I have always advised consumers who need a mortgage to decide early on whether they wanted to shop for one themselves or retain an expert to shop for them. Shopping for a mortgage is very different from shopping for a mortgage expert. Those who would likely do better retaining an expert may be uncomfortable with the bargaining and confrontations that may be associated with effective shopping; or they may know very little about mortgages and disinclined to invest the time required to learn more. My practice has been to recommend that such borrowers seek out an Upfront Mortgage Broker (UMB). UMBs practice full transparency in pricing their services. The borrower and UMB agree in advance (in writing) on the UMB's fee, which includes any payments received by the broker from the lender. The UMB passes through the wholesale price to the borrower. This approach converts the broker from an independent contractor to the de facto agent of the borrower, although the relationship may ...
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