Mortgages

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How to Find the Best Mortgage Rates

Mortgage rates can change daily, and can vary widely depending on the borrower’s personal situation. The difference can mean tens of thousands of dollars over the life of the loan. Here are some tactics to help you find the best mortgage rate for your new home loan.

1

Shop Around

You may be tempted to just use the lender who your real estate agent typically works with, but that doesn’t guarantee you’ll get the best rate for your home loan. It’s best to compare official Loan Estimates from at least 3 different lenders to make sure you’re getting a competitive interest rate.

2

Compare Fees

The mortgage rate isn’t the only factor when it comes to the cost of your home loan. Be sure to look at each lender’s fees and closing costs to fully assess the cost of the loan. When you apply for a loan, your lender will give you a form called a Loan Estimate that makes it easier to compare the total cost of the loan, including fees.

3

Increase Your Down Payment

Did you know that your down payment amount can have an impact on your mortgage rate? That’s because mortgage rates are generally tiered, and typically lower mortgage rates are available for those with a down payment of 20% or more. If possible, consider increasing your down payment to see if it’ll get you a lower rate for your home loan.

4

Improve Your Credit Score

Your credit score is one of the biggest factors that affects the mortgage rate that you’ll be offered by lenders. Generally, the higher your credit score, the lower the interest rate for your home loan. Before applying for a mortgage, it’s best to review your credit score and get it in the best shape possible.

5

Consider Your Loan Program

The 30-year fixed loan is by far the most common loan program, but adjustable rate mortgage (ARM) and 15-year fixed loans offer lower rates. If you’re ok with the higher monthly payment of the 15-year fixed loan or the possibility of your rate changing with the ARM, one of these loan programs could help you pay much less interest over time for your home loan.

Choosing the Best Mortgage for You

Home loans aren’t one size fits all. Here’s a look at some common mortgage types to see which one is right for you.

LOAN TYPE INTEREST RATE UNIQUE BENIFITS MORTGAGE INSURANCE BEST FOR
30-year fixed Fixed rate for the life of a loan Steady, predictable payments PMI typically required if down payment is < 20% Those who prefer a fixed rate and a lower monthly payment than a 15-year loan
15-year fixed Fixed rate for the life of a loan Lower interest rate & less interest paid than a 30-year loan PMI typically required if down payment is < 20% Those who want to pay off their loan faster & pay less interest
5/1 ARM Fixed rate for 5 years, then may change every year thereafter Lower interest rate for a set period of time PMI typically required if down payment is < 20% Those who will sell before 5 years, or are comfortable with payments that can change
7/1 ARM Fixed rate for 7 years, then may change every year thereafter Lower interest rate for a set period of time PMI typically required if down payment is < 20% Those who will sell before 7 years, or are comfortable with payments that can change
VA loan Can be fixed or adjustable $0 down (in most cases), no PMI, competitive interest rates Not required; but a VA funding fee is required Qualifying veterans or active service members
FHA loan Can be fixed or adjustable Down payments as little as 3.5% and less strict credit score requirements Upfront and monthly MIP is required Those with a lower credit score or down payment
Jumbo loan Can be fixed or adjustable Loan amounts that exceed the conforming loan limits PMI requirements vary by lender Those buying a home that exceeds $453,100 (or higher in some markets)