San Francisco – Mortgage - Broker

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(415) 997-8922
(877) 303-1623

Serving San Francisco, San Mateo and Sacramento Counties

Services include Bay Area real estate sales, mortgage loans, bilingual real estate transactions, real estate property showing and loan modification.
License 01215959, 01077123 | DCID4155940041

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Why Trust Diamond Certified Rated Highest in Quality?

Whether you're looking to purchase a home or a rental property, finding the right mortgage broker is a crucial step. You'll feel confident choosing a mortgage broker listed above because each has been rated Highest in Quality and has earned the prestigious Diamond Certified award. Read the following articles for more information on how to hire and work with a mortgage broker in San Francisco. Photo: Optimum Financial Services (2014)

Only the best mortgage broker companies in San Francisco County have earned the Diamond Certified award by scoring Highest in Quality in the most accurate and rigorous ratings process anywhere. You'll never be fooled by fake reviews, since all research is performed by live telephone interviews that verify only real customers are surveyed. Most companies can't pass this test. That's why you'll feel confident when you choose a Diamond Certified home care company listed below. Simply click on the name of a Diamond Certified company below to read ratings results, informational articles and verbatim customer survey responses.

Thousands of customers of local companies have been interviewed in live telephone calls, and only companies that score Highest in Quality in customer satisfaction–a 90+ on a 100 scale–as well as pass all of the credential-based ratings earn Diamond Certified. By requiring such a high score to qualify, the Diamond Certified program cuts out mediocre and poorly performing companies. If you want quality, you'll have confidence in choosing Diamond Certified companies. And you're backed by the Diamond Certified Performance Guarantee.

How to Choose
Taking On Home Ownership in San Francisco

House buying, no matter where you are looking in San Francisco, whether in the Richmond District, the Sunset District, the Tenderloin, the Mission District, or Bernal Heights, or in the smaller areas of the Bayview District, North Beach, or Nob Hill, can leave you plenty overwhelmed. One of the most critical steps, unless you plan to invest a heap of cash, is to finance your home. You may find yourself using a mortgage broker to find a lender offering good loan terms. A mortgage broker is simply someone who helps to connect a borrower with a lender....

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House buying, no matter where you are looking in San Francisco, whether in the Richmond District, the Sunset District, the Tenderloin, the Mission District, or Bernal Heights, or in the smaller areas of the Bayview District, North Beach, or Nob Hill, can leave you plenty overwhelmed. One of the most critical steps, unless you plan to invest a heap of cash, is to finance your home. You may find yourself using a mortgage broker to find a lender offering good loan terms. A mortgage broker is simply someone who helps to connect a borrower with a lender.

Before we explore more about mortgage brokers, let’s differentiate them from others in the loan process. A loan officer is a general term, referring to people who work with loans. You many find loan officers at a mortgage brokers, at a bank, or at other lending companies. A mortgage banker lends money directly to consumers for real estate transactions. This differs from a mortgage broker, since the broker does not lend money directly – in most cases. A financial institution is a company that provides banking services as well as making loans, for example savings and loans, savings banks, and credit unions. Consumer finance companies make real-estate loans, most often at higher interest rates than typical financial institutions, and often for high-risk loans. These consumer finance companies do not hold deposits or perform other banking functions the way banks and savings and loans do.

So, what makes a mortgage broker the right choice for you? How can you get the best success from working with your broker? Use the information below to give you a helpful overview of mortgage brokers and how they can best serve you.

Why Should I Choose a Mortgage Broker In San Francisco?
As you take on the search for a loan in San Francisco, whether you are in the Tenderloin, the Sunset District, the Richmond District, the Mission District, Bernal Heights, Nob Hill, the Bayview District, or North Beach, you will possibly want help. Of course, you can do the research yourself and work with lenders directly. However, this can be confusing, and you may not actually get access to the best rates. Many people also go to their bank, whether it is a branch of one of the big commercial banks, or a smaller bank. The big commercial banks are banks like Bank of America, Wells Fargo, etc. When you go to your bank, in almost every case, the loan officer at the bank can only offer you loans that are provided by that institution. In other words, the loan officer represents a single lender. You may not like the terms that lender offers. In other cases, these banks may only take borrowers with the very best credit ratings.

In contrast, a mortgage broker represents many different lenders and should be able to find the best rate for you. Mortgage brokers also work with buyers with less than perfect credit, enabling more people to get loans. The best brokers will have the most relationships and the most options to offer you. You should not be shy about shopping around for a mortgage broker. You are looking for the best loan terms, and a particular mortgage broker might not have the relationship with the lender you need to connect to. You are not bound to any one mortgage broker, and you should never sign an agreement saying that you are. Let multiple mortgage brokers do your mortgage loan shopping for you.

You may see additional benefits when you work with a local broker. A local mortgage broker may be more familiar with the local territory and be able to better explain it to lenders. For example, the local mortgage broker may know about private septic tanks if they are common in the area, or may be familiar with the different heating systems. Similarly, the local mortgage broker may have a better understanding of the terms and classifications that local appraisers use. With this familiarity, the mortgage broker can make better explanations to the lenders about what is and is not standard for the area.

