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I have a few questions on trying to get my first mortgage (30 year, fixed rate). I'm first doing some comparisons using these two online tools:

https://www.zillow.com/mortgage-rates

http://www.bankrate.com/mortgage.aspx

Should I be sorting by APR value first, then by fees? I assume a lower APR in the long run will save more money than saving $2k in fees, for example.

Assuming I find a rate+fee combo that seems good to me, I'll have to get in touch with them, which will probably result in a credit check on me (lowering my score). So if I do that with a few options, and each run a credit check, won't my score be getting worse and worse as I shop around?

Thanks

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Your headline question "How do you find best mortgage without damaging credit score?" has a simple answer.

  • you go to annualcreditreport.com and make sure the report is accurate.
  • then go to Credit Karma and see what your FICO score is.
  • do the math, understanding what it takes to be approved for a well qualified loan. 28% of monthly gross pay to the mortgage, tax, and insurance, 36% total for all debt service.

If you have all your ducks in a row, and know what you are doing, you will get qualified. If you are like a recent client of mine, low FICO, low downpayment, random income, you might have issues. If your self-prequalification is good, you are in control, go find the best rate/ total cost, no need to put in multiple applications. If, for some reason you do, FICO sees that you are shopping for a single loan, and you are not dinged.

  • For the "go find the best rate/total cost" - does that mean go to somewhere like bankrate.com, trust the best offers there, pick the best one, then start the application process with them? My realtor recommended someone from "Total Mortgage Services", first step is filling out an application for which has this at the bottom "Please check this box if you give me permission to pull a Tri-Merged Credit Report.". Not sure if I should bother proceeding with them, or just pick the best listed result from bankrate.com? – user1219278 May 21 '16 at 20:09
  • The point is you should be able to get all the information about all the mortgages you might be interested in without them having to do a credit check. When you've picked the one you want, apply for it. Unless you have miscalculated you should get it. – DJClayworth May 23 '16 at 2:45
  • Ok I see, the first contact I was put in touch with did not make it clear that they could give me a rate without running a credit check. – user1219278 May 23 '16 at 3:54

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