Frequently Asked Questions
Creating a Loan Request
Q: How do I get started?
A: It’s simple. Go to www.costcofinance.com or from the Costco member home page (www.costco.com), click on the SERVICES tab and select Mortgage Program. Once on the Mortgage Program webpage, complete the form describing your mortgage loan scenario which will enable you to receive a number of competitive quotes from lenders within seconds.
Q: Can I mail, email or fax in my loan request?
A: No. We do not accept mail, email or fax loan requests. We are committed to providing you the mortgage information you need, quickly and accurately. However, if you are struggling with how to complete the online request form, simply click the “Member Support and Assistance” link. You can then contact a support representative via telephone or email to obtain the support you need.
Q: How do I cancel my loan request?
A: If unfortunately you need to cancel your loan request after you have accepted a loan quote, you must contact the lender you’ve been matched with directly. The lender’s contact information is included in the details of your loan quote.
Q: How do I compare loan quotes?
A: It’s important that you evaluate all of the terms of each quote before choosing the one that’s best for you. You can easily compare the interest rate, APR, points, loan amount, loan term and other loan quote details on the Mortgage Programs results page.
Q: What if I don’t have an email address?
A: The Mortgage Program is designed to notify you via email; however, if you are not able to provide an email address, the lenders you have selected will contact you at the telephone number you have provided.
Q: How secure will my information be?
A: The Mortgage Program site uses secure technology to ensure that the data you send us is protected, confidential and secure. While your personal information and loan request details will never be shared with any parties other than the lender(s) you’ve selected, under the Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA) Credit Reporting Companies are permitted to include your name on lists which are sold to creditors and marketing companies. You can easily have your name removed from these lists by going to www.optoutprescreen.com and opting out from unwanted solicitations.
Q: What if I do not get matched with a lender?
A: If your initial loan request does not match you to a lender who can meet your needs, you can continue to modify your loan detail and resubmit your request. If we still can’t match your loan request to a lender, please contact a support representative by clicking on “Member Support and Assistance” link at the bottom of each page and they will help you contact a lender who may be able to address your specific needs
Q: What if I don’t want to give you my social security number?
A: While we do not ask for or allow you to provide your social security number on the loan request form, once you choose a lender, this information will be needed by the lender to receive a credit file from the credit reporting agency. Your credit file is required by the lender to process your loan request.
Q: Will you share or sell my information?
Working with Mortgage Program Lenders
Q: What types of Lenders are associated with the Mortgage Program?
A: Participating lenders participating in the Mortgage Program include top national banks (depository institutions) and mortgage bankers. All lenders go through a rigorous evaluation process before being selected to participate. Mortgage brokers, those who do not lend directly to borrowers, are not included in the program.
Q: Are the rates offered considered best and final?
A: Because the market and interest rates can increase and decrease so quickly, the rates offered on the website are not considered best and final; however the platform providing this service uses real-time data which reflects a good representation of rates currently available.
Q: Am I obligated to accept a loan quote?
A: You are under no obligation to accept any of the loan quotes presented to you on the Mortgage Programs website. However, if you do accept a loan quote and would like to proceed with a loan application, you may be obligated to pay a fee to begin the process.
Q: Can I negotiate directly with the lenders?
A: Absolutely! You are under no obligation to accept a lender’s first offer. However, participating lenders on the Mortgage Program are held to very strict pricing and fee standards which limit their ability to negotiate a lower fee or rate.
Q: Do you have lenders who deal with less-than-perfect credit?
A: Yes! We have lenders who work with borrowers across all credit profiles. Although we can’t guarantee that you’ll get a loan offer given the credit range you provide, the Mortgage Program is designed to match your loan request with available lenders and products available in their program areas. If you need special assistance, please click on the “Member Support and Assistance” link and a support representative will direct you to the lender of your choice or the next available lender.
Q: I’ve accepted a loan quote. How do I close the loan?
A: After you have accepted a loan quote, you will need to communicate with the lender directly (via mail, email or phone) to complete the loan process. If you have any issues, please feel free to contact a support representative using the “Member Support and Assistance” link. You can register your concern and we will respond back promptly, or we will help you work with the lender directly to address your concerns.
Q: What is included in Lender Fees?
A: Lender Fees are associated with closing on a mortgage and typically include application, commitment and processing fees. These fees cover costs incurred by the lender to process, approve and complete the origination of the loan. They do not include fees paid to 3rd party vendors, such as property valuations or credit reports.
Q: What are your closing costs?
A: Lender Fees have been capped at $350 for Executive members and $650 for all other members. In addition, the borrower will pay for what is typically called 3rd party fees, such as appraisal, title, and credit report. These fees vary based on the details of your loan. All out of pocket expenses, lender fees and closing costs will be discussed and disclosed with you at the time of application.
Q: Do Participating Lenders service or sell the loan after it closes?
A: The mortgage industry, inclusive of Banks, Credit Unions, and Mortgage Bankers, has a long history of selling mortgages after they are closed and funded. Therefore, while some of the loans provided to you by a Participating Lender may also be serviced by that lender, the majority are likely to be sold on the secondary market and serviced by another organization.
Q: Does each lender I receive a quote from pull my credit report and does it affect my credit score?