How Do You Know Your San Francisco Mortgage Broker is the Right One?
You want a mortgage lender you can trust, who will find good rates and terms but who will also make sure you are protected. You want to avoid any predatory lenders, and don’t want a broker who will lead you into a bad relationship. To help prevent problems, the state of California requires that all mortgage brokers be licensed by California. Only a California license is valid for mortgage brokering in California; California does not recognize any other state’s license. However, a broker from out of state is permitted to work with a California mortgage broker. In this case, the two will probably split the commission.

You may advertising from out-of-state brokers, but you need to check for license information. California requires all mortgage brokers to include licensing information in their advertising. If the advertisement doesn’t include license information, the mortgage broker is not entitled to work in the state. Similarly, you may notice Internet advertising will explicitly state that services are not offered in the state of California. Again, this indicates the lack of a California license. So you will always want to find a mortgage broker who is licensed by the state of California.

So, Your San Francisco Mortgage Broker Has a License, Right?
In California, the state does not make a distinction in licensing between real estate brokers and mortgage brokers – a licensed real estate broker may act as a mortgage broker. California does offer different real estate licenses, and they impose different requirements on how the holders are required to interact with their customers. You should always find out which license your mortgage broker holds. If the mortgage broker holds more than one, you should find out under which license your loan is being managed.

Most real estate broker licenses, and since the state makes no distinction, hence most mortgage broker licenses, are granted by the Department of Real Estate (DRE). A licensee under the Department of Real Estate can present loans from many sources, including banks, credit unions, other financial institutions, etc.

The Department of Corporations (CORP) licenses Residential Mortgage Lenders (RML) and California Finance Lenders (CFL). The RML license came about because of the California Residential Mortgage Lending Act (CRMLA). This act was developed to focus on mortgage bankers and the origination and servicing of loans – that is, it largely focuses on the lenders themselves. However, its conditions do allow an RML licensee to broker loans from institutional lenders. As with all license types in California, the person actually performing the brokering must be a licensed mortgage loan originator employed by the RML licensee. CORP also grants the CFL license. The CFL license also allows licensees to broker mortgages, but it can only broker loans between CFL companies. Many companies, including many Fortune 500 companies, have CFL licensing.

Any mortgage broker in California must also have a mortgage loan originator license (MLO). This applies no matter which entity grants their license or which kind of license the mortgage broker holds. This is because California has adopted and implemented a federal standard. Even if the mortgage broker is only brokering the loan and is not actually originating, or providing the money for it, they must have the MLO license.

It’s really mostly up to the broker to decide which license to pursue, based on the kind of business the broker plans to conduct. There are different levels of education requirements for each, with the DRE requiring both education before licensing and continuing education. There are also different levels of liquidity that must be demonstrated for CFL and RML licenses. These decisions are not so important to you as a consumer.

There are a few reasons why consumers should know which license is being used. First, you want to ensure that your mortgage broker, whether in the Tenderloin, the Sunset District, the Richmond District, Bernal Heights, or the Mission District, or in the Excelsior, Pacific Heights, or Cole Valley has a valid California license. Then you will want to know what kind of license it is so that you know where to direct any complaints or do any research about how the licensees must act. You can use the Department of Real Estate Web site or the Department of Corporations Web site to ensure that your mortgage broker is licensed. The departments also offer a single location for searching a combined list of license holders at this Web site.

What Does My San Francisco Mortgage Broker’s Need to Give Me?
As you search in San Francisco, whether in the Tenderloin, Bernal Heights, the Mission District, the Sunset District, the Richmond District, Cole Valley, the Excelsior, the Bayview District, or South of Market Street (SOMA), you will come to realize that a mortgage broker can be compensated in several ways. Sometimes that compensation comes in the form of fees, such as a broker origination fee, processing fee, or application fee, paid by the borrower. Sometimes brokers are compensated by the lender. The lender gives the broker a yield spread premium (YSP), which comes about when the broker sells the borrower a loan at a higher interest rate than the lender would otherwise sell the loan for. A YSP is generally acceptable if the broker is not charging other fees.

You can see that this situation of having multiple payers could give the broker a conflict of interest. The lender may be giving a bigger incentive to sell a loan at a higher rate. You should always ask your mortgage broker how he or she is getting paid – is it all from borrower fees? Or from the lender? You have the right to ask and to be answered. California does have one protection in this regard that many other states do not.

In California, once you allow a mortgage broker to act as your agent in finding you a loan, the mortgage broker becomes your fiduciary. This means that the mortgage broker has a responsibility to act in your best interests. The broker must disclose information that could affect the transaction – for example, relationships the broker may have with the lender, title company, or other involved entity. The concept of “fiduciary” responsibility is somewhat complicated but requiring the mortgage broker to act as your fiduciary prevents the broker from playing two sides against each other for his or her own benefit. It’s a concept that not few states have embraced.

