Refinancing a mortgage or getting a new mortgage isn’t necessarily just about finding the lowest interest rate. But, you definitely want to know what interest rates are in general when shopping around for a mortgage. That way, you know who is way out of the ballpark, and who is worth looking into a little bit further.
One of the best tools around for information on current interest rates is a website called Bankrate. Bankrate.com publishes a survey of national mortgage interest rates every Tuesday morning. Even more useful, is a weekly expert analysis of mortgage rates. This analysis can include everything from whether or not they think rates will be going up or down in the near future, to commentary on what happened last week and what affect it had on mortgage rates for the current week.
This information can be a simple way to get a handle on financial news that you may have missed or not fully understood from the week before. For example, whether or not a scary unemployment number you heard about the last week affects mortgage rates or not is the kind of thing that you’ll find explained in the analysis.
Use the US Government Mortgage Shopping Tool
The CFPB, or Consumer Financial Protection Board, offers an online tool that shows what the typical lender is offering in your area for your credit score. Check the CFPB mortgage rate tool out to get a ballpark of where your rate should be.
No tool covers every single thing you need to know, and Bankrate is no exception. However, when used properly, Bankrate can be the best starting place for your mortgage research.
- Check the Weekly Mortgage Rate – There is a big blue box prominently displayed on the Mortgage page. That is the “National Overnight Averages”. While useful, that survey is subject to more fluctuation. Find the Mortgage Rate Trend Index. It will be a regular link in the “news” area. It comes out on Thursdays, so if you are on the site on Tuesday or Wednesday it might not be on the front page anymore.
- Read the Analysis – Don’t just look at the numbers, read the analysis. This will give you an idea of what to expect. Remember, this is last week’s data, so the numbers you hear this week will be different.
- Jot Down the Rates for Your Mortgage – There will be a lot of numbers. You don’t need them all. If you are looking for a 30-year fixed mortgage, the rate on the 15-year mortgage is irrelevant.
The Next Step
The next step is to start shopping around. We’ll discuss that in an upