Getting a Bank Mortgage
Buying a house is probably the biggest financial investment you’ll ever make. Most people buy a home only once or twice in their entire lives. (Interestingly, the U.S. Census says that Americans move an average of 11.7 times in our lives, but, for most people, only a few of those moves involve purchasing a house.)
Whenever the time is right for you to buy a house, chances are that you’ll need a mortgage. One of the first decisions you’ll have to make as you begin looking at houses is whether you want to work with big bank or a mortgage broker.
Arranging to finance your home purchase through a bank offers several advantages. Bank loan officers can sweeten your deal by offering free checking or a free safety deposit box, a nice little perk at a time when many banks are raising fees. The bank loan officer will sometimes pay the house appraisal fee or pay part of the closing costs, saving you money at closing. Big banks are stable, so you can have faith that they won’t go out of business if the economy goes sour. And banks have numerous locations with evening and weekend hours, so you can meet with a loan officer at your convenience.
There are also some disadvantages in working with big banks. There are so many banks around that you have to do a lot of legwork to find the one that works best for you. People who get home mortgages from a bank also have to know how to negotiate so they can get the best deal. A lot of people are turned off by the greed factor – big banks are reporting huge profits at the same time that they foreclosed on the houses of millions of Americans. Bank rates often aren’t as good as the rates a mortgage broker can arrange. And banks sometimes require a high credit score before they’ll consider making a mortgage loan.