What Do I Need to Give to My San Francisco Broker?
Your mortgage broker, whether working in the Tenderloin, Bernal Heights, the Richmond District, the Sunset District, the Mission District, the Excelsior, Nob Hill, or Pacific Heights, providing a service for you. You should expect to pay a fair fee. Others involved in the lending process  - including the mortgage banker or the other lender – will have fees as well. These may be called processing fees, application fees, or document preparation fees.

To protect you, there is a federal law that requires borrowers be given a Good Faith Estimate (GFE). The Good Faith Estimate must be provided within 3 days of filing the application and details the related fees. The Good Faith Estimate comes on its own specific form. You should look for the GFE title and not be deceived by similar-looking but non-binding forms issued by shady operators. The Good Faith Estimate categorizes fees and identifies which ones may not change, which ones may change by a specified percentage, and which ones may change radically. For those who are working with a mortgage broker whose license is issued by the Department of Real Estate, California also requires a Mortgage Loan Disclosure Statement (MLDS) be made within three days of the loan application. The California disclosure requires the broker’s compensation to be outlined, including who is paying it – the borrower, the lender, or both. You must be told of any changes in the amount the mortgage broker is receiving.

Lock-in and advance fees frequently cause confusion during the loan process. Lock in fees guarantee a specific interest rate for a set period of time. In California, when the mortgage broker is licensed by the Department of Real Estate, the law requires that if the broker wants to receive fees in advance of the loan closing, the broker must have an approved “advance fee agreement” on file with the Department of Real Estate. You should check with the Department to see if such an agreement exists. Under the Department of Real Estate, the only advance fees the broker can charge without this agreement are credit report and appraisal fees. Those mortgage brokers licensed under the Department of Corporations may charge lock-in fees before the loan closes only if you and the lender both have signed a written agreement.

Part of the process is to make sure you have no competing claims on the property. The title company performs this search. The company is often suggested by the mortgage broker. You can allow your mortgage broker to use the title company of his or her choice, but you have the right to choose your own title company, too. Be aware that for some properties, the contract may include a specific title company. Sometimes if you work with the same title company for more than one transaction, you can get a better rate. A mortgage broker is allowed to own all or part of a title company, or otherwise have a financial interest in the title company, but you must be made aware of the relationship. You should ask if such an interest exists. When you purchase title insurance, it is usually insurance to protect the lender from any mistake in the title process. You will need to buy specific borrower’s title insurance to protect yourself from title problems after the loan closes.

You probably should be aware of other common costs association with the loan. They might include points, title charges, and prepaid items. A point equals one percent of the loan amount. It is interest paid upfront and usually lowers the interest rate. Besides the appraisal and credit report, you might over other upfront costs that you prepay. These include tax and insurance placed in escrow or interest that accrues before the first loan payment. The title agency will likely charge for the title insurance, title search, and any attorney fees. As mentioned, a mortgage broker operating under license from the Department of Real Estate must include these fees in the MLDS.

Managing the Loan Process with Your San Francisco Mortgage Broker
You might need a lone once you find your dream house in the Mission District, Bernal Heights, the Tenderloin, the Richmond District, the Sunset District, Pacific Heights, North Beach, or Fort Mason. A mortgage broker is good way to find a loan, especially if you have a situation where banks might not grant you a loan. Mortgage brokers are a good way to find other lenders. The first step is to find a good mortgage broker. The state warns that you might not always be able to tell if you are working with a mortgage broker, so be sure to ask.

Some mortgage brokers may help you with the loan application in person, while others offer Web sites to enter the information, or in other ways allow you to fill out the application yourself. It is legal for you to pay for a credit report and appraisal immediately – these two items are exempted from the regulations surrounding other “advance” costs. Sometimes, you are told you will not have to pay for the appraisal and credit report. If so, get this in writing and be sure to clarify that you will not be asked to pay if the loan does not close and that you are not expected to pay at the close of escrow. Both the mortgage broker and your actual lender must provide the mandated disclosures about the loan fees and its terms. Your mortgage broker will be asking you for required documentation. At this stage, it’s important to ask for clarification of any of the fees presented to you and especially any questions you have about the loan’s terms. You should also, obviously, be aware of who your actual lender is.

Loan processing can be a busy phase, since all the necessary information is gathered and the decision made. In this phase, the mortgage broker gets all the background information required and gives it to the lender’s underwriter. The underwriter uses the information to determine loan approval. During this phase, your primary responsibilities are to be responsive to the mortgage broker’s requests and to stay on top of the process to make sure the mortgage broker is meeting deadlines. The more responsive you are, the more likely you will get the loan. At this point, many choose to lock-in the interest rate. Note that sometimes, you can negotiate agreements about interest rate lock-ins, allowing you to change the rate if the interest rate drops. If you want to do this, you must be positively sure to get it in writing.

