To get a good idea of how much you can borrow, a lender can pre-qualify you for a mortgage. To pre-qualify, you meet with a lender and provide information about your assets, income and liabilities. Based on that information, the lender will provide an estimate how much money you will be able to borrow. Knowing this amount beforehand will allow you to determine the price range of homes before you go house hunting.
Banks are the traditional source of mortgage funding. They offer face-to-face service, recognized name-brands and fees that are generally competitive with other lenders. What they may lack is a broad variety of loan programs, which may mean that they may not offer the lowest interest rates or the lowest fees. Mortgage brokers generally offer a large variety of loans, which includes loans for people with bad credit. Variety also often results in the lowest interest rate and the most convenient one-stop-shopping for comparison purposes. Because you can physically meet with a broker, the face-to-face service is another plus. In the minus column, mortgage brokers are often more expensive than other funding sources.
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