Searching the internet for reviews prior to a purchase has become a large phenomenon over the last few years. So it’s no surprise that you would seek out mortgage lender reviews now that you are looking to buy a home. But how reliable are the online reviews?

In general, reviews tend to be heavily negative. We, as people, are more motivated to write about a negative experience than a positive one. This could have been brought on by a bad day, a misunderstanding, or an actual terrible experience. On the other end of the spectrum, highly positive reviews are usually incentivized in some way. This naturally inflates the review. It is important to take a multi-faceted approach when deciding on a mortgage lender. This can be done with research, online reviews, personal recommendations and more.

Research is extremely crucial. Make sure to do the research on what to look for in a mortgage and in a lender. Find out what other people in similar financial situations to yours are paying for a mortgage. Know what rates are dangerously high or suspiciously too low. Look into local options. Local mortgage lenders are a viable option, as they know the area and usually can take the time to provide personalized attention. With knowledge of area and the market, it makes it easier for them to identify a mortgage that will best fit your needs.

Online reviews are a good place to start; however, they should be taken with a grain of salt. Use them more as a notice of what to stay away from and what to look for. A great alternative to using online reviews is to use personal reviews. Gather mortgage lender reviews from people within your network. People within your network probably had similar needs to yours and will have had a similar experience to yours. Those you are connected to can suggest a local company either they or someone in their network has tried. Gather many personal recommendations. Ask around!

Finally, make a list of your must haves. Fill this list with your needs. If the prospective lender does not have one of the items on your list then rule that company out. Then make a list of what you do not want. Include what you want to avoid, red flags to steer away from, and anything not within your financial budget. Finally create a list of preferences. Fill this list with what you would like to have but are not essential to your mortgage purchasing process. This is a highly personalized process, and you want to make sure you’re getting what you need from your lender.

If you’re starting to research mortgage lenders and start the home buying process, use this information as a guide and download our First Time Home Buyer Education eBook for further reference!