Your loan closes when you sign, but you might want to get some information before closing. You can get a copy of the estimated HUD (Housing and Urban Development) settlement statement 24 hours before the closing. You must request the HUD statement in writing before that 24-hour period begins. This gives you time to review and possibly request changes before signing. You may find yourself closing your loan in your mortgage broker’s office, at the title company, at the escrow company, or as the result of a signing service delivering the documents. Wherever you sign, you are making the commitment to the loan. You need to understand what you are agreeing to. Ask for clarifications for anything you do not understand. It’s worth considering having an attorney read over the loan documents before you sign. Although an attorney’s review costs money, it can save you from even more costly traps hidden in the documents by a deceptive lender.

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Know What You Want
How Do I Find the Right Mortgage Broker in San Francisco?
For first-time buyers, an experienced mortgage broker can be an invaluable resource. Photo: Optimum Financial Services (2014)

Especially for first-timers, going through the home-buying process in San Francisco, whether in the Tenderloin, the Sunset District, the Mission District, the Richmond District, or Bernal Heights, or in Pacific Heights or Russian Hill, can be a bit daunting. A big part of home ownership for many people is getting financing, which can also be trying for many. To make sure you are approaching your search practically, it might help to draw up a list of questions to ask yourself about your search....

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Especially for first-timers, going through the home-buying process in San Francisco, whether in the Tenderloin, the Sunset District, the Mission District, the Richmond District, or Bernal Heights, or in Pacific Heights or Russian Hill, can be a bit daunting. A big part of home ownership for many people is getting financing, which can also be trying for many. To make sure you are approaching your search practically, it might help to draw up a list of questions to ask yourself about your search.

  1. Do I want a Diamond Certified company that is rated best in quality and backed by the Diamond Certified Guarantee?
  2. Does the local bank offer an attractive loan or do I need to look elsewhere for a more attractive rate and terms?
  3. If I have reason to work with an out-of-state mortgage broker, does that broker have a relationship with a California mortgage broker so that the California broker can perform the work in California?
  4. Do I want a local mortgage broker who understands the local area, its peculiarities, and its vernacular and can explain these to the lender, if necessary?
  5. What is my credit rating and history like? Will I need to find a lender who accepts less than perfect credit?
  6. Am I comfortable working with lenders without a mortgage broker? Do I want to try to find loans on my own?
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What to Ask on the Phone
Phone Screen Your San Francisco Mortgage Broker

Your search in San Francisco, whether in the Tenderloin, the Sunset District, Bernal Heights, the Mission District, the Richmond District, Cole Valley, or Pacific Heights, may uncover many options available. You can use the phone as a useful tool to help you screen candidates until you find someone you want to work with. To screen candidates, consider preparing a pre-set list of questions so that you can compare different mortgage brokers’ answers....

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Your search in San Francisco, whether in the Tenderloin, the Sunset District, Bernal Heights, the Mission District, the Richmond District, Cole Valley, or Pacific Heights, may uncover many options available. You can use the phone as a useful tool to help you screen candidates until you find someone you want to work with. To screen candidates, consider preparing a pre-set list of questions so that you can compare different mortgage brokers’ answers.

  1. Has your company earned and maintained a Diamond Certified rating?
  2. What kind of fees do you charge for brokering a loan and how much are they? If you can’t give me an exact number, can you provide an overview? (for comparing with other mortgage brokers)
  3. How many lenders do you have access to who will grant loans for someone in my situation? (i.e. residential lenders as opposed to only commercial lenders)
  4. Do you have a current license to work as a mortgage broker in the state of California?
  5. Which real estate license do you hold in the state of California? Under which department are you licensed?
  6. Have you completed your mortgage loan originator (MLO) license as recently required by the state of California?
  7. What title companies do you work with and do you have a financial interest in them?
  8. How long have you worked in the area where I am looking? Are you familiar with any local idiosyncrasies?
  9. Will I be working with your or with staff members?
  10. If I want to work with an out-of-state mortgage broker, are you willing to work with my broker and share the fees?
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What to Ask in Person
Some Questions to Raise with Your San Francisco Mortgage Broker in Person

Once you’ve found a few mortgage brokers you might trust in the Sunset District, the Tenderloin, the Richmond District, Bernal Heights, or the Mission District, you’ll want to meet with them person. Meeting in person can give you a better sense of the person you are going to work with. Remember, don’t be shy about shopping around and asking different mortgage brokers to work with you. You are looking for the person who can connect you to the best loan. As you speak with mortgage broker, here are some questions you might want to keep in mind...

