One thing to keep in mind is that notaries are not necessarily lawyers, bankers, or accountants. The notaries who hang out around this internet forum tend to be mobile notaries, who receive a loan package on the internet, print it, go to the borrower's home, get it signed, and use a parcel service like FedEx to send it back. The notaries around here are not involved in the loan approval process.
If you or your fiancee are eligible to join a credit union, that could be a good move. You would be a co-owner of the lending institution and they tend to treat members much more reasonably than banks treat customers.
Another suggestion is to hire your own lawyer for your closing. There might or might not be other lawyers there, but your lawyer is the only one looking out for you. If you were to have a mobile notary sent to do the closing in your present home, there would be a fee for that, and with all the markup involved, it would probably cost you as much as a lawyer (even though the mobile notary only gets a fraction of that fee).
Still another suggestion when shopping for a house is to get a buyer-broker. This is a real estate agent who represents YOU, not the buyer. Since the real estate commission is split between the agent who listed the house and the agent who shows the house, it doesn't cost any extra unless you get a house that is being sold by the owner without an agent.
Excellent advice on Credit Unions. A federal credit union is a non-profit financial institution whose members (not customers) share ownership in the organization. Credit unions typically have lower interest rates, lower fees and a more approachable style to lending. They do not, however, serve for large economic development programs. If I needed to build a hotel or an office building, I would NOT use a Federal Credit Union. Our for profit commercial banks serve a great purpose to our communities to both investors and the business community.
Also, federal credit unions also have a WAN computer system that allows members to do transactions at institutions other than their own. In other words, as a member of Advantage Federal Credit Union in Rochester, NY I could walk into a "shared branching" credit union in Florida and make a payment, withdraw cash or make a deposit to my Advantage account. When in the shared branching system, the shared branch can pull up my account through their computer system. It's a great way to access your account.
My loan also from BOC. But must warn that they are very slow. Mine applied for 2 weeks already still not approved. Keep telling me mortgage department short-handed.