Good Experiences/Rates with DC mortgage lenders?

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Topic: Good Experiences/Rates with DC mortgage lenders?

Real Estate January 31, 2012 at 8:26 am

Good Experiences/Rates with DC mortgage lenders?

I’m just starting the process for buying my first home in DC (and taking extremely tiny baby steps). I’ve taken the pre-purchase orientation offered by Housing Counseling Services (a great resources if you haven’t heard about it– So my next step is talking to a lender about how much said bank will loan me for a mortgage.
So, PoPville community–have you worked with any stellar lenders who (a) were easy to work with (b) very transparent about the process and (c) gave you a decent rate?

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I had a very easy time with Patrick Collins from First Savings in DC.  As a smaller, local lender, I felt more in touch with the process and Patrick.  He was also able to streamline some processes and to provide a loan where larger lenders, hamstrung by Fannie Mae rules, could not.  He is very responsive as well, which is extremely important to me.  I had the fortune of having had him recommended to me by my real estate agent (who in turn had been recommended to me by a larger lender I chose not to use.), and the two of them worked very well together.  His contact info is:
703-564-1756 Phone
703-564-1786 Fax
703-282-5982 Mobile
[email protected]

Its been years but I worked with Rosemary Ellis at Suntrust.  her # is 202 624-1273.  I used Housing Counseling Services as well and it was quite helpful. The best piece of advice I can give you is to tell you that only YOU can decide whats afordable, don’t let a lender tell you that you can afford more.  I couldn’t believe what some lenders were willing to loan me when I only made $54k/year.  Good Luck! 


I second the First Savings recommendation.  I worked with Wendy Steinberg.  I would also recommend talking with your realtor.  Ours had a good relationship with Wendy and that helped get her to move a little more quickly.  Also do some shopping.  I got another rate from someone and got Wendy to match it.


Eric Gates at Apex Home Loans did a couple of refi’s for us. I highly recommend him.


I realize that I’m not directly answering your questions, but I do have some advice to offer as a somewhat recent first-time home buyer (and even more recent refinancer). When I originally purchased my home, I used a local lender recommended by my realtor. In the end, I never met with the lender face-to-face because it was easy enough to handle everything over the phone and by email/fax. A few months ago, I decided to refinance because rates were so low. I obtained a quote from my original lender, but also shopped around. What I learned (and what I wish I knew back when I obtained my original mortgage) was that rates are generally consistent from lender to lender but fees vary tremendously–and are almost always negotiable. The refinance deal from my original lender included about $10,000 in various closing fees. The lender I ended up using paid everything (and I mean actually paid…I didn’t buy points or roll the fees into the loan). In this “borrower’s market,” you really shouldn’t be paying any closing fees. If your lender won’t negotiate with you, you’re probably getting ripped off. I used Google’s Mortgage Advisor (which has sadly been discontinued) to compare various lender offers, but I’m sure other online lender comparison sites exist. In the end I used RoundPoint Mortgage Company. From start to finish, a team of three or four people worked with me through the various steps. All were extremely responsive and available to answer any questions that I had. Communication via phone and email is actually much more convenient for this type of thing than in-person meetings and postal mail. So, all of this to say: shop around. It saved me over $10,000, and had I know when I originally obtained the mortgage, I would have saved twice that amount. A lender should provide you with a GFE (good faith estimate) which discloses all closing costs. Comparing GFEs is the only way you can really know if you’re getting the best deal. If a lender won’t provide a GFE, they probably have something to hide. Asking for a GFE does not commit you to a lender (although some will try to make you think it does). Good luck, and don’t be afraid to keep asking questions. It’s a stressful process and all seems to happen at once, so you’re already a step ahead by doing your research now.

(Just a note about RoundPoint: after you close, they’ll likely sell your mortgage to Chase. This is how they make their money, but it doesn’t change any of the terms or conditions of your loan–just where you send the check.)

I used Krista Ellis at Bank of America on a recommendation from my realtor. She was responsive and helpful, walking me through the process as a first time buyer.
Per the previous poster’s comments, BoA negotiated a bit on fees (maybe a couple hundred bucks?) but they were the only ones that would do so!
Incidentally, Krista was recommended by my realtor ( who was also great to work with as a first time buyer – I know several folks who have used both Kevin and Krista and were happy with them!


I used Tim Smith at West Star Mortgage ( (703)-497-3977. He was great. We submitted an inquiry on Lending Tree and he was the first to get back to us. We didn’t have the benefit of a realtor and Tim really made the whole process quite smooth and, in my opinion, went above and beyond what a lender should do in terms of helping us out with the actual buying process and dealing with the seller’s realtor. I second the comment above about the fees – that is where the real differences come in in terms of closing costs, etc. Many lenders will give you a credit, but you can also ask for money back, or for the seller to pay closing costs. Tim took the time to help us understand all of our options and figure out what worked best, and was the most cost effective choice, for us. Our mortgage did get sold shortly thereafter, but that is pretty common with smaller lenders and we haven’t had any issues in that regard.

I’m curious – has anyone used a credit union to secure a mortgage? If so, what were the advantages/disadvantages?

I really appreciate everyone’s input and advice. Thank you for all your help!

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