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Once you’ve found a few mortgage brokers you might trust in the Sunset District, the Tenderloin, the Richmond District, Bernal Heights, or the Mission District, you’ll want to meet with them person. Meeting in person can give you a better sense of the person you are going to work with. Remember, don’t be shy about shopping around and asking different mortgage brokers to work with you. You are looking for the person who can connect you to the best loan. As you speak with mortgage broker, here are some questions you might want to keep in mind

  1. Besides your fees, what other costs will this loan incur?
  2. What is the final annual percentage rate (APR) for my loan? (Be careful – an APR that is three-quarters of a percent to one percent higher than the rate you were first quoted means that heavy fees are being added.)
  3. Who will my lender be? What information can you give me about the firm actually making the loan?
  4. Will you agree to lowering my interest rate during the lock if a better interest rate occurs?
  5. Are you looking for both fixed and variable rate loans for me?
  6. Is my interest rate locked in? When does that lock start and end?
  7. What compensation are you receiving and from whom – just from me as the borrower, or also from the lender?
  8. Will my loan be completely amortized, or will it include a balloon payment?
  9. I want to get a HUD settlement statement prior to closing – how do I do that?
  10. Will I be paying for the credit report and appraisal?
  11. What are the chances my loan will be sold?
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What to Ask References
Questions for References

If you can’t find a Diamond Certified mortgage broker within reach, you’ll have to do some research on your own. If you do, it’s wise to call some references provided by your mortgage broker. Keep in mind, though, that references provided to you by the mortgage broker are not equal in value to the large random sample of customers surveyed during the Diamond Certified ratings process. That’s because references given to customers from companies are cherry-picked instead of randomly selected from all their customers....

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If you can’t find a Diamond Certified mortgage broker within reach, you’ll have to do some research on your own. If you do, it’s wise to call some references provided by your mortgage broker. Keep in mind, though, that references provided to you by the mortgage broker are not equal in value to the large random sample of customers surveyed during the Diamond Certified ratings process. That’s because references given to customers from companies are cherry-picked instead of randomly selected from all their customers. So the companies will likely give you a few customers to call that they know are satisfied.

If you do call references on your own, specifically ask for a list of the company’s 10 most recent customers. This will help avoid them giving you the names of only customers they know were satisfied.

  1. During the loan processing, did your mortgage broker ask for documents in a timely manner and meet the lender’s deadlines?
  2. Did you think the mortgage broker dealt with you fairly and honestly?
  3. Did the mortgage broker have a large network of lenders to choose from or were there only a few options?
  4. Did you find the mortgage broker’s fees competitive with others you researched?
  5. Were you working with any out-of-state mortgage brokers, and did your California mortgage broker work smoothly with them?
  6. Did you feel that the mortgage broker was familiar with the local area?
  7. Were you able to negotiate with the mortgage broker about fees? About when loan rates were locked in? Did there seem to be flexibility?
  8. Did you end up paying for the credit report and property appraisal?
  9. Were you pressured about advance fees by the mortgage broker?
  10. Was the mortgage broker compensated only through fees or also by the lenders?
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Review Your Options
Find and Hire a Good Mortgage Brokers in San Francisco
The Diamond Certified symbol has been awarded to companies that scored Highest in Quality in an accurate ratings process.

Your choice of mortgage broker … So before deciding on the best mortgage broker in San Francisco for you, it’s important to consider the following questions....

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Your choice of mortgage broker … So before deciding on the best mortgage broker in San Francisco for you, it’s important to consider the following questions.

  1. Does the mortgage broker have a reputation for charging fair fees?
  2. Does the mortgage broker have a large network of legitimate lenders so I can find the best loan?
  3. Is the mortgage broker licensed by the state of California, and if so, which license does he or she have?
  4. Is the mortgage broker dedicated to finding a loan with the best terms for me?
  5. Does the mortgage broker seem familiar with the local market and able to explain that market to the lender?
  6. Will the mortgage broker respond in a timely fashion both to my questions and when the lender makes requests to me through the mortgage broker?
  7. Can the mortgage broker communicate well with me, explaining the different terms and consequences of the loan?
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How to Work With
When You Hire a San Francisco Mortgage Broker
It's a good idea to meet with a few different brokers before making a final choice. Photo: Optimum Financial Services (2014)

Your search for a San Francisco mortgage broker, whether you are searching in Bernal Heights, the Sunset District, the Mission District, the Tenderloin, or the Richmond District, will benefit from a little preparation on your part. Check with your local bank about available loans, including interest rate and terms. Also ask what kind of credit rating they require for approval. This will give you some idea if you need to look for a mortgage broker. Of course, you may want to go to a mortgage broker simply because they work with a broader network of lenders....

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Your search for a San Francisco mortgage broker, whether you are searching in Bernal Heights, the Sunset District, the Mission District, the Tenderloin, or the Richmond District, will benefit from a little preparation on your part. Check with your local bank about available loans, including interest rate and terms. Also ask what kind of credit rating they require for approval. This will give you some idea if you need to look for a mortgage broker. Of course, you may want to go to a mortgage broker simply because they work with a broader network of lenders. Be sure when you are talking about loans that you ask exactly what role the  other person is playing – are they mortgage brokers, for example, or mortgage bankers.

Your broker’s fees should be line with other brokers’ fees. During your search, you can check in on the different interest rates so you know how the markets are trending and are aware of how competitive the rates offered to you are. You should check the actual interest rates – loans are often tied to specific indices. You can look at APR’s and the like online and in newspapers, but beware of deceptive advertising. As you speak with different mortgage brokers during your search, look for brokers who are upfront and who speak in a way that you are comfortable with – make sure that you find someone who can explain things so that you understand them.

