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This form is used by a transaction agent and their buyer when a mortgage application is submitted to two or more lenders, to compare mortgage rates and origination costs offered by different lenders competing to make the same type of mortgage.


Your use of RPI Form 312

Walking the buyer through mortgage financing

The ability of a buyer or an owner to obtain financing is an integral component of most real estate transactions.

The buyer’s agent, referred to by lenders as the transaction agent (TA) in the context of financing, owes their buyer the duty to ensure they negotiate the best financial advantage available among multiple mortgage lenders.

The duties imposed by agency law on the TA include:

  • helping the buyer locate the most advantageous mortgage terms;
  • oversight of the mortgage application submission; and
  • policing the lender’s mortgage packing process and funding conditions.

Recall that a lender’s objectives and goals are diametrically opposed to those of the buyer. The lender is selling a product to potential buyers. Consequently, homebuyers have the liberty to accept — or reject — a lender’s offer.

The buyer’s agent owes a fiduciary duty to their buyer to help them acquire the information needed to make an educated choice regarding their finances. Without mortgage information, a homebuyer cannot make a well-informed decision as to which mortgage offers the most advantageous terms.

Thus, the buyer’s agent is obligated to shepherd their homebuyers through the asymmetry of information created by the buyer’s inexperience and the lender’s silence about the mortgage process and available mortgage options. Agents, well-versed in real estate fundamentals and lender conduct, are the only ones available to walk their homebuyers through the mortgage market.

Shop ‘til you drop

The consequences of not competitively shopping for mortgages amounts to a costly mistake for prospective buyers.

As much as 30% of buyers do not comparison shop for their mortgage, and more than 75% of borrowers applied for a mortgage with only one lender, according to the Consumer Finance Protection Bureau (CFPB).

This failure to shop around costs the average homebuyer about $300 per year and tens of thousands of dollars over the life of the mortgage. In high-cost California, the average cost for not shopping around is even higher.

As a matter of best practices, mortgage applications ought to be submitted to at least two lenders. Without a backup application processed by another lender, the buyer is left with no opportunity to reject the lender’s eleventh hour changes. [See RPI e-book Real Estate Principles, Chapter 54]

Multiple government agencies also promote the practice of submitting more than one application. To assist the buyer with the task of comparing the products of two or more lenders, government entities publish Mortgage Shopping Worksheets.

The Mortgage Shopping Worksheet published by Realty Publications, Inc. (RPI) is designed to be completed by the buyer with the assistance of the TA. The worksheet contains a list of all the mortgage variables commonly occurring on origination and during the life of the mortgage. [See RPI Form 312]

Keep in mind that submitting applications to multiple lenders will not adversely affect the buyer’s credit score, so long as the buyer conducts all of their mortgage inquiries for comparisons within a 45-day period.

Mortgage shopping worksheet

A TA and their buyer uses the Mortgage Shopping Worksheet published by RPI when a mortgage application is submitted to two or more lenders. The form allows the buyer to compare mortgage rates and origination costs offered by different lenders competing to make the same type of mortgage. [See RPI Form 312]

The Mortgage Shopping Worksheet contains the critical details of three different mortgages in friendly columnar format, including:

  • the total mortgage amount to be funded;
  • the size of the down payment the homebuyer intends to put down;
  • the mortgage term in years;
  • the estimated total monthly payment the homebuyer will be paying to the lender;
  • the monthly cost of private mortgage insurance (PMI) or mortgage insurance premiums (MIPs), when required;
  • whether the mortgage has a fixed or adjustable rate of interest, and the associated rate and terms;
  • the lender’s margin on the mortgage;
  • the total expected lender and origination fees;
  • whether the mortgage contains a final/balloon payment, and if so, the amount and when it becomes due; and
  • the amount of any prepayment penalty the homebuyer will pay when they pay off the mortgage early. [See RPI Form 312]

The worksheet is used to compare the terms of either a purchase-assist mortgage or mortgage refinance. Space is provided for the entry of mortgage terms offered by three competing lenders, and the terms of an existing mortgage when an owner is refinancing.

Once complete, the homebuyer and their agent can quickly compare the terms offered by the competing lenders.

Revision history

Form navigation page created 09-2022.

Form last revised 2016.