Some mortgage terms stipulate that the funds can't come from a last-minute gift or contribution from a well-meaning family member, so plan ahead!
The easiest way to know how much you can borrow is by shopping for a home loan online. While some lenders require you to enter your personal information to show you their rates, others post sample rates online or let you choose your credit score range and other details to preview a more personalized quote. Be mindful that there's a difference between a "soft pull" on your credit - usually used to prequalify you, and only uses your address and phone number to verify your identity - and a "hard pull" that will impact your credit history.
The latter usually happens only when you've got a home under contract and you're ready to secure a mortgage, but pay attention to the fine print when you're checking out a lender's rates. You don't want to be "just browsing" and find out that your credit score took a nosedive with an unintentional hard inquiry on your report!
With many lenders interested in your business, how can you decide which one to use for your mortgage? Here are a few factors to look at before you complete a loan application:
To help you finance the home of your dreams, TopConsumerReviews.com has evaluated and ranked today's most popular mortgage lenders. We're confident that this information will be useful on your journey to home ownership. Congratulations!
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Are mortgage rates finally on the downturn? Here’s what buyers need ...
Many homebuyers across South Florida — already stretched thin by high home prices — have been waiting eagerly for mortgage rates to fall. And it appears that relief might be on the way. In the past ...
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