Are you currently looking to buy a new home or refinance your existing mortgage? Homebuyers and owners alike should know that there are plenty of resources available to help you to determine the best possible paths to decrease your monthly payments by obtaining a lower interest rate.
Finding the best mortgage rate can be a complicated learning process, but one that definitely can pay off in the long run. However, before you can work out a solution that will lower your rates, you will first have to know what mortgage lenders take into account when issuing a loan. Here is everything you need to know for how to get a lower interest rate on mortgage.
How much mortgage can I afford?
Determining how much mortgage you can afford will first require you to take a look at your current financial situation. When prospecting, take into account the amount of money you make annually, what your credit score is, how much debt you have left to pay off (in monthly payments, as well as how much money you have saved to use as a down payment.
Once you figure out a good price point you can then start looking at the mortgage rate. There are many factors that will go into your monthly payment, and you can do some simple research by using an online mortgage calculator. Keep in mind that you typically don’t want to spend more than 25% to 30% of your salary on your monthly mortgage payments.
How are mortgage rates set?
Mortgage rates are set in accordance with a variety of factors. If you want to buy a home you’ll start with a number in mind in how much you’d like to spend. From there you’ll want to determine what kind of home you’d like to buy, how you’ll use it, and who you’d like to use as your real estate agent.
These conditions, along with many other factors, could determine which mortgage lender you ultimately choose, and each mortgage lender has a different rate sheet. Learning how to lower mortgage interest rate includes learning how many following factors affect it – factors like:
- The purpose of the loan
- Annual salary
- Down payment
- Credit score
- Loan type
- Fixed rate
- Adjustable rate
- Government issued
- Property type
- Property taxes
- Association fees
- Private mortgage insurance (PMI)
- Loan term
Can I negotiate my interest rate on an existing mortgage?
When refinancing a home, many people would like to get the best possible rate. It is possible to negotiate the interest rate on an existing mortgage. First, be fully equipped with all knowledge necessary before you talk to a mortgage lender. After you have a solid foundation of knowledge, talking to a lender should help you gather what makes their offer a good one.
Don’t just talk to one lender, even if it’s your current one and you are already sure it’s the one you are going to go with. The number one thing you need to do in order to get a better deal on your interest rate is to go mortgage lender shopping. You’ll also want to ask for itemized loan estimate forms, consider no closing cost mortgage, and even ask if your lender will consider waiving any closing costs in order to keep your business.
Remember that every dollar counts, and always ask for waivers, discounts, and rebates. It is very possible to save a few hundred dollars or even a few thousand dollars simply by asking about these types of programs.
9 ways to lower your mortgage interest rate
There are many tools available to people in all different home buying or refinancing situations that can help find lower mortgage rates. This is true no matter what your current financial situation or credit score is.
Knowing exactly how your mortgage rate is determined is the first step to lowering it. The next step is to put that knowledge into action.
Knowing what rates different mortgage lenders offer is a very important part of the process. It can also save you a lot of money. A few fractions of a percentage point can mean all the difference in the long run, and although many lenders offer similar rates, sometimes the difference is all it takes to change your decision.
Even if a lender you would like to go with offers a higher rate, it’s still good to mention any lower rates you might have found as there is a possibility they would be willing to match that rate. That’s where your lender shopping can really pay off.
A good place to start is with a service that allows you to search for homes, but also provides both mortgage lending, and real estate agents. This will help you get a baseline.
After that, try calling your current bank of choice and see what they have to offer. You can fine tune your shopping from the information you get with these conversations as well as researching online, or talking to another specialist in mortgage lending.
Improve your credit score
It’s always best to strike when your credit score is at its best. Sometimes that is not always possible, but if you can improve your credit score before you apply for a loan you could potentially save hundreds or thousands of dollars.
Even improving your credit score by one point, like between 679 and 680, can be crucial. This is because many rates are calculated off of certain credit score ranges, falling under categories like fair, good, and excellent.
Paying off all of your debt before you buy another home will both increase your credit score and relieve you of additional monthly payments that you will have to make in addition to your mortgage payment.
Choose your loan terms
A loan term is the length of time that you choose, according to your budget, in which you agree to pay off the loan. The shorter your term length, the lower your interest rate and higher your monthly payment will be. Longer term rates will allow you to keep a larger portion of your monthly take home income.
The shortest term rate you can get in the USA is 5 years, while the longest is 50 years. Term lengths increment on a 5-year basis and the most common ones are the 25 and 30 year terms. Again, this is a factor that is determined by your current financial situation.
