Real Estate Tip for Choosing a Lender
For a majority of home buyers, securing a mortgage is one of the most critical steps in the home-buying process. That process starts with finding a lender.  Although it may be tempting to go with the lender who is offering the lowest interest rate on the internet, it may not be the best decision. One of the key things to look for when choosing a lender is to find one that uses local appraisers. A home-buyer may not realize that the lender that they found on the internet could be using an appraiser from another area.
The appraiser is the person who determines whether the value of the prospective home would cover the amount of the loan should a borrower stop making payments. The appraiser uses "comps,",comparable properties in the neighborhood that have recently sold, to determine the relative value of the home in question. If the home's value is not equal to or greater than the requested mortgage amount, the borrower must pay the difference in cash or walk away from the property.
Why is a local appraiser so important? The comps the appraiser selects can greatly impact the estimated value of a home. A non-local appraiser may not be aware of the different neighborhoods within a town nor understand the pricing nuances of each neighborhood. A non-local appraiser may also not consider the importance of a home near a train station or the desirability of a home within walking distance to Maplewood Village. A local appraiser will know the marketing trends and the current inventory, both of which impact the value.  
Local lenders have competitive interest rates, too. As of Thursday June 2, 2016, the average interest rate on a 30-year fixed-rate mortgage is 3.64%.* 
SOMA Open Houses on Sunday, June 5
This Sunday, there are 16 open houses in South Orange and 14 open houses in Maplewood. If you'd like to see the latest inventory in South Orange and Maplewood, please check out the full list of Open Houses on Sunday here. This is a complete list from the Garden State Multiple Listing Service** as of Thursday, June 2, 2016. For up-to-date listing information by neighborhood, visit  
*Based on data from as of 6/2/2016
**Information compiled from the Garden State MLS is deemed reliable but not guaranteed.
Shannon Severin is a long-time resident of South Orange, mom of 3, and real estate agent for Keller Williams Mid-Town Direct specializing in the sale of SOMA homes.