How Many Mortgage Quotes Should I Get?

August 9, 2011

new low rate

Mortgage Q&A: “How many mortgage quotes should I get?”

When it comes to getting the best deal on your mortgage, you can never shop too much.

Just like any other product you may comparison shop for, the more time you put in, the better deal you’ll probably receive.

Sure, it’s a pain in the you know what, but you’re not shopping for a plasma TV. This is your mortgage, most likely one of the largest financial decisions you’ll make in your life.

Today's Rates

So not spending a considerable amount of time shopping for one would be very ill advised.  Don’t be one of the many individuals who obtains just one mortgage quote!

Look At Mortgage Rates Online

  • There’s no specific number
  • But the more mortgage quotes the better
  • A study from Freddie Mac found that even two quotes can save you thousands
  • And 5+ can save you even more

These days, we’ve got the luxury of using the Internet to comparison shop.

Back when, you had to scour the phonebook and make phone call after phone call to check on prices and availability. I remember doing this to buy a pair of high-tops when I was around 10-years old. I spent a considerable amount of time trying to track down a pair at the lowest price.

Nowadays, a simple click of the mouse will allow you do most of that tedious work, though you’ll still have to vet the broker or lender after the fact to make sure the quote is legit and they’re a reliable source.

I recommend checking as many channels as possible to see where mortgage rates are currently pricing.

You can check out today’s mortgage rates from a variety of online lenders, as well as looking up averages from the MBA, Freddie Mac, and Bankrate, and also Zillow. Watch them for a few weeks to get a good idea as to how they move and why.

Once you have a better idea of what most banks and mortgage lenders are charging, you’ll need to decide on a loan program as well.

Do you want the standard 30-year fixed, or are you a little more daring and thinking an adjustable-rate mortgage could suit you better?

[30-year fixed vs. ARM]

Knowing which product you’re after will make your search a lot easier, though you can still narrow it down to a couple products and rate shop accordingly.

Calls Banks, Mortgage Brokers, Credit Unions, You Name It

  • There are plenty of options to gather mortgage quotes
  • Including local banks and credit unions
  • Mortgage brokers
  • And a slew of online lenders that make it quick and easy

So you know what most banks and lenders are charging for a variety of loan programs. Great! Now it’s time to get real mortgage rate quotes.

You may be in for a surprise, as those rates you see are often either best case scenario or simply advertising rates aimed at drawing you in.

For example, the rates you see on TV or online may be for a borrower with an 800 credit score and a 40% down payment on an owner-occupied single-family residence. Oh, and a couple mortgage points must be paid at closing too.

Of course, your loan scenario may not be so “vanilla,” so the mortgage rate your quoted could shock you somewhat. Fret not though; this is why you’re shopping.

[Why are mortgage rates different?]

Start with your local bank or credit union. They know the most about you, so they’ll be able to give you a pre-approval letter pretty easily to determine how much you can afford and at what rate.

Typically, they offer discounts to existing customers who agree to things like automatic billpay, knowing you’re good for that mortgage payment every month because of the money you’ve got in their bank.

But don’t stop there. Find a mortgage broker or two (I recommend three) and get rate quotes from them as well. See how they stack up against your bank/credit union and go from there.

Negotiate, Negotiate, Negotiate

  • The beauty of multiple mortgage quotes
  • Is the ability to negotiate your rate and fees
  • Without another quote to compare it to
  • You won’t have much of an argument

The beauty of receiving multiple rate quotes is that you can negotiate. With just one, there’s not much you can do aside from asking/pleading for a lower rate. Well, you can lie too.

But if you’ve got multiple companies vying for your precious business, you can pit them against each other until one comes out on top by offering the lowest rate with the best terms.

You’ll also grow more confident as you discuss rates and fees with multiple lenders, learning the lingo as you go. This should aid in negotiating more effectively.

Just be sure to look at all the details when comparing offers, including all costs (lender and third-party fees), the interest rate, and the APR.

[Mortgage rate vs. APR]

It’s not always easy to get an apples-to-apples comparison, so you may actually have to do some math.

I know, it’s annoying, but as mentioned earlier, this is a huge financial decision, so a little homework can go a long way. You might actually get your money’s worth.

Read more: Are mortgage rates negotiable?


2 Comments

  1. ryan May 30, 2014 at 3:58 pm -

    It’s easy to get multiple quotes nowadays so if you don’t you’re just being lazy and deserve a high interest rate.

  2. Mike August 9, 2011 at 2:09 pm -

    I Like this info but the average person also has to shop for someone who knows how to close in a timely manor otherwise rates may not matter.

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