September 2009 Vol. 4 No.9
• Mortgage Broker vs. Mortgage Lender: Does it Really Make a Difference? • Debbie's Summer Media Spots • September's Home Value Improver • About Us

Mortgage Broker vs. Mortgage Lender: Does it Really Make a Difference?

You thought finding the right real estate agent and the right home was difficult. Ha! Now you must secure the right funding, which means you have to start using terms such as interest rates, down payments, and amortization scales.

Who will help lead you through this maze? Should you go with the mortgage lender that the real estate agency conveniently told you about that night that you frantically put together the offer on the home of your dreams? Or do you look around for a mortgage broker referred to you by a trusted friend, co-worker, or family member? And, what the heck is the difference?

If you were standing around at a mortgage brokers' convention, you would probably find all sorts of arcane differences. Let me break it down for you in a couple of simple ways.

  1. Mortgage brokers work with all different banks and mortgage companies.

  2. Here is one definition of a mortgage broker:
    A mortgage company that originates loans, then places those loans with a variety of other lending institutions with whom they usually have pre- established relationships.

  3. Mortgage lenders are the direct source. For instance, if you walked into your local branch and got a loan, you would be using a mortgage lender.

  4. Here is one definition of a mortgage lender:
    The institution making the loan or the individual representing the firm. For example, loan officers are often referred to as "lenders."

If you think that explains the difference without the merits of one over the other, you are not alone. Lots of people are confused. The advantages of both depend on many things including:

  • Are you looking for typical financing such as a 30- year, fixed rate loan, or for something more creative, such as one that starts with lower payments that increase in amount over time?

  • Is your credit stellar or is it in the cellar?

  • Is the home you are buying going to be your primary residence or are you buying it as investment?

  • Do you need to close in a hurry or is time on your side?

Mortgage brokers are the "middle men" of the mortgage industry and can help you find the mortgage that best fits your needs. Generally speaking, if you have any sort of special need, a mortgage broker is for you. They also do the legwork for you and can advise you on your best options. In some cases, they may make more money based on selling customers a loan with a higher interest rate.

However, if your needs are straightforward and you have a sophisticated understanding of the mortgage process, you may benefit from going directly to the source: the lender. You really need to understand the whole picture if you choose this option. For instance, since rates change daily, you may not be able to accurately compare option A with option B. One may look better than the other, but you need to read the fine print. Understand exactly what you are being offered.

As I have said before, shop for your mortgage with someone you trust. You don't choose a doctor from the yellow pages or the Internet. You choose someone with whom you feel comfortable and who comes recommended. Do the same with your mortgage.

Debbie's Summer Media Spots
Deb onNECN 8-25-09

Debbie Siegel recently was interviewed by Peter Howe of New England Cable News about the July reports that home sales - and prices - are going up. Here is an excerpt from Debbie's interview:

"It's not about 'cash for clunkers' anymore. It's all about cash for cottages, condos, and single-family homes ... What I'm also seeing is historically low interest rates, the prices have dropped and people who were waiting on the sideline are now coming out - - who have cash, who have the steady job -- are buying.''

See what else Debbie had to say!

Debbie was also interviewed last month by Scottie McCall of Money Matters Radio. She offered insights for first-time home buyers, owners seeking to refinance and owners at risk for foreclosure.

September's Home Value Improver

What Should Your House Wear?

After the all-important location, we know that some of the key things that sell homes include fancy bathrooms with modern faucets, grand master suites, and kitchens loaded with shiny stainless appliances and rich-looking granite. While location speaks for itself, getting potential buyers inside to see the shiny interiors can be tricky. For this reason, there is an entire industry devoted to creating "curb appeal." You've probably heard about the merits of brightly- colored doors, pretty plants, and inviting walkway.

But don't forget the obvious: what the well-dressed house should "wear." What covers the outside of your home is as vitally important to its look. It is also important to your budget, as different types of siding require different amounts of investment and work. Let's look at the pros and cons of some of your options.

Wood Clapboard Siding
Even with all the high-tech composites out there, wood clapboard siding remains the most popular for finer homes, especially here in New England. It has to be painted every five or so years and it can get eaten by termites, but with a life expectancy of more than a century (or two), it outlasts most of its competitors.

Covering a house in cement seems like a prudent thing to do, and it is. Stucco that is done with the right materials, or "real" stucco, can last forever and requires very little maintenance. However, imitation stucco can have lots of problems and end up being costly and looking lousy.

Vinyl Siding
With the promise of no maintenance and energy savings, it was a popular option in the 1980s and 1990s. However, time showed that vinyl siding was not all it was cracked up to be. It can get cracked, scuffed, and dingy looking. Moisture can get trapped underneath the siding, and more recently, experts have looked at it under the lens of environmentalism and declared that it is not very "green."

Engineered Wood Siding
The latest in siding is the "engineered wood." It is made of a wood composite that is supposed to require significantly less maintenance than regular wood. While it looks better than some other sidings, it doesn't quite look like wood.

You may be wondering why I, as a mortgage broker, would even raise the question of whether to use a mortgage lender or a mortgage broker for your loan. The truth is that for some people, a reputable mortgage lender is an appropriate choice.

My approach to mortgages has always been that there is a unique solution and a unique program for each buyer. Buyers benefit from the expertise of a mortgage broker if:

  • It's their first time buying or refinancing.
  • They have a lot of questions.
  • They favor a high-touch, high-service approach that guides them through the entire process.
But for some, a straightforward loan is all they need, and a lender will serve them well.

Whether you decide to work with a lender or a broker, you are always invited to call or email me for information on any mortgage topic!

Best regards,
Debbie Siegel
Westchester Mortgage

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