How to Choose the Best Mortgage Lender

Sponsored by What's this?
Couple sitting on porch of house

Getty Images

Homebuying has reached record highs over the past two years, a trend that shows no signs of slowing down. In fact, 2021 was the strongest year the U.S. housing market has seen in 15 years, and many buyers are navigating the process for the first time.

If you’re currently looking for a new home, finding the right lender can make a big difference when it comes to saving money. Below, we highlight some of the key things to look for in a mortgage lender—and why it’s important to consider more than just mortgage rates when choosing one.

Look for a Straightforward Pre-Approval Process

Getting pre-approved for a mortgage is one of the first steps in buying a home, but many homebuyers find it stressful. Understanding the requirements can help alleviate some of the stress, and provide you with a clear sense of how much home you can afford. 

A typical pre-approval process takes a variety of factors into account, including:

  • Your income
  • Your debt-to-income ratio (DTI) 
  • Your FICO score
  • Your employment history

Although getting pre-approved does require several pieces of information, the right lender can eliminate guesswork and help you get an answer quickly. They can also provide you with a pre-approval letter that you can show sellers when making an offer, and they can often do so with a soft credit pull that won’t affect your credit score.

To get a sense of what type of home you can afford before going through the pre-approval process, we recommend trying out a mortgage calculator.

Think Beyond Mortgage Rates

Getting the best mortgage rate is certainly important, but it shouldn’t be the only factor you consider when choosing a lender. Fees and commissions can play a big role in your overall costs, so taking them into account will give you a better sense of what each lender has to offer.

Transparency is also important, so finding a lender who lets you know where you stand in the process can simplify things further and help you close on your home more quickly. 

Consider the Full Range of Offerings

While many lenders can offer great rates, only a few can provide you with a range of services designed to support you through every stage of the homebuying journey.  

With a 100% online application and dedicated loan specialists, Better Mortgage’s custom service allows it to become a true partner for both first-time and repeat homebuyers. Their honest rate quotes, instant loan estimates, and lack of loan officer commission also mean that you’re able to get upfront pricing and a clear sense of how much home you can afford.  

If you need help finding a real estate agent, Better Real Estate, an affiliate of Better Mortgage, can connect you with an agent in their network. By working with an agent from Better Real Estate and funding with Better Mortgage, qualified customers can take advantage of the Better Cash Offer program* which can also boost the chances of making a winning offer by up to four times. Those in a hurry to close will be pleased to know all-cash offers typically have a quicker closing period once your offer is accepted. 

Whether you’re buying your first home or your dream home, the right mortgage lender can make the mortgage process smoother and more efficient. By taking a range of factors into account, you can find a lender who prioritizes low costs and transparency, while putting your best interests first.

*See Better Cash Offer Terms and Conditions.
Better Mortgage Corp. NMLS # 330511.

Was this page helpful?
The Balance uses only high-quality sources, including peer-reviewed studies, to support the facts within our articles. Read our editorial process to learn more about how we fact-check and keep our content accurate, reliable, and trustworthy.
  1. CNN. “Thinking of buying a home in 2022? Here's what to expect,”