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Essential Questions to Ask Your Mortgage Lender

Navigating the mortgage process can be overwhelming, but Baker Boyer is here to help. In this article, we answer some of the most common questions about mortgages, from selecting the best loan type and understanding down payment requirements to the importance of pre-approval and the impact of credit checks. Whether you're a first-time homebuyer or a seasoned expert, our Loan Advisors are ready to guide you through every step, ensuring a smooth and informed journey to homeownership.
Family of three unpack boxes in their new home joyfully

Which type of mortgage is best for me?

Baker Boyer offers a variety of loan programs for first-time homebuyers up to the seasoned investor. We recommend you sit with one of our local Loan Advisors to answer a few questions about your financial profile to see which program may be a fit for your goals. 

How much down payment will I need?

Some loans still require 20% down, but we offer mortgages with down payment options as low as 3% down. Our Advisors are very familiar with the options and should be able to answer your down payment questions depending on your circumstances.

Do you offer pre-approval or pre-qualification?

Both pre-qualification and pre-approval give you a good idea of what you may be able to afford in a home purchase, but getting a pre-qualification letter requires a lot less work on your part. A pre-qualification relies on estimates. A pre-approval, on the other hand, is essentially a mortgage application you must complete before you have a house picked out. You'll need to prove income documentation, employment, and residence history, and potentially a lot more! Your Advisor can explain the difference and go over your options during your initial meeting.

How will I be updated during the process?

 You will be working one on one with your Loan Advisor. They will contact you with updates throughout the loan process to make it as simple and stress free as possible. Feel free to communicate with them as often as you feel necessary. The process can be lengthy and we’re here to help you through it all. 

Will you do a hard credit check?

A hard credit check occurs when a lender requests your credit report to assess your credit history and evaluate your eligibility for a home loan. This process helps determine the loan options that best suit your financial situation. To initiate a hard credit check, you must authorize it. If you choose not to authorize the check, it's important to note that any information regarding rates and loan programs remains speculative. 

It's worth noting that excessive hard credit checks can adversely affect your credit score. Therefore, when shopping for a home loan, it's advisable to refrain from authorizing hard credit checks for other types of financing, such as auto loans or store credit cards. If you're considering multiple lenders, try to ensure that all hard credit checks occur within a short timeframe, typically within a few weeks, to minimize the impact on your credit score.

What will be my interest rate and APR?

Interest rates change daily and sometimes multiple times a day. Your Loan Advisor will be able to tell you about interest rates that may be available to you during your first call or meeting with them. Once you start your application, you will receive a Loan Estimate (LE), which will list the interest rate and estimated closing costs. You can use your LE document to compare rates among different lenders and loan types. 

Are there any discount points?

Discount points are fees you pay directly to a lender at closing time in exchange for a lower interest rate. During your initial call with an Advisor, it’s best to talk about rates and costs without discount points to compare with other lenders and avoid paying points unnecessarily. Ask your Advisor to run payment and interest rate scenarios for you with points once you’ve chosen a lender to see if buying your rate down is worth doing. 

Will I have to pay mortgage insurance?

Mortgage insurance (MI) is a premium you pay on your mortgage if your down payment is less than 20%. Your Loan Advisor should inform you of this upfront and include it in any payment scenarios proposed. 

What will my monthly payment be?

Your monthly mortgage payment is generally made up of principal, interest, and escrow reserves which can include property taxes, homeowners’ insurance, HOAs, and mortgage insurance if applicable. Ask your Advisor if any proposed payments include these reserves for an accurate representation of your potential housing expenses.  

What is your origination fee and what are your lender fees?

Origination and lender fees are some of the costs you pay upfront for the benefit of borrowing money. These vary by lender, and you may have some wiggle room. Expect a loan officer to be upfront and transparent about these fees from the beginning, and make sure you're comfortable asking questions any time they come up.

How much of this can we do online?

If you prefer to handle your loan request online, we offer fully online applications and disclosures, but it's a good idea to ask an Advisor about processes in the beginning so you can be comfortable at every step.

Will you sell my loan?

No. This is a very frustrating part of financing a home as there are tons of loan servicing companies that buy and sell bundles of loans. Baker Boyer retains the servicing on all their loans.  

Family of three unpack boxes in their new home joyfully

Understanding the mortgage process is crucial for making informed decisions and achieving your homeownership goals. Baker Boyer is committed to providing personalized guidance and support at every step. Ready to start your journey to homeownership? Call us at (509) 525-2000 or fill out the form below to get started! 


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