Before working with a broker, take the time to talk with two or three of that broker's most recent clients. Ask if they received the same type of loan the broker promised, if the costs were in line with their expectations, if interest-rate lock-ins were obtained without delay and if the closing was smooth and on time. Even if you decide to work with a mortgage broker, your time spent shopping other lenders will help you judge whether the product the broker comes up with is indeed the best deal for you.
A real estate agent helps you find a house, a lender makes buying (financing) the house possible. As soon as you find your agent, he or she will most certainly have a lender or three to recommend. The lender’s responsibility will be to take all your financials (tax documents, pay stubs, etc.) and determine how much (if any!) to lend. If the lender drags their heels in any way, it can gum up the works! So be sure to do a bit of research in the form of referrals. Still not sure? Run their name and/or company through Google and see what pops up.
Be prepared for the lender to ask for a lot of personal information from you. You might get frustrated during this process, but just remember your ultimate goal . . .