You should discuss your financial situation in detail with a mortgage lender before you shop for a home. By enlisting this critical member of your real estate team in advance, you will benefit by having a realistic assessment of your price range before you shop.
You should also consider submitting a formal application for written loan pre-approval. This will give you the ability to shop with confidence and may give you an edge with home sellers.
When speaking with prospective lenders, ask about all loan costs and fees, not just interest rate and service charges (AKA points). Find out whether a prospective lender can realistically meet your closing time frame and that of any financing contingency you may have.
Once you have selected a lender:
Review the "good faith estimate" of closing costs supplied by the lender to verify that the various fees charged by the lender are consistent with those you were quoted
Ask your lender in advance what documentation you will need to supply and come prepared to the application meeting
Make sure you do not lock in a rate which will expire before your contract closing date
If your lender suggests a co-signer, or a particular method of holding title, consult with your attorney before agreeing
Find out whether your lender will require escrows (reserves) for property taxes, insurance or private mortgage insurance
To avoid delays, resist the urge to continue shopping with other lenders for a better rate once you have applied
If you are told you are approved, expect to see a written commitment and scrutinize it for conditions to be fulfilled (e.g., appraisal, explanation letters, copies of checks) before the commitment is binding on your lender
Your Exclusive Buyer's Broker is familiar with the mortgage loan process and can help you understand the information you get from your lender and can work with your lender to keep the closing on schedule.