Seven factors that determine your mortgage interest rate
The 5 Types of Homes That Sell the Fastest

Seven factors that determine your mortgage interest rate. Your lender knows how your interest rate gets determined, and we think you should, too. Learn more about the factors that affect your interest rate.

If you’re like most people, you want to get the lowest interest rate that you can find for your mortgage loan. But how is your interest rate determined? That can be difficult to figure out for even the savviest of mortgage shoppers. Knowing what factors determine your mortgage interest rate can help you better prepare for the homebuying process and for negotiating your mortgage loan.

How much will you pay in interest on your mortgage loan?Mortgage interest rate infographic

Seven factors that determine your mortgage interest rate

 

Your lender knows how your interest rate gets determined, and we think you should, too. 

Even saving a fraction of a percent on your interest rate can save you thousands of dollars over the life of your mortgage loan, so it definitely pays to prepare, shop around, and compare offers. 

Armed with information, you can have confident conversations with lenders, ask questions, and understand your loan choices. Interest rates, just like gasoline prices, can fluctuate from day to day and from year to year. While movement in the interest rate market is outside of your control, it makes sense—just like with gasoline prices—to gain awareness about what’s typical. This way, you’ll have a sense of whether an interest rate quote you receive appears to be in the range of typical rates, or if you should ask more questions and continue to shop around. 

Here are seven key factors that affect your interest rate that you should know

1. Credit scores

Your credit score is one factor that can affect your interest rate. In general, consumers with higher credit scores receive lower interest rates than consumers with lower credit scores. Lenders use your credit scores to predict how reliable you’ll be in paying your loan. Credit scores are calculated based on the information in your credit report, which shows information about your credit history, including your loans, credit cards, and payment history. 

Before you start mortgage shopping, your first step should be to check your credit, and review your credit reports for errors. If you find any errors, dispute them with the credit reporting company. An error on your credit report can lead to a lower score, which can prevent you from qualifying for better loan rates and terms. It can take some time to resolve errors on your credit reports, so check your credit early in the process. 

Seven factors that determine your mortgage interest rate

2. Home location

Many lenders offer slightly different interest rates depending on what state you live in. 

If you are looking to buy in a rural area, different lending institutions can offer different loan products and rates. Regardless of whether you are looking to buy in a rural or urban area, talking to multiple lenders will help you understand all of the options available to you. 

3. Home price and loan amount

Homebuyers can pay higher interest rates on loans that are particularly small or large. The amount you’ll need to borrow for your mortgage loan is the home price plus closing costs minus your down payment. Depending on your circumstances or mortgage loan type, your closing costs and mortgage insurance may be included in the amount of your mortgage loan, too. 

If you’ve already started shopping for homes, you may have an idea of the price range of the home you hope to buy. If you’re just getting started, real estate websites can help you get a sense of typical prices in the neighborhoods you’re interested in.

4. Down payment

In general, a larger down payment means a lower interest rate, because lenders see a lower level of risk when you have more stake in the property. So if you can comfortably put 20 percent or more down, do it—you’ll usually get a lower interest rate. 

If you cannot make a down payment of 20 percent or more, lenders will usually require you to purchase mortgage insurance, sometimes known as private mortgage insurance (PMI). Mortgage insurance, which protects the lender in the event a borrower stops paying their loan, adds to the overall cost of your monthly mortgage loan payment. 

As you explore potential interest rates, you may find that you could be offered a slightly lower interest rate with a down payment just under 20 percent, compared with one of 20 percent or higher. That’s because you’re paying mortgage insurance—which lowers the risk for your lender.

It’s important to keep in mind the overall cost of a mortgage. The larger the down payment, the lower the overall cost to borrow. Getting a lower interest rate can save you money over time. But even if you find you’ll get a slightly lower interest rate with a down payment less than 20 percent, your total cost to borrow will likely be greater since you’ll need to make the additional monthly  mortgage insurance payments. That’s why it’s important to look at your total cost to borrow, rather than just the interest rate.

Make sure you are factoring in all of the costs of your loan when you are shopping around to avoid any costly surprises. 

5. Loan term 

The term, or duration, of your loan is how long you have to repay the loan. In general, shorter term loans have lower interest rates and lower overall costs, but higher monthly payments. A lot depends on the specifics—exactly how much lower the amount you’ll pay in interest and how much higher the monthly payments could be depends on the length of the loans you’re looking at as well as the interest rate.  

6. Interest rate type

Interest rates come in two basic types: fixed and adjustable. Fixed interest rates don’t change over time. Adjustable rates may have an initial fixed period, after which they go up or down each period based on the market.

Your initial interest rate may be lower with an adjustable-rate loan than with a fixed rate loan, but that rate might increase significantly later on.  

7. Loan type

There are several broad categories of mortgage loans, such as conventional, FHA, USDA, and VA loans. Lenders decide which products to offer, and loan types have different eligibility requirements. Rates can be significantly different depending on what loan type you choose. Talking to multiple lenders can help you better understand all of the options available to you. 

Seven factors that determine your mortgage interest rate

One more thing to consider: The trade-off between points and interest rates

As you shop for a mortgage, you’ll see that lenders also offer different interest rates on loans with different “points.”

Generally, points and lender credits let you make tradeoffs in how you pay for your mortgage and closing costs.

 

  • Points, also known as discount points, lower your interest rate in exchange for an upfront fee. By paying points, you pay more upfront, but you receive a lower interest rate and therefore pay less over time. Points can be a good choice for someone who knows they will keep the loan for a long time.
  • Lender credits might lower your closing costs in exchange for a higher interest rate. You pay a higher interest rate and the lender gives you money to offset your closing costs. When you receive lender credits, you pay less upfront, but you pay more over time with the higher interest rate. Keep in mind that some lenders may also offer lender credits that are unconnected to the interest rate you pay—for example, a temporary offer, or to compensate for a problem.

There are three main choices you can make about points and lender credits:

  1. You can decide you don’t want to pay or receive points at all. 
  2. You can pay points at closing to receive a lower interest rate. 
  3. You can choose to have lender credits and use them to cover some of your closing costs but pay a higher rate. 

Now you know

It’s not just one of these factors—it’s the combination—that together determine your interest rate. 

By understanding these factors, you’ll be well on your way to shopping for the right mortgage loan—and interest rate—for you and your situation. Not all of these factors are within your control. But understanding how your mortgage interest rate is determined will help you be more informed as you shop for a mortgage.

Source: https://www.consumerfinance.gov/


Are you ready to take the next step to buy your home and start building a legacy for your family?…Let me help you!

I am a Brazilian Licensed Realtor at Re-Connect, LLC with 17+ years of experience in the Real Estate industry. I speaks 3 languages (Portuguese, English, Spanish)

CALL NOW: (617) 201-9188 Ana Roque |209 West Central Street, Natick, MA  

 

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