We are currently in the market to buy a new home, and it's our first time dealing with shopping for mortgages. Our realtor put me in touch with her brokerage partner, and I've also been in touch with my bank (I plan on talking to other banks as well).
Both the broker and my bank are, obviously, eagerly trying to get my business. I was trying to just get the pre-qualification process done, but they both went into the pre-approval process (fee free). Credit reports have been run, good faith estimates provided, etc. Both have pre-approved us, and are now asking for all the fun documentation like W-2's, bank statements, and tax returns. I haven't actually signed anything with anyone, but I'm concerned that I'm going too far down the application process with each party simultaneously.
I've read this Q&A, which indicates I can change my mind which bank to use as long as I haven't signed anything indicating a commitment, and I fully expect that to be the case. I don't see any harm in providing the documents to all of them, but I want to make sure I'm not overlooking something or going too far into the process to be able to back out if I find a better option.
At this point, both parties have come back with exactly the same interest rates (3.5%), with the only variance being a slightly lower closing cost at the broker because of a discount for using the realtor. I don't foresee finding a lower interest rate on a 30 year loan in this market, so really I'm just hoping to find an option with the lowest closing costs and best customer experience.
TL;DR How far through the mortgage application process should I go if I'm talking to multiple banks simultaneously?