Do's & Don'ts For Mortgage Loan Shopping

Finding an affordable home loan with fair terms and reasonable costs is a crucial step towards achieving home ownership. Mortgage loans are available from several different types of lenders: commercial banks, mortgage companies, and credit unions. Different lenders may quote you different prices so you need to shop around. 
You can also get a home loan through a mortgage broker. Brokers arrange transactions rather than lending money directly. While a good mortgage broker can shop your loan among several lenders, it's important to understand that brokers don't have special access to deals that are unavailable elsewhere. And a broker is not obligated to find the deal that is best for you. Some have been known to pair a borrower with the mortgage that offers the broker the greatest profit, instead of the lowest cost to the borrower.
Today’s real estate market is very complex. Whether you are sophisticated in the field of real estate finance, or if this is your first experience, you should retain the services of an Arizona Mortgage Lender Association (AMLA) member lender.

These members subscribe to a Code of Ethics and must adhere to the stringent regulations of the Department of Financial Institutions (DFI). All companies doing mortgage lending in the State of Arizona must be licensed by DFI. Choose an AMLA lender for a great home buying experience.


  • DO check to make sure the company you are doing business with is licensed by the Department of Financial Institutions. They can be reached at 602/255-4421 or visit their website at
  • DO obtain referrals by speaking with Realtors®, friends, co-workers, neighbors and family. Start with mortgage companies that these people have had good experiences with.
  • DO ask if the mortgage company is affiliated with industry associations. Do their loan officers have experience and education?
  • DO obtain a second or third opinion.
  • DO ask questions if you don’t understand something.
  • DO ask if there is a pre-payment penalty.
  • DO ask if escrows are included or excluded in the new mortgage payment.
  • DO business with a loan originator who asks lots of questions BEFORE quoting an interest rate.
  • DO be prepared to answer questions about your employment, income, credit history and the property you wish to purchase or refinance.
  • DO consider how much you wish to pay per month.
  • DO understand that you may qualify for loan and payments that are more than you wish to spend.
  • DO be skeptical of anyone who tells you that they can get you approved when no one else can.
  • DO obtain a signed lock letter when you decide to lock an interest rate.


  • DON’T accept an interest rate without disclosure of the closing costs.
  • DON’T pay money up front to a loan originator (except for credit report and appraisal).
  • DON’T sign documents that offer loan terms that are not what you expected.
  • DON’T assume that you can change the terms of a written agreement after you sign it no matter what anyone tells you.
  • DON’T overdo shopping for a mortgage provider. You’ll drive yourself crazy.
  • DON’T be pressured to sign a contract for obligation to pay a mortgage provider if the loan does not close.

Do's and Don'ts provided by AMLA: Arizona Mortgage Lenders Consumer Tools

Related Resources

Financial crimes are one of the fastest growing areas of criminal activity in the United States and one of the fastest growing areas of financial crimes is mortgage fraud.