There are endless choices for an online mortgage lender, but is online lending for you? Here are the pros and cons.
A Few Pros:
- Great deals are plentiful. Online lenders know that to attract business they must make a good offer, so they usually have very competitive interest rates.
- Less chance of being pressured or charmed. Without slick salesmanship, the numbers have to speak for themselves. If terms and conditions are lacking, you won’t feel obligated to go with someone just because he has become your buddy or referred to you by a buddy.
- User friendly. If your credit profile is good, you are a perfect candidate for online financing. Spending a few hours in front of your computer can lead to multiple email offers. Let mortgage bankers and brokers do all the work by outbidding each other to win your business.
- A loan is a loan is a loan. Most companies on the Internet stick with traditional methods for application approval and funding. Regardless of where they originate, all mortgage loans are protected by state and federal regulations.
- Simplistic rate comparisons. When you’re checking only the facts, loans are easy to compare.
- Easy access to providers. No middlemen.
A Few Cons:
- Lack of accountability. Local lenders rely heavily on referrals and repeat business, so when loans go bad, it reflects poorly on the company. Online lenders face less accountability.
- A new “kid on the block.” Since online lenders are a recent addition to the scene, they haven’t earned the reputations of their off-line competitors.
- License requirements vary by state. It’s possible that you could select an online lender who isn’t licensed in your jurisdiction. If an online company is placing mortgage loans in your area, make sure they have the legal authority to do so.
- No face-to-face contact. Some online lenders are bad apples, as are some traditional lenders. Though consumer confidence in Internet purchases is rising, Internet suspicion may still be too big a deterrent for you.
If you are ready to surf for online lenders, take the following precautions:
- Expect a professional site. A good website doesn’t guarantee a good company, but a poor site is a bad sign and buyer beware.
- Do your research. Most lender sites offer the company’s history and business practices. If you can’t learn anything about the company, try another one.
- Ask your Realtor to suggest reputable online lenders.