A: A lender is not allowed to pull your credit without written or verbal approval from the member who is applying for a mortgage. Once you’ve received a loan quote through the website and are working with a lender, each lender will follow their own policy regarding pulling credit. Some may pull your credit before they make you a loan offer; others may pull your credit after you have accepted their offer. Presently, Fair Isaac Corporation (the company that provides “FICO” credit scores) treats multiple inquiries from auto, mortgage or student loan lenders within a short period of time as a single inquiry. For these types of loans, the FICO score ignores inquiries made in the 30 days prior to scoring. FICO scores calculated from older versions of the scoring formula use a 14 day span. For FICO scores calculated from the newest versions of the scoring formula, this shopping period is any 45 day span. Each lender chooses which version of the FICO scoring formula it wants the credit reporting agency to use to calculate your FICO score. However, if you apply for multiple new credit lines in a short period of time (as opposed to rate shopping for a single loan), your FICO score can be lowered.
Q: What is an adjustable rate mortgage?
A: Adjustable-rate mortgages, or ARMs, generally provide lower initial interest payments than fixed-rates. People who do not plan to stay in their home for very long may choose an ARM loan. ARMs lack the security of steady payments and buyers need to be prepared for a larger payment after the initial interest rate period. Consumers have some protection on the amount the rate can increase.
Q: What is APR?
A: The Annual Percentage Rate (APR) is the total cost of financing over the life of the loan, expressed as an annual rate. The Interest rate, or Note Rate, is the cost you will pay each year to borrow the money. The APR includes not just the cost of the interest, but other items like origination points, mortgage insurance, and other costs of obtaining the loan. For this reason, the APR is usually higher than the Note Rate, but that is not always the case, especially with Adjustable Rate Mortgages (ARMs).
Q: What is a FICO score?
A: A FICO score is a credit score derived from the credit model developed by Fair Isaac Corporation. The FICO score is the best-known credit score in the United States, and a version of the FICO score calculated by all three of the major credit bureaus from reported information. A higher FICO score indicates better credit, and a FICO score below 600 is considered poor. The most important factor in determining a FICO score is past payment punctuality. The percentage of credit limit used is another critical parameter in the FICO score models, with a penalty for using too much of available credit. These two factors are given a total weight of around two thirds in determining the typical individual’s FICO score. Other major FICO score variables include length of credit history and types of credit used. Bankruptcy, foreclosure, court judgments, and tax liens receive a strong FICO score penalty, especially when recent.
Q: Does having a co-borrower improve my chances of finding a loan?
A: Including a co-borrower on your loan request may or may not affect your ability to qualify for offers. Lenders are required to consider the credit reports, income, assets, debt and other information for all borrowers identified on an application. Before you decide whether or not to include a co-borrower on your loan request, consider your combined financial picture and the credit (FICO score) of those you may list on the application.
Q: How do I determine my credit score?
A: There are many ways to get information on your credit, but not all include a credit score. Every 12 months you can request a free credit report from any of the nationwide consumer credit reporting companies – Equifax, Experian and TransUnion. After you receive the report, you have the opportunity to also purchase a credit score. You may also find other resources to get your credit score, some requiring a credit card and some offering a “free credit score” which may be tied to other offers.
Q: What is a typical down payment?
A: Most lenders generally require a down payment of 20%; and if you are unable to contribute 20% towards the purchase price of a house, lenders will require you to pay for private mortgage insurance (PMI). There are a variety of mortgage products which allow a lower down payment. There are also a number of programs to assist first-time homebuyers with their down payment.
Q: What are discount points?
A: Discount Points are used to “buy” down your interest rate which will lower your payment. A general rule of thumb is that one full Discount Point will lower your fixed interest rate .250% or your adjustable rate .375%.
Q: What is a fixed rate mortgage?
A: Fixed-rate loans are the most common type of home loan. A fixed rate mortgage usually runs for terms of 15 or 30 years. Applying for a fixed-rate loan means you will have the same monthly payment and the same interest rate over the life of your mortgage.
Q: What is a FHA Loan?
A: An FHA loan is a government mortgage that is insured by the Federal Housing Administration (FHA). These loans have been insured by the FHA since the creation of the agency in 1934. Since then, various Housing and Community Development Acts have been passed which have slightly altered the laws regarding FHA loans. FHA loans have been particularly helpful for individuals who otherwise would not have been able to secure a loan from another source due to low income or high risk. The Mortgage Insurance Premium (MIP) fee is a charge to the borrower to secure a loan from FHA. There is a one-time, up-front MIP payment as well as a monthly recurring charge.
Q: What is a definition for the fair market value of a home?
A: There are numerous definitions but in general the fair market value of a home is the price at which the home passes from a willing seller to a willing buyer. This definition is based on the assumption that both buyer and seller are rational and they have a reasonable knowledge of relevant facts. In short, it is the value a person should expect to receive when selling or buying your home under normal conditions with full disclosure. There are a number of online resources which MAY give you an indication of the value of a home or property but are rarely exact and should not be considered the true market value.
Q: What is a Mortgage Appraisal?
A: A mortgage appraisal is a written analysis of the estimated value of a property, and is a binding assurance to the lender of a home’s value as prepared by a licensed or authorized appraiser. The appraisal fee is typically paid by the buyer when purchasing or refinancing a home.
Q: How is an appraisal developed or generated?
A: A real estate appraisal is comprised from information from a wide variety of sources, including the local Multiple Listing Service, local tax assessor records, local real estate professionals, county courthouse records, private “public record” data vendors, interviews with sellers and buyers, appraisal data co-operatives and the appraisers own personal knowledge or office files from previous appraisals. The quality and reliability of each piece of information is considered by the appraiser and based on their experience and knowledge of the local market helps them derive a fair value for the lender and the homeowner.
Q: How can I join the Affiliate Program?
A: Email email@example.com for information on what is required to qualify and become a participating lender.