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Whether you’re buying a new home or you’re looking to refinance your current home, chances are you’ll find yourself looking for a mortgage lender. Since the average U.S. home buyer makes mortgage payments for 20-30 years, you want to choose a lender that you can trust.

Although it’s helpful to ask friends for referrals, it’s also a good idea to spend time comparing rates, speaking to lenders and researching which best fit your needs. Not sure where to start? Let these tips guide you in choosing the best mortgage lender for you.

Do your research, learn the jargon and ask a lot of questions.

Before you start shopping around for the perfect mortgage for you, it is important that you know how the mortgage industry works, what to expect and who your biggest advocates will be. While there are several professionals and groups that can help you secure the best mortgage for you, you definitely want to select someone who makes the most sense for you, as well as you trust.

Mortgage brokers are helpful when it comes to comparing different lenders and loans; however, unlike loan officers that work for retail banks, mortgage brokers operate independently. This adds an additional fee to your home buying cost. If this doesn’t sound like the right option for you, and you are willing to find and research these comparisons, the best place to start is to determine which kind of lender you are looking for. Larger lenders may offer you a variety of mortgage options, but a smaller, local lender may give you a more convenient, personalized service.

Lisa Clore, senior vice president and director of mortgage lending for Community Bank, which has 24 branches across Pennsylvania, Ohio and West Virginia, encourages those seeking a mortgage to “research, ask a lot of questions and be sure you talk to a local branch.”

Determine what kind of mortgage product is best for you.

Depending on if you’re looking to purchase a new home, land to build on, refinance or a variety of other situations, there might be a different kind of mortgage product for you. Different lending situations warrant a variety of interest rates, program details and payment plans.

For example, Community Bank offers the following types of mortgage products:

• First-time home buyer program

• Conventional 15, 20 and 30 year terms

• Construction loans, with as little as five percent down, single close and interest only for up to 12 months for the contractor to complete the home

• 100 percent financing loans

• Jumbo mortgages - loans more than $484,350.00

• Vacant land loans - 35 percent down and 10 years repayment period

• Bridge or Swing loans

• Rural economic and community development loan programs

• Doublewides, log homes, working farm, modular and vacation home loans

By comparing the different types of mortgage products, as well as lenders, you can better determine which best fits your plans. You might be surprised to find out, for instance, that you’re better off with a higher down payment and small monthly payments - or that a different type of mortgage loan is best for you overall.

“Request cost sheets to do a comparison of fees and rates,” said Lisa.”Many buyers finance with the FHA program when they could possibly qualify for a conventional mortgage.”

Find a lending partner who is knowledgeable and you can trust.

“You want to be confident that you are provided with the best program, best rates, and that your lender is available throughout the whole process to answer questions,” said Lisa.”At Community Bank, you work with the same person from the time of your application through the closing. We are there to guide you every step of the way. Our goal is to earn your trust for your future banking needs, we want to be your bank!”

By selecting a company with a strong history and ties to the local community, you can feel confident your finances are in the right hands. “The knowledge and experience the Community Bank team has is beyond compare,” said Lisa.”Many of our team members have more than 30 years in the business. They have extensive knowledge in the products themselves and the back end operations.”

When a client chooses Community Bank they are guaranteed to work with a local representative who not only has great relationships and involvement in the local community, but is also there to educate and help make a seemingly overwhelming process a little less daunting.

Community Bank makes purchasing or refinancing your home convenient and easy.

You may apply 24 hours a day, seven days a week at your convenience at www.communitybank.tv.

Sponsored content brought to you by Community Bank.