Mortgages 101: Should I Apply to More Than One Lender?
If you’re buying a house in 2022, it likely means you are facing the complicated process of applying for a mortgage to help pay for it. You may have heard that applying for a mortgage (or any loan, for that matter) can hurt your credit score, so you may be hesitant to apply to more than one mortgage lender.
However, it’s important to do exactly that to ensure you’re getting the best deal. The secret is to keep all the applications within a 45-day time period. The three major credit bureaus, TransUnion, Expedia and Experian, consider similar applications within that time frame as one credit inquiry. Your credit score might drop by a few points, but it shouldn’t make a dramatic difference in the interest rate you’ll qualify for.
The Consumer Finance Protection Bureau recommends applying to “at least three lenders.”
To choose your top lenders, you’ll want to consider the types of mortgage products they offer. If you are a first-time homebuyer, you might be looking into an FHA mortgage to put a smaller percentage of money down. You’ll want to find a lender that works with the Federal Housing Administration.
You’ll also want to find out about application fees, which could influence your decision of how many mortgage applications to submit. Search online and ask friends and neighbors for their recommendations of the best mortgage lenders. You want a mortgage company that will provide not just the best rates, but excellent customer service to guide you through the process.
One way to narrow down your list of lenders is to request loan estimates from several of your top prospects. A loan estimate doesn’t require any paperwork and has no fees attached. It also won’t affect your credit score.
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