If you are going to need to borrow money to buy real estate, then this is what you need to have a look at to keep yourself safe.
If you are using a real estate agent who is also a real estate lender, I'd not take part in that.
There could be too much "conflict of interest" in using the same agent to procure a home loan and to represent you as the home buyer.
I do one thing well, that is represent home buyers of Santa Clarita real estate. I know enough about loans to tell my clients if they are getting robbed or getting a good deal. But, more than that - I'm not that expert.
There are mainline banks, there are mortgage lenders and there are direct lenders.
Mainline banks are Citi Bank, Chase, Wells Fargo, and Bank of America. They can lend you money to buy a home, condo, or townhome. They are mainly 9-5 M-F operations and in most cases, you may not be able to contact anyone from those entities with questions over a weekend, during holidays, or after hours.
Credit unions are the same, in fact, in most cases, credit unions are mostly automated at the beginning process of finding out what you can qualify for when it comes to wanting to buy real estate.
I have found being an H.R. Police officer (honorably retired), there were a lot of "captive" people taken advantage of my employer-based credit unions. Just watch out and make sure you are getting at least a "second opinion" or talking with a real estate professional like me that knows a thing or two about the lending process and fee structure.
It's important to have your lender available on holidays, after hours, and on weekends. You will need to bounce scenarios off of them. You will have questions after looking at homes on a Saturday at 7 pm. You will also need a pre-approval letter or letters to match the price that you happen to be offering when we find you that home you want to buy.
Mortgage brokers seem to be the most nimble, and in most cases the best deals. Most mortgage brokers are also direct lenders, which means they lend their own money to home buyers if the buyers fit their strict criteria.
This even applies to the VA - Veterans Administration loans. We had a client recently where both parties are VA, both are retired military, they have access to a VA loan and had a "VA specific lender" they had located in the midwest.
That lender was gouging them with fees, points, and interest rates. I spoke with them about checking with another lender to compare, and they walked away with a much better "family" type deal. Lower interest rate, in fact, the actual market interest rate with a Zero fee Veterans Loan.
Most agents know lenders who will compete with others to give you the best deal.
When you are buying a home, you don't pay your real estate agent's fee. I get paid by the home seller, no matter who that home seller is. Whether my seller or not. The home seller always includes a commission to pay their agent and a commission to pay the buyer's (your) agent.
I tell you this because you do have to pay your lender to get you a loan. You may as well get your best deal all around on a home loan.
There is more to talk with you about when it comes to lending and the questions to ask a lender. I will save this information for when you call me and I'll give you the run down at that time.
Be well, I'll be here when you are ready.