It makes sense to shop around when choosing the right lender. Even if you have been pre-approved by one lender you are not obligated to choose that lender.

You’ve decided that it’s finally time to buy a home. You’re excited about the prospect and you can’t wait to start the search process with a real estate agent. One of the biggest decisions that you should make is your selection of a financial institution to handle your mortgage.

Although it is important to begin your search by having a lender prepare a pre-approval letter, that by all means does not indicate that you need to use that particular lender. The choice goes beyond the rate being offered.

A buyer needs to consider all the other variables involved since not all loans are equal. A lender who has the lowest rate could very well have the highest processing fees. That lender might also require a higher down payment or will require points. A point is 1% of the purchase price. This amount is above and beyond the down payment that is required.

As a rule of thumb, a buyer should consult with three different lenders in order to determine the best deal. Keep in mind that a home mortgage is a retail product, no different than any other purchase one might make. Buyers should specifically inform each prospective lender that they are shopping for the best deal and will make their decision only after carefully reviewing each mortgage offer. Thrown into the mix is choosing the type of loan. Conventional? FHA? VA? USDA? There are many variables and it is important to consider each type that is available in order to pick the one that will save the buyer the most amount of money in the long run.

Get excited about your home purchase but keep a businesslike attitude about your loan purchase. Your agent can help you make a good decision about an offer on a home but your agent is not your financial counselor.