The two people who you will get to know very well in a home purchase transaction are your Realtor (hopefully me) and your lender. I always recommend before you start looking for a home that you get pre-qualified first so that you know what price range home you should be looking at. Pre-qualifications by a good, qualified loan officer are much more sound than those done over an internet service because the loan officer can ask and answer questions specific to you. The good thing is that getting pre-qualified is a free service of almost all lenders.
The next step is getting pre-approved which adds credibility to any offer submitted on a home. Being pre-approved basically means you've applied for and have been approved for a mortgage up to a certain dollar value. This doesn't mean you have to spend that much on a home but you will definately know what your upper limit is.
One thing to remember when shopping for a lender is that lowest rate isn't always the least expensive loan. Always look at the APR rate which includes lender expenses.
Some strong advice..... It is very easy to get pre-qualified using the internet these days but be careful. Too many times now I have had excited potential buyers call me asking for help to purchase a home after getting themselves qualified online, only to discover after speaking with a local lender they qualified for much less than were told online or didn't qualify at all because the online questionnaire didn't ask the right questions. Even if you talk to a live person, most of them are reading off of a script and are not qualified professionals. I am a firm believer in using a qualified mortgage lender from the area you are moving to. From a buyers point of view, it gives you the ability to physically meet the person who is going to be instrumental in helping you secure funds for perhaps the largest personal investment of your life. From my point of view as your Realtor, it allows me the ability to promptly interact as needed with your lender vs. waiting for phone calls or faxes.
I have several lenders in the area that will do a great job for you so please feel free to contact me for recommendation.
CURRENT MORTGAGE RATES : The attached link is to be used as a gauge. Whomever actually gets your loan for you will give you the exact rate you are being submitted for. Remember to look at APR's to give you the big picture. Current rates by Bankrate.com