WTF Should I do when shopping Loan Estimates from different lenders?

Jeffrey Loyd
10 min readJan 25, 2022
Photo by Anna Shvets from Pexels

Glad you asked…

We’re told to get at least a couple of quotes to get a good deal on a mortgage. That’s good advice. We have a couple of Loan Estimates. Now what?

Let’s first make sure we are comparing the same loan on both Loan Estimates.

Starting on the first page, in the upper left corner, you’ll see the date, your name as the borrower, the property address and the value of the home. Both Loan Estimates should have this information.

Next in the upper right hand corner, you’ll see the loan terms. The purpose should match. If you are purchasing a new home, both should say “Purchase.” If you want a fixed rate, be sure it says fixed rate.

Check the program matches for both. Whether it’s Conventional, FHA, VA, or Other — both Loan Estimates should match. Each lender will have their own loan number — don’t worry about that.

Moving to the product, first confirm if it’s fixed or adjustable. Next double check the length of the loan in years. Are they both the length you desire? Don’t compare a 30 year fixed rate to a 15 year fixed rate thinking you are looking at the same loan. Those are different loans.

Now check whether the rate is locked (or not locked). Often the rate will not be locked since you haven’t provided your intent to proceed.

If any of the above things are different from what you expected, you’re going to want to speak with your loan officer. You aren’t comparing the same loan between two lenders.

Detail of CFPB Sample Loan Estimate page 1

Moving down, you have the loan amount, you want to double check that it’s what you think it should be. To double check the loan amount, you may need to subtract your down payment from the house price or multiply by the down payment percentage.

The first time you see your payment, it’s the mortgage payment only. This payment does not include property taxes or homeowners insurance. Since lenders may estimate those amounts differently when you are buying a house, it’s best to compare this payment to other Loan