Shop around for loans. It won’t hurt your credit score if multiple lenders pull you credit in a short amount of time. I knew I was going to get the best rates and just compared online rates posted. I think I ended up 1/8th below that day’s published rate.
Amazingly, Wells Fargo had the best rates around for me. Financing with then also just about guarantees your mortgage will always be with them. Smaller lenders buy and sell loans all the time. I’ve heard of people paying three or more different lenders in the first year of their mortgage. Too much hassle for me. Also, don’t let personal opinions of banks get in the way of getting the best deal. Wells Fargo may harass you in their branches, but going elsewhere for that reason alone could cost you an 1/8th to 1/4 point.
Carefully evaluate points as well. Sometimes they make sense, sometimes they don’t. Remember that the average life of a mortgage is seven years.
Expect to pay around 1% in origination fees to the bank for the loan. I was able to get this down to 0.5% with both my 30-year and my 15-year.
Know and understand the HUD-1. It’s complicated at first glance but fairly straightforward once you understand it.
When it comes to earnest money, be aggressive If you know you want the house, are pre-approved , and know you won’t back out.
Also, on a more personal note. Use mom. She knows what she’s talking about when it comes to house hunting. She was instrumental in helping me find out what I liked, what I didn’t, was able to help schedule visits, and helped me look for common housing pitfalls.