So, you’ve made the decision to buy a home or to refinance the mortgage on one you already own. Now all you need to do is find the right lender to help make it happen. That should be easy, right? But with all the mortgage lenders available today—from your local bank to online mortgage lenders—it’s hard to determine the best lender for you.

There are some important qualities you should look for in a lender to make your choice a whole lot easier. These include:

Local knowledge/experience. Where is your lender located? Is the lender in your community? If so, that means, they will know your market and may have experience and connections with local people, such as real estate professionals and appraisers who can make the process easier.

Local servicing. Will the lender you choose maintain servicing of your loan or will they sell it on the secondary market? If a lender maintains servicing, it means you can contact them if you have questions on your loan—even after the closing. That beats having to contact a servicer you don’t know that’s located in another part of the country.

A proven track record of success. Does your lender come highly recommended from people you know? Ask your real estate professional and neighbors about lenders you are considering to see if they have had good or bad experiences.

Honest rates and fees. Not all mortgage lenders are alike when it comes to pricing. When comparing lenders, make sure to review fees and rates closely to ensure that there are no surprises.

Integrity. It’s important to choose a lender that will help you find the loan program that’s right for your budget, and not try to sell you a mortgage that’s more than you can comfortably afford.

Just remember, when it comes to finding the right lender and mortgage, you hold the key. You can meet each of our lenders before making your decision to buy a home.