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Computer search helps buyer find best home loan

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With home sales on the rise, buyers now face a major problem: how to obtain the best possible financing for their newly purchased home in today's highly diversified home mortgage market.

A few years ago, for example, there were about a dozen basic forms of home-mortgage loans available. Today there are more than 200. And the terms for individual loan types can vary widely from lender to lender.

The fact is, it's a very competitive field.

With dozens of lenders in major markets offering such diverse loans, how can a home buyer be sure he's getting the right loan to meet his need at the most favorable terms possible?

A newly launched computerized program is helping buyers achieve this goal quickly and easily.

Take the case of the Watson family of Van Nuys, Calif., in the central San Fernando Valley. The Watsons were about to start contacting the many lenders operating in the valley as well as throughout the entire Los Angeles area so as to find the best possible loan. First, however, they decided to ask their real-estate broker for advice.

The broker took the Watsons into his firm's computer-conference room where he fed the basic facts and requirements into a computer, such as the amount of loan required, property description, type of loan, etc.

Within seconds, the computer printed out all the terms of the three currently available home loans which were most desirable for the Watsons. It was the best offerings from most of the major home-mortgage lenders in that entire marketing area.

Instead of spending a week visiting with loan officers in more than 50 lending institutions, the Watsons had detailed information on the best possible loans to meet their needs in one brief office session.

The unique computerized information service is provided by the San Fernando Valley Board of Realtors, the largest such board in the country.

Known as the Financial Access Program, this innovative service, launched in mid-January, already has received strong response from both home buyers and lenders, according to Robert Adamson, executive vice-president of the San Fernando Valley Board of Realtors. Its success is expected to spark similar information programs in other marketing areas from coast to coast.

Basically, the program works this way:

The home-mortgage lenders in the area - savings-and-loan associations, banks, and mortgage bankers - provide detailed information to the board of Realtors on the kinds of loans they offer. This can be revised and updated on a daily basis by telephone.

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