Mortgage Rates: Understanding Different Types
The mortgage rate is one of the most important considerations when buying a house. The mortgage rate is the interest rate you’ll pay on your loan and can significantly impact your monthly mortgage payments. Here are some of the main types of mortgage rates:
- Fixed-Rate Mortgage: This is a common type of mortgage where the interest rate remains the same for the entire term of the loan, usually 15 or 30 years. This type of mortgage provides stability and predictability in monthly payments, which is ideal for those who don’t want to worry about fluctuating interest rates.
Example of Fixed-rate-mortgage: If you take a 30-year fixed-rate mortgage of $200,000 at an interest rate of 3.5%, your monthly payment would be $898.
- Adjustable-Rate Mortgage (ARM): An adjustable-rate mortgage is a type of loan where the interest rate can change periodically. This mortgage often starts with a lower interest rate and then increases over time. An ARM is a good option for those who expect their income to increase or who plan on living in the house for a shorter period.
Example of ARM: If you take a 5/1 ARM of $200,000 at an initial interest rate of 3.5%, your monthly payment would be $898 for the first five years. After the initial five years, the interest rate may change based on market conditions.
- FHA Loan: The Federal Housing Administration (FHA) offers a mortgage loan insured by the government. An FHA loan requires a lower down payment and more relaxed credit standards than a conventional mortgage. This loan is ideal for first-time homebuyers or those with limited funds for a down payment.
Example of FHA loan: If you take an FHA loan of $200,000 at an interest rate of 3.5%, your monthly payment would be $898.
- VA Loan: The Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) offers a mortgage loan for eligible veterans and their spouses. A VA loan provides several benefits, including no down payment, no monthly mortgage insurance, and lower interest rates than other types of loans.
Example of VA loan: If you take a VA loan of $200,000 at an interest rate of 3.0%, your monthly payment would be $865.
There are several types of mortgage rates, each with advantages and disadvantages. It’s essential to carefully consider your financial situation and choose a mortgage rate that’s right for you.
What Factors Determine a Mortgage Rate?
People with higher credit scores, for example, 720 and above, have access to favorable rates from almost any lender. Scores below 600 are perceived as risky by the lender and are likely to draw higher mortgage rate offers.
The larger the down payment upon signing, the less risk the lender takes. A down payment shows the lender the level of commitment an individual has in seeing the deal through to its end because the borrower has more to lose. Thus, the larger the down payment, the better the offered interest rate.
Type of Loan Chosen
Numerous mortgage loans exist, such as FHA, conventional, VA, and USDA loans. The rates will differ based on the available loan types. Researching and talking to multiple lenders can help identify the best option and mortgage rate.
The payment duration also affects the mortgage rates. For instance, lower interest rates are available for loans with shorter terms. The reason is that shorter-term loans indicate less risk for lenders because borrowers may have better means to pay back the debt owed.
How to Qualify for Better Mortgage Rates
There are a few factors that contribute to the final mortgage rate. Before signing a mortgage loan agreement, most respectable lenders review your credit score, credit history, and more.
Financial behavior can be adjusted and improved to qualify for better mortgage rates. Getting better mortgage interest rates can be achieved by doing some of these things.
Credit Score Improvement
Credit Scores are powerful indicators to lenders about one’s financial history and trustworthiness. Since they hold a lot of weight, improving one’s Credit Score is a strong starting point for securing a better mortgage rate. Building up one’s Credit Score can be very valuable for financial health and well-being.
Increase the Down Payment Size
Typical mortgages require a 20% down payment. Getting access to better rates may involve offering a larger down payment. By increasing the down payment size, the size of the loan principal will decrease, usually translating into savings.
Lower The Debt-to-Income Ratio
The Debt-to-Income Ratio is something that lenders look at when receiving applications for a loan. The chances of finding better mortgage rates may increase by paying off debt and lowering the debt-to-income ratio before shopping for mortgages.
How Does the Federal Reserve Affect Today’s Mortgage Rates?
Federal Open Market Committee members voted on Dec 4 to increase the overnight borrowing rate by half a percentage point. This takes it to a target range between 4.25% and 4.5%. Since the 1980s, this has been the most aggressive move.
The Federal Reserve is an organization that has a huge influence on mortgage rates. The Federal Reserve will increase the interest rates on mortgages and other loans if they believe the economy is in danger or if inflation has increased too much.
Though the Federal Reserve does not set the mortgage rates, they are the institution that determines the federal funds rate, which in turn impacts short-term and adjustable interest rates. This means that the Federal Reserve influences the rate at which financial institutions, such as banks, lend money to one another. Thus, when the federal funds rate spikes, banks find it expensive to borrow funds from other financial institutions. The result affects consumers with higher interest rates on lines of credit, auto loans, and mortgages.
The Fed’s decision to increase rates is not just about how much you can borrow. It also affects what you pay for your existing mortgage.
Tips for Shopping and Comparing Mortgage Rates
We recommend keeping several things in mind when comparing mortgage rates.
- Compare more lenders to find the best possible rates. Search for mortgages locally or from lenders in other states.
- Credit Scores have an effect on the rates offered. Consider investing time in improving financial habits with the goal of obtaining a stronger credit rating.
- Avoid Hard Credit Checks. In most cases, when applying for a mortgage, lenders will perform a “hard credit pull”. Meaning, credit scores may be negatively affected when multiple hard credit checks are made in a short period of time. Instead, inquire about your current credit score and ask lenders what rates they offer to borrowers with matching qualifications before applying. This will allow for rate shopping and comparison without causing credit score harm. It is possible to discover your current credit score for free via various financial institutions.
- Consider Mortgage Rate Locks – If a borrower negotiates with the lender to lock in the interest rate on a mortgage for a certain duration, it may create more stability and predictability and, therefore, a better agreement. The borrower may be protected from an unwanted increase in the interest rate. In turn, however, this would mean that a borrower would be locked into a less-favorable interest rate in the event of more favorable economic conditions that cause a decrease in interest rates.
- Mortgage Points are fees that a borrower pays to the lender for a reduction in the interest rates. They are also referred to as discount points, and they lower monthly mortgage payments. Each point purchased can translate into a reduction of up to 1 percent of the total loan amount. However, many individuals would consider the length of time they plan to own the home and the difficulty of recovering from the heavy purchases of said mortgage points.
When choosing a mortgage lender, there is plenty of information to cover and consider. For that reason, we recommend using a mortgage lender guide as a reference for clear, concise, and relevant information.