What mistakes do shoppers make?

This could be a very long list, so we've highlighted some of the more common mistakes people make when shopping for a loan:

Withholding information. Some people are hesitant to disclose their full financial picture. But the lender uses the information you give him to determine rates and points for various loans. If you leave anything out, his quote will be inaccurate, and you won't be able to make an informed decision.

Compare lenders using rates from different days. Because rates change daily due to what's going on in the market at the time, you can't accurately compare lenders if you get information on different days. Get all of your information in one day so that you have a clear understanding of what each lender offers given the same circumstances.

Comparing apples to oranges. Make sure you compare similar types of loans when you are stacking lenders up against one another. The rate on a 30-year fixed mortgage is going to be different than that of a 15-year ARM, so ask all lenders about the same type of loan.

Accepting a verbal rate lock. A lender may say your rate has been locked when it hasn't. Be sure to get it in writing. If you don't, the lender may float the rate until the day of closing, which will cost you money if rates increase.

Working with someone you haven't met. If possible, go into the lender.s office and meet face to face. This takes more time, but it shows the lender that you're serious and assertive, and gives you the opportunity to see how the lender runs his business.

Showing desperation. Lenders want your business. Use that to your advantage by asking questions and insisting on fair treatment.

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