Choosing a Mortgage Lender: National vs Local

We all wish buying a home could be as easy as shopping for patio furniture. A lot goes into purchasing a house, and working with the right lender is a crucial step. 

Before you start house hunting, it’s important to think about the type of loan that’s right for your situation. It’s a complicated process, but working with the best mortgage companies out there will make things easier and faster. 

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As a first time home buyer, you may be inclined to pick the lender that has the top reviews. But you need to consider whether they’re national or local when making a decision.  

To help you out, we’re going over the pros and cons of each. 

The Role of a Mortgage Lender 

When you decide on a home, your lender facilitates the mortgage loan. This could be a big bank or a smaller, independent lender. 

When you start working with a lender, they’ll discuss which loan options are available to you and which ones are best suited to your needs. Once you apply for the loan, their underwriters evaluate your financial standing and the home you’re considering to determine your eligibility. 

Mortgage lenders also set the terms of the loan, such as the interest rate, down payment, repayment period, and fees. They then originate and process the loan, ensuring all documentation is accounted for. 

The best mortgage companies offer other attractive services like mortgage pre-approval, which is a powerful tool when house hunting. It shows sellers and real estate agents you’re serious about buying. This is why working with a lender early on in the process is so important. 

A mortgage lender can also work with you on risk management issues and act as the loan servicer. When considering who to work with, look for a company that offers a wide range of products and services so you have a trusted partner if you decide to refinance down the road. 

You’ll also need to consider whether to work with a national or local lender. Both offer benefits and disadvantages, so it’s all about finding what’s right for you. 

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The Pros and Cons of National Lenders 

When some people hear the term “national mortgage lender,” they think of big banks. And while many of the high-profile banking institutions provide nationwide service, there are small national lenders too. 

A national lender provides loans to borrowers across the country. Their loan origination volume is high and they’re often household names. But this doesn’t always mean they’re the best mortgage companies to do business with. 

Let’s look at some of the benefits of national lenders. 

Wide Range of Offerings

Most national lenders can offer clients every type of mortgage loan available. Whether you’re looking for a VA loan, conventional loan, FHA loan, or refinance, they can accommodate you. 

Speed 

Because they have the best tools and staff, national lenders can offer a fast, seamless loan origination process. It’s in their best interest to do this so they can increase their volume and revenue. 

Competitive Rates

Getting a good mortgage rate is important for your long-term plans, and national lenders can often accommodate this. They have the reputation and resources to secure lower rates than some of the small lenders. 

Now let’s look at some disadvantages of working with the big guys. 

They Lack Personalized Service

Because their volume is so big, large lenders can’t provide the one-to-one touch many first time home buyers want. You may feel like you’re just another number in their books. 

Strick Qualification Guidelines

Some large mortgage institutions have stringent underwriting guidelines, making it harder to qualify for a loan. This could be a problem if you have a low credit score or a high debt-to-income ratio. 

No Local Connections

The best mortgage companies have a healthy network of real estate and housing professionals. However, the larger lenders often can’t connect you with local agents, inspectors, or attorneys who could make the process easier. 

The Pros and Cons of Local Lenders

Unlike national lenders who serve clients across the country, local mortgage lenders only provide financing in a specific geographic area. Because they focus on a particular region, many of these companies are smaller. 

Local lenders may not have the reputation some of the larger institutions have, but this doesn’t mean they can’t provide good service. In fact, some of the best mortgage companies out there are local. 

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Let’s go over some of the benefits you’ll enjoy with a local lender. 

An Understanding of the Local Market

Local mortgage lenders make it a point to stay knowledgeable on the real estate market in their area. They can provide insight into property values, neighborhood trends, and zoning regulations. This is invaluable when searching for the perfect home. 

The Right Connections

Because local lenders target a specific area, they build relationships with local real estate agents, home inspectors, builders, and real estate attorneys. Access to these trusted partners can help you in other areas of your home buying journey. 

Personalized Service 

When you work with someone local, you’re more likely to build a close relationship through one-to-one service. In addition to a good customer experience, local lenders are more flexible with their underwriting criteria and can tailor a loan to meet your needs. 

There are also a few disadvantages you need to consider. 

Fewer Options

Small lenders may not have access to a wide range of loans like their national competitors. They simply don’t have the resources to offer much more than the most common mortgages on the market. 

Limits on Rates 

If a local lender is relatively small, they may not be able to offer you the rate you’re looking for. It’s important to work with a company that can give you a quote upfront so you know your options. 

A Slower Process

If a local lender doesn’t have a robust staff and the right technology, the loan origination may take longer. The process may also require more work on your end. 

Can You Get the Best of Both Worlds?

The Moreira Team is a boutique mortgage broker and lender based in Atlanta. While we’re a local company, we have access to a national portfolio of mortgages and underwriting options. 

We partner with a national network of lenders which allows us to offer the best lending products available. And while we strive to provide the same loan options as the national lenders, we have in-depth knowledge of the Atlanta home market. We also offer an Upfront Approval Guarantee, which is a powerful tool that can improve your chance of getting the house you want. 

If you’re a first time home buyer, our team can tailor a loan to fit your needs. Plus, we offer a level of personalized service you can’t find anywhere else. We understand the stress associated with buying a home and make it a point to communicate with you throughout the entire process. 

Work With One of Atlanta’s Best Mortgage Companies

If you’re looking for a home in the Atlanta area, let The Moreira Team find the best loan for your situation. Our team will do everything they can to ensure you get the loan you want at an attractive rate. 

Get pre-approved today and take the first step toward homeownership.