An honest broker is what you seek. Be sure your mortgage broker is licensed by the state of California. Find out which license your mortgage broker operates under. Look for a broker who has no qualms about providing written agreements and who is willing to document any areas where you agree to negotiate.

Making it Through the Loan Process With Your San Francisco Mortgage Broker
Once your San Francisco mortgage broker, whether in the Tenderloin, the Sunset District, the Richmond District, Bernal Heights, the Mission District, or Cole Valley, the Excelsior, or Pacific Heights, has found your loan, your participation can ease the process along. You will be working with your mortgage broker though the loan processing and loan closing. By being organized, prepared, and willing to keep your mortgage broker on schedule, you can have a smoother loan process.

Before filling out the loan application, gather together financial and employment history, since the application will ask for that kind of information. As the loan processing starts, be prepared for documentation requests. Clearly tell your mortgage broker that you would like as much notice as possible when documents are required. If you don’t have a document on hand, communicate how long it will take you to get it. Ask your mortgage broker about the lender’s deadlines. Check with your mortgage broker to be sure the broker is meeting the lender’s deadlines.

You are entitled to some protections, but you have to ask for them first. Federal provisions allow you to ask for a HUD settlement statement for federally related loans. If you want the statement, which outlines the costs of the loan, ask for it in writing early in the process. It is required for all federally-related real estate loans and frequently used. Ask your mortgage broker how to obtain the settlement statement. You will receive the HUD statement 24 hours before the loan close – as long as you have previously asked for it in writing, so don’t put off the request for the statement. Ask your mortgage broker questions all along the way. Even without the HUD statement, your mortgage broker is required to give you state and federal documents disclosing the fees associated with the loan. Don’t shy away from asking about those fees and negotiating where possible. Document all agreements in writing. Keep in mind that you may want an attorney to actually examine the loan documents before signing.

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Be a Good Customer
How Can You Be a Good Mortgage Broker Customer?

It's the mortgage broker’s responsibility to connect you with a reputable lender offering the best loan for you. But you play a big part in the success of your mortgage broker, too. Here are a few simple steps you can take to be a good customer when hiring a San Francisco mortgage broker....

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It's the mortgage broker’s responsibility to connect you with a reputable lender offering the best loan for you. But you play a big part in the success of your mortgage broker, too. Here are a few simple steps you can take to be a good customer when hiring a San Francisco mortgage broker.

  • Be clear and upfront with the mortgage broker. Let them know what you want from your mortgage broker, the long-term outcome you’re expecting and specific ways they can satisfy your expectations.
  • Remember, a friendly smile goes a long way!
  • Before you hire a mortgage broker in San Francisco, restate your expectations and goals, and reiterate to the mortgage broker’s representative your understanding of the agreement. Most problems with local mortgage brokers occur because of a breakdown in communication. By being clear about your expectations and theirs, you can avoid most conflicts.
  • Ask your mortgage broker if you should call to check on the progress or if he will call you with updates.
  • Be sure your service representative has a phone number where they can reach you at all times while they’re working with you. The work will move along more smoothly if your mortgage brokers can reach you for any necessary updates, questions or work authorizations.
  • When your contractor contacts you, return calls promptly to keep the mortgage broker on schedule.
  • Pay for the mortgage broker’s work promptly.

Why would you want to be a good customer? Mortgage brokers in San Francisco appreciate customers who are straightforward, honest and easy to work with. Your good customer behavior sets the tone from your end and creates an environment conducive to a good relationship. Things may very well go smoother and any problems may be more easily resolved.

The Contract with the Mortgage Brokers
Your contract with your mortgage broker essentially outlines the fees being paid and the terms of the loan. Both federal and state laws require mortgage brokers to give you official documents stating the fees incurred for brokering the loan. These are essentially your contracts with the mortgage broker for that loan. The federal document stipulates which fees may change and by how much and which fees may not. Both state and federal laws require you to be notified of any changes to the fees.When the APR is significantly higher than the original rate quoted to you, that is, three-quarters of a percent to one percent higher, check your loan documents carefully, as this could be a sign of high fees being piled on.

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Top 10 Requests
Top Service Requests

Mortgage brokers typically look for loans for borrowers. They find the right interest rate and loan terms for an individual’s situation. In California, the mortgage broker has a responsibility to represent the best interests of the borrower. Borrowers come to mortgage brokers for some of the following reasons.

New Loan
Borrowers need a new loan to complete a residential property purchase....

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Mortgage brokers typically look for loans for borrowers. They find the right interest rate and loan terms for an individual’s situation. In California, the mortgage broker has a responsibility to represent the best interests of the borrower. Borrowers come to mortgage brokers for some of the following reasons.

New Loan
Borrowers need a new loan to complete a residential property purchase.

Less Than Perfect Credit
Local banks and local branches of commercial banks may not accept borrowers with less than perfect credit. In this case, a mortgage broker can help find lenders willing to loan to these borrowers.

More Attractive Loans
Because mortgage lenders work with a wide variety of lenders, they may have access to loans that the local bank or local bank branch do not. Borrowers may be able to find more attractive loans by using the mortgage broker to explore the many different options out there.

Intermediary with Lenders
Many borrowers would find it daunting to work with lenders directly, and many lenders only offer their best loans through their network of brokers. Having the mortgage broker negotiate on the borrower’s behalf for the best rate is attractive to many borrowers.

Refinance home
When interest rates drop or when other changes make it desirable, you may use a mortgage broker to find a new loan to refinance your house.

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If Things Go Wrong
The Diamond Certified Performance Guarantee

Diamond Certified mortgage brokers are backed by the Diamond Certified Performance Guarantee. If the window company is Diamond Certified and you can’t resolve the issue by talking with the owner, contact the mediation department at info@diamondcertified.org or call 800-738-1138....

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Diamond Certified mortgage brokers are backed by the Diamond Certified Performance Guarantee. If the window company is Diamond Certified and you can’t resolve the issue by talking with the owner, contact the mediation department at info@diamondcertified.org or call 800-738-1138.

Some Ways To Avoid Conflict with San Francisco Mortgage Brokers
Whether you are working with a mortgage broker in San Francisco, whether in Bernal Heights, the Tenderloin, the Richmond District, the Mission District, the Sunset District, the Excelsior, or Nob Hill, some of your best protections lie in the Good Faith Estimate required by federal law and the Mortgage Loan Disclosure Statement required by the California Department of Real Estate. The California Department of Corporations also requires borrowers to be notified of changes to the fees. The federal HUD settlement statement outlines the terms of the loans. You should read all such documents carefully and understand them before signing.

If you cannot work it out on your own with your mortgage broker, you do have some remedies. You can complain about the company to the Better Business Bureau. Depending on who grants your mortgage broker’s license, you can file a complaint at the California Department of Real Estate Web site or the Department of Corporations Web site. Both departments recommend that if you want to recover money or cancel a contract, you should consult an attorney. The Department of Real Estate will investigate claims where they have jurisdiction. Their sanctions include suspending or revoking a license. The Department of Corporations usually conducts confidential investigations where they have jurisdiction, but they may send the complaint the licensee in some cases. Both departments encourage you to file a complaint, even if you are using an attorney or other method of pursuing the claim.

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If Things Go Wrong
The Diamond Certified Performance Guarantee

Diamond Certified mortgage brokers are backed by the Diamond Certified Performance Guarantee. If the window company is Diamond Certified and you can’t resolve the issue by talking with the owner, contact the mediation department at info@diamondcertified.org or call 800-738-1138....

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Diamond Certified mortgage brokers are backed by the Diamond Certified Performance Guarantee. If the window company is Diamond Certified and you can’t resolve the issue by talking with the owner, contact the mediation department at info@diamondcertified.org or call 800-738-1138.

Easy Ways To End Conflict with Alameda County Mortgage Brokers
Some of your best protections against conflict with a mortgage broker in Alameda County, whether in San Leandro, Berkeley, Fremont, Hayward, Oakland, Alameda, or Pleasanton, lie in the Good Faith Estimate required by federal law and the Mortgage Loan Disclosure Statement required by the California Department of Real Estate. The California Department of Corporations also requires borrowers to be notified of changes to the fees. The federal HUD settlement statement outlines the terms of the loans. You should read all such documents carefully and understand them before signing.

If you do have complaints about your mortgage broker, you should try to work it out first. If you cannot work it out, you have a few options. You can complain about the company to the Better Business Bureau. Depending on who grants your mortgage broker’s license, you can file a complaint at the California Department of Real Estate Web site or the Department of Corporations Web site. Both departments recommend that if you want to recover money or cancel a contract, you should consult an attorney. The Department of Real Estate will investigate claims where they have jurisdiction. Their sanctions include suspending or revoking a license. The Department of Corporations usually conducts confidential investigations where they have jurisdiction, but they may send the complaint the licensee in some cases. Both departments encourage you to file a complaint, even if you are using an attorney or other method of pursuing the claim. 

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Frequently Asked Questions
Frequently Asked Questions

Q: Why choose a Diamond Certified Mortgage Broker?...

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Q: Why choose a Diamond Certified Mortgage Broker?
A: Diamond Certified helps you choose a mortgage broker with confidence by offering a list of top-rated local companies who have passed the country’s most in-depth rating process. Only mortgage brokers rated Highest in Quality earn the prestigious Diamond Certified award. Most companies can’t pass the ratings. American Ratings Corporation also monitors every Diamond Certified company with ongoing research and ratings. And your purchase is backed by the Diamond Certified Performance Guarantee. So you’ll feel confident choosing a Diamond Certified mortgage broker.

Q: What exactly is a mortgage broker and why would I use one?
A: A mortgage broker acts works with a borrower to find loans from many lenders. A mortgage broker has access to a whole network of lenders – whoever they have built relationships with. The bigger the network, the more options a borrower may find. A borrower may work with a mortgage broker when they do like a bank’s offerings, when the bank will not loan to a borrower, or in any case where the borrower wants to look for more loan options than the bank offers. Borrowers can work directly with any lender, of course, as long as they comfortable and the lender will work with them.

Q: What protections do I have as a consumer?
A: Recent laws at both the federal and state level seek to protect consumers in the wake of the financial industry slump caused in part by subprime loan securities. At a federal level, whenever a federal loan is involved, you can request a HUD settlement statement, which outlines the costs of the loan. In California, if your agent is licensed by the Department of Real Estate, your agent must give you a Mortgage Loan Disclosure Statement that discloses the costs of getting the loan. At the federal level, the Good Faith Estimate tells what the loan costs will be and which ones may change, the changes allowed for certain charges, and which fees may change without a cap.

Q: My mortgage broker is a friend. Do I really have to get everything in writing?
A: You will not be able uphold your claims if you don’t get them in writing. Some things during the mortgage search are negotiable – you might be able to negotiate fees with your broker, you might be able to negotiate title fees, you might negotiate a locked in rate and how long that lock-in will last. You might even want to be able to negotiate a change in rate during the lock period if rates fall. No matter what, get everything in writing, and be sure you capture agreed points of negotiation and any changes over time.

Q: My real estate agent says she can help me find a loan. Is this ok?
A: In California, there is no distinction between the real estate license and the mortgage broker license. If the agent is licensed as a real estate broker, she can also broker mortgages.

Q: I am moving to California and I have a broker in my current state whom I like to work with. Can I use my current broker in California?
A: California requires all mortgage brokers to be licensed in the state of California and does not have reciprocity agreements with other states. However, an out-of-state broker can work with a California broker and share the fees.

Q: How much should I expect to pay my mortgage broker?
A: Mortgage brokers are compensated by fees paid by the borrower, fees or commissions paid from the lender, or a combination of the two. You should ask you mortgage broker not only what the fees are, but who is paying them – both you and the lender or just you? As you work through the loan process, you can pay fees for the mortgage broker’s commission, for a credit report, for appraisals, for title searches, for loan applications, and the like. You should check with several mortgage brokers to make sure fees are in the same general ballpark. You should also look at the fee disclosures and question any fees you do not understand. Sometimes fees pass under different names, so it’s impossible to compile a full list of the fees you may be charged.

Q: Are there any benefits to going with a local broker?
A: A local mortgage broker may have some expertise that benefits you. For example, appraisers in your area may use certain terms or categories. A local broker familiar with these terms will be able to explain them to the lender. Also, a local mortgage broker may know that it is common for properties in your area to have private septic tanks and will be able to explain this to the lender, as well. If your area has any local idiosyncrasies, a local mortgage broker may be able to help.

Q: Why do I care who licenses my mortgage broker?
A: In California, mortgage brokers can be licensed by the Department of Real Estate or the Department of Corporations, and the latter has two licenses. You need to know which license your mortgage broker has because it changes the requirement for how they deal with you. For example, if licensed by the Department of Real Estate, the broker must give you a Mortgage Loan Disclosure Statement. Similarly, the Department of Real Estate requires the broker to have an advance fee agreement on file with the department before the broker can charge you any advance fees except the credit report and appraisal. The Department of Corporations requires a written agreement between broker and borrower before advance fees can be charged.

Q: Who is my lender?
A: The mortgage broker most often brokers the loan – that is, finds a lender who will loan under terms the borrower will accept. So your mortgage broker is not the lender. Find out what company or entity is actually loaning you the money and do research on them as well to ensure they are a reputable firm.

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Consumer Agencies
Consumer Agencies

Association of Mortgage Professionals (NAMB) (www.namb.org/namb/Default.asp)
California Association of Mortgage Professionals (CAMP) (www.ca-amp.org/)
California Mortgage Association (CMA) (www.californiamortgageassociation.com/)
California Mortgage Bankers Association (CMBA) (www.cmba.com/new/index.asp)...

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Association of Mortgage Professionals (NAMB) (www.namb.org/namb/Default.asp)
California Association of Mortgage Professionals (CAMP) (www.ca-amp.org/)
California Mortgage Association (CMA) (www.californiamortgageassociation.com/)
California Mortgage Bankers Association (CMBA) (www.cmba.com/new/index.asp)
Department of Corporations (CORP) (www.corp.ca.gov/)
Department of Real Estate (DRE) (www.dre.ca.gov/)
Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA) (www.fhfa.gov/)
National Association of Independent Housing Professionals (NAIHP) (www.naihp.org/)
Nationwide Mortgage Licensing System (NMLS) (www.nmlsconsumeraccess.org/)
upFront Mortgage Brokers (UMBA) (www.upfrontmortgagebrokers.org/)
U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) (portal.hud.gov/hudportal/HUD)

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