If Lenders compete, your job would be very easy; but, they do not compete with each other. Instead, they hire Loan Officers (LO) who are put on the different commissions. In turn, these Loan Officers (LO) offer different pricing that suits their commission plans.
This explains why you may get a quote when you contact a lender, but it does not mean the lender is offering you that. That lender could have thousands of LO’s who offer slightly different pricing. Examples of Lenders include Wells Fargo, Chase, and Quicken.
Now let’s get to your question. To know what credits you can ask lenders, you have to understand what the lowest rate your risk profile can even qualify for. This is known as the PAR pricing. In other words, PAR is your fair pricing, and you deserve it.
Once you know your PAR pricing, you also need to know the closing cost associated with it. This helps you to figure out how much money is needed. To make closing cost simple, you should always ask for a ZERO-point closing cost. With zero-point closing cost, the lender will front many of the initial closing costs and fees, while charging a slightly higher interest rate over the duration of the loan.
This will even out the playing field and you can focus on the rate by itself. Read more about closing cost here
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This question was initially answered in Quora by our co-founder and mortgage ninja Kevin. View in Quora