Mortgage rates haven’t moved much this year, and the good news is they’ve been stuck at historically low levels. However, mortgage rates are expected to move higher as we head through the fall. While various groups report national mortgage rate averages each week, the rates you get can vary dramatically from that average, depending on what product you choose and how you shop.
One of the biggest mistakes home buyers make is to take a 30 year, fixed-rate mortgage when they don’t really need it. The 30-year fixed is the most expensive of all mortgage products because the rate is the highest and you’re paying for the longest time.
It is better to consider a product that matches how long you expect to be in your home, and make some changes later. Points are an upfront payment of interest in exchange for a lower rate. This boosts your closing costs and makes the rate appear to be artificially low.
Also, a great rate can turn into a bad one if your rate lock expires and you have to pay for an extension. Get your financials ready and provide them when asked, the sooner the better so it won’t interfere with the possibility of losing your rate lock. Documentation requirements can be arduous these days, and financial institutions are not going to waive them.
Beware of hidden fees and loan level pricing adjustments. Be sure to review a full breakdown of closing costs before committing to a lender. You can shop by rate or shop by fees, but you can’t shop for both at the same time.
Be aware about the Zero-closing cost mortgages that are sometimes available for as little as 12.5 basis points (0.125 percent) added to your mortgage rate. Your payment might raise $30-50 per month, but you’ll eliminate $4,000 in closing costs or more.
And finally, don’t let multiple lenders run your credit score. This can actually damage your score.