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What to Ask Your Mortgage Lender

To ensure that your home-buying experience is a positive one, you'll want to make sure to ask your lender these questions before applying.

  1. What is my interest rate? When filling out mortgage applications, you want to make sure you know exactly what your loan's interest rate will be. Your interest rate will determine your monthly payments and your total interest expense over time. The loan's APR is probably the best basis for comparison among mortgages.
  2. Will my interest rate ever change? This question is especially important if you complete mortgage applications for more than one type of mortgage. With fixed-rate mortgages, your interest rate will remain the same for the life of the loan. Adjustable-rate mortgages, on the other hand, have interest rates that vary with market conditions. If your interest rate will change, make sure you know when and how often it will do so.
  3. Do you charge points? You might fill out mortgage applications with lenders that allow you to "buy down" your interest rate with discount points. One point is usually equal to one percent of the principal. You may also be charged origination points, which are a type of fee charged for processing mortgage applications.
  4. What are my closing costs? By law, lenders are required to provide you with a good faith estimate of closing costs within three days of receiving your mortgage applications. Make sure you review the estimate and understand what each charge means. You should also take closing costs into consideration when comparing mortgages.
  5. Is my interest rate locked in? Because mortgage applications can take 30-60 days to process, you want to be sure that your interest rate doesn't rise during this time. Ask your lender to lock in your initial interest rate to protect against any increases during the application process.
  6. What documents do you require? As you complete mortgage applications, you will find that different lenders require different types of documentation. Find out what documents your lender requires and have them ready.
  7. Can I pay my mortgage off early? Some loans will allow you to pay the mortgage off early, but there is usually a penalty. Find out what your prepayment privileges are.
Learn everything you need to know about how our mortgage applications work. Here are the answers to the most commonly asked questions about mortgage applications.