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Selecting a Mortgage Provider

You need to get your house painted and you get three bids – do you take the lowest bid? Buying a new refrigerator and debating between 2 brands with the same features – do you buy the cheapest? Is your car repaired at the shop that has the lowest hourly rates for its mechanics?

If you are a smart consumer, the answer to all these questions in a resounding “no”, as you know that price is only part of the picture when shopping for a product or service. As the saying goes – “cheaper in not always better”. As a consumer, you want value for your money. Yet, I am continually amazed at consumers who shop for a mortgage loan concerned only with price – the lowest interest rate and/or lowest closing costs.

When looking for a mortgage provider, the following are questions you should ask, and suggestions on how to select a mortgage provider.

How long have you been in the mortgage business?

Whether you are dealing with a mortgage lender or mortgage broker, there will be one person who will be your initial and primary contact person, and will ultimately be responsible for seeing that you obtain the loan. This person could go by various names -  “loan officer”, “loan originator”, or “mortgage representative”. In the case of a smaller mortgage company the person you deal with could be the owner of the company. 

In the mortgage business, there is no substitute for experience. As with any profession, with experience comes the knowledge of how to deal with various scenarios. After 30 years in the mortgage business I still occasionally run across a situation that I have never encountered. And if this happens to me, can you imagine how many times it will happen to someone who has been in the business for a lesser period of time?

Having the experience to deal with a unique situation – whether it involves the borrower’s financial situation, the property, or the transaction in general – could make the difference on whether or not you obtain the loan, the interest rate you pay, or how smoothly the transaction proceeds.

Experience is also important in obtaining the right loan for a consumer’s particular situation. There are literally hundreds of different loan programs available to consumers, and it is important that the mortgage person can analyze your specific financial situation, your financial goals, and obtain the right mortgage loan for you. 

Is your company a broker or a lender?

Most independent mortgage experts will tell you that you are better off dealing with a mortgage broker and not a mortgage lender. A broker can usually provide lower prices and better loan product selection than a lender.

Are you an Upfront Mortgage Brokertm?

An Upfront Mortgage Broker is a new type of mortgage broker that provides consumers with significant advantages over the traditional mortgage broker.

Will you operate as a independent contractor or will you by my agent?  

The optimal arrangement for a borrower is to hire a mortgage broker as their agent and to utilize the shopping expertise of a broker.  Utilizing an agent, and not an independent contractor, will provide a borrower with the best opportunity to obtain the lowest “price" on a mortgage loan. And, the mortgage broker agent has an obligation to provide un-biased advice to the borrower throughout the process, with always the borrower’s best interests in mind.

Do you have formalized Service Standards that will ensure the transaction proceeds smoothly and key events happen on time?  

If the loan you are seeking is to purchase a property, it is essential that certain events occur during the mortgage loan process, and these events happen on time. Failure on the part of the mortgage provider to perform these actions in a timely manner could have severe, negative consequences to the homebuyer. You should chose a mortgage provider who has written, specific service standards


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