Increase your down payment
Ultimately, an increased down payment makes you a less risky prospect to mortgage lenders and thus will help with lowering mortgage rates. This is because it gives you a lower loan-to-value (LTV) ratio.
Not only will a higher down payment decrease your interest rates, but it can also help you avoid fees such as private mortgage insurance. This makes sense because if you’re using a larger down payment, that means that you have a higher stake in your home, making you much more attractive to lenders.
Refinance your mortgage
Refinancing your home is a great option for those looking to change all or some of the terms that were set when they initially purchased the home. After you bought the home and some time has passed, it’s possible that factors may have changed in your favor like an improved credit score, or that lower interest rates have been made available.
For example, mortgage rates reached an all-time low in January of 2021, and this time period saw the most single-family mortgage refinance originations since 2003.
Get a rate lock
When going through the process of obtaining an offer from a mortgage lender, it may be a good idea to ask for a rate lock. A rate lock will prevent any increases or decreases in a given rate from taking place. With one set in place, your rate will remain the same given that you accept the offer within a certain time period and changes to several other rate determining factors don’t change.
For example, your rate lock can be dissolved if your credit score changes, your annual income changes or bonuses can’t be verified, or you change the type of loan. It’s best to ask your mortgage lender what it means if your rate was locked today.
Buy mortgage points
If you plan on owning your home for a long time then buying mortgage points can save you thousands or tens of thousands of dollars in the long run. A mortgage point, which is also referred to as buying down the rate, is a fee that you can pay to lower your interest rate. If you plan on owning your home for a long time, then it’s definitely an idea worth exploring.
It’s important to know when your “break-even point” is reached. In other words, “How many months will it take for me to have saved the amount of money I spent on points upfront?” You can find this number by dividing your final points payment by your monthly savings. After you’ve reached this point is when the benefits really start to kick in.
The terms for mortgage points are different depending on who your mortgage lender is, but basically, a single point value equates to a single percentage point of your total loan. So for a $400,000 home, 1 point would equate to $4,000.
Points do not have to be whole numbers, and you can buy fractions like 1.25 points or 3.75 points. It’s a great option for those that may not have an excellent credit score but have the extra cash on hand.
Ask your lender to match other offers
It’s important to make note of all the rate offers you’ve received from various financial institutions. Once you’ve compared lenders, you should have a good idea of the average rates that are being offered and what constitutes the reasoning behind those rates.
When you’re being courted by a mortgage lender, remember that customer loyalty is usually extremely important. Simple questions, like if it’s possible to match another offer, or if any rebates, waivers, or discounts are available, are always a good idea to see if the option is worth your business to the mortgage lender.
Many local and federal entities offer home buying assistance through government-issued programs, vouchers, and various initiatives. These assistance programs can be at the city, state, or federal level.
Most programs are aimed at first-time buyers, veterans, or low-income families who are looking to get their foot in the door (literally). Some perks of home buying assistance can include no closing fees, no down payments (or assisted down payments), below market interest rates, ignoring your credit score, and even renovation funding.
Many home buying assistance programs are so cost-efficient that some people move hundreds or thousands of miles just to take advantage of them.
Find the best solution that fits your situation
Arming yourself with all of the knowledge possible is your best tool, to find other tools, to help you to lower your interest rate. If you can optimize every factor that determines your mortgage interest rate, you’ll be in a better position to negotiate with a mortgage lender.
Start your research online, but ultimately pick up the phone and start conversations with various financial institutions. Ask friends, family, and others who are close to you what their situation is. Have they recently refinanced? Are they looking for a home as well? Remember that it’s a learning process, and the more knowledge from experiences that others have that you can find out, the better.
How do you know what a good mortgage rate is?
To find a good mortgage rate, start by using a house affordability calculator. After you get an idea of how much you want to spend, you can use that as the basis for calculating a mortgage rate. After that, start shopping around for different mortgage lenders and see varying rates.
How do I get my lender to lower my interest rate?
To get a better interest rate you can buy mortgage points, increase your down payment, and negotiate with your lender by asking to match another offer. Once you’re set on a rate, consider getting a rate lock so that it cannot change during the time period that the rate is offered.
Can you ask your current mortgage company to lower your interest rate?
It’s always best to ask any questions regarding discounts, waivers, rebates, or any other options that could lower your interest rate when buying or refinancing a home