The majority of buyers looking for homes for sale in Westchester County are not paying cash for their new homes. Instead, they are seeking out mortgages to finance the homes of their dreams.

However, whether it is Westchester Real Estate or another region, shopping for mortgages can be tricky. There are many places you can take out a mortgage. There are large, money center banks such as J.P. Morgan Chase, Citigroup, Bank of America, Wells Fargo and a host of others. Then you have small local banks such as Hudson City, Westchester Bank and Credit unions such as Bethpage FCU. Finally, for buyers who need non-traditional financing such as bridge loans or for homes that don’t appraise, there are “hard money” lenders.

I often advise my clients when they start the process to explore more than a single avenue. I would tell a buyer to make two phones calls:

  1. To a large bank such as Wells Fargo or Bank of America.
  2. To a mortgage broker who represents a large population of smaller lenders.

In recent months, it has been my experience that “Mortgage Brokers” who represent smaller lenders have had a competitive advantage regarding rates versus some of the larger banks. Further, smaller banks generally have more flexibility when it comes to underwriting loans that are sometimes close or just short of qualifying.

Even if you have yet to find a property to buy, there are a wealth of things you do to be prepared:

  1. Review your credit report closely. Eliminate erroneous items by disputing them
  2. Pay off outstanding debt to get your FICO Score as high as possible
  3. Start requesting items you think you might need such as employment verification letters
  4. Make sure you are filing bank statements and have copies of text returns
  5. Request a Pre-Approval. This allows a mortgage bank to do a high-level review and will give both you and a seller comfort that you will qualify for the loan in which you are applying.

Overall, be smart. Explore all avenues and talk to as many mortgage professionals as you can. Become knowledgeable on the process, rates and loan types. An informed shopper is a smart shopper.

Want to get an even bigger leg up? Consider using a Real Estate Agency that offers you a Broker Commission Rebate. It can help pay for your home!