Last year, mortgage rates hit an all-time low a whopping thirteen times! One could say that mortgages and mortgage refinances have been the one silver lining of the ambiguous political and economic climate last year.
While shopping around and finding the perfect fit for you, note that there are plenty of factors that are considered upon submitting an application. I’m sure you know that credit scores, loan terms, interest rate types, down payment, home location, and the loan size, in general, can all have an impact on your application.
Last year, Freddie Mac reported that buyers who got offers from five different lenders averaged 0.17 percentage points lower on their interest rate than those who didn’t get multiple quotes. Rates also vary between mortgage lenders. It’s estimated that about half of all buyers only look at one lender, primarily because they tend to trust referrals from their realtors. Yet this means that they may miss out on a lower rate elsewhere.
If you want to find the best rate and term for your loan, it makes sense to have them shop around first. If you need some help calculating their budget, check out Money’s mortgage calculator tool.
Other factors will affect how much they’ll pay each month too. Items such as their PMI, closing costs, loan term, taxes, HOA fees, insurance, and even the type of loan (i.e. fixed vs. ARM) can each play a large part in monthly payments.
Consider the type of mortgage loan you might need as well. Veterans and active-duty service members should take advantage of VA loans offered. Whereas first-time homebuyers should shop around and seek discounts.
First-time homebuyers can walk into a mortgage brokerage office or visit an online lender without knowing what kind of mortgage they need. But it’s always better to have an idea of what you’re shopping for, especially since you can’t control other factors such as home prices and current rates. Mortgage loan types include:
- Conventional Borrowing: Shoppers with higher credit scores and higher down payments can get a conventional mortgage with either a fixed or adjustable rate. Mortgage interest rates can be low for qualified buyers.
- Subsidized Borrowing: The Federal Housing Administration and the U.S. Department of Agriculture help first-time homebuyers and shoppers in low-income areas buy homes by subsidizing their mortgage loans. FHA and USDA loans allow shoppers with lower credit profiles (a FICO score of 580) to still get affordable home financing. Subsidized loan restrictions include borrowing maximums and safe housing inspections. These loans are for single-family homes in most cases.
- Veterans Affairs Loans: Veterans and active-duty service members can buy homes with no down payment and no PMI through the Department of Veterans Affairs’ lending program. Banks make loans that are guaranteed by the VA. VA loans require a funding fee that could range from 1.4% to 3.64% for first-time homebuyers.
- Jumbo Loans: Homes in high-value housing markets like San Francisco and New York City may not fit within a conventional or FHA loan. Jumbo loans can help because they exceed the conforming loan limits of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac.
Ultimately, finding the best mortgage shouldn’t be seen as a one-size-fits-all approach. This post may have raised as many questions in your mind as it has provided answers. Don’t hesitate to bring those questions to your realtor or property group — he or she is a great resource for learning about mortgages and the mortgage shopping process.
Guest Post By Raúl A. Menéndez | Raúl A. Menéndez is a real estate agent in Puerto Rico. He enjoys photography, board games, watching nature documentaries, and is currently working with the Community Outreach team at Money where he keeps learning smart money moves.