When shopping for a home loan, it can be tough to tell if a certain mortgage rate is good these days. The trick is that all matter of gobbledygook can complicate what you are looking at when shopping for a good mortgage rate. In fact, the mortgage companies and mortgage brokers have made it pretty hard to know exactly what is the best mortgage rate today, or any day.
Lookup Good Mortgage Rates
First, stop worrying about what the “best” mortgage rate is. Chances are that the best interest rate for your mortgage is different from someone else. This is due to differences in credit scores (check your credit scores for free with Credit Karma, or Credit Sesame), differences in home price, and differences in areas. Then, don’t forget that like anything else, the advertised price for a mortgage is only for a specific mortgage in specific circumstances.
One of the few good things to come out of the Great Recession and the near-collapse of the banking system is the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, or CFPB (who for inexplicably uses lowercase latter for their logo). The CFPB has been building out not only an enforcement division to help protect consumers, but a variety of educational resources as well, so consumers can protect themselves instead.
One such tool is a government check interest rate tool. The benefit of this tool is that it isn’t run by a mortgage company trying to direct your business, or take a commission, or collect your information for some mailing list. While the information is general, this is a perfect place to start to get an idea of what things should look like once you get serious about mortgage shopping online or over the phone.
Is it any good? Well, mortgage companies and banks hate it, so you do the math.
It’s fairly easy to use. Down the right hand side you input your information such as your credit score, your state (where you will be buying the house, not where you are now), how much the house is, and how much down payment you want to make. Then, you can pick term, fixed or adjustable rate, and so on. What you see, is a graph showing you what various lenders are offering for rates based upon the data you enter. Then, as you scroll down you can see what your interest costs will add up to.
Armed with this information you can see if that mortgage rate being offered is a good interest rate on a mortgage today, or if it is a bad mortgage interest rate. Remember, these are averages and estimates and they depend greatly on what information you enter into the tool. If you enter a 720 credit score, but have a 690 credit score, expect very different results when you go to actually get a mortgage.
Once you know what the going rate is for mortgages, you can shop around. Don’t just take a verbal quote, or a website quote. Ask for a Good Faith Estimate from each lender you are considering. This document has legal requirements and formatting which ensures that you are comparing apples to apples while shopping for your mortgage.
The CFPB mortgage tool is available at consumerfinance.gov. Make sure you type .gov and not .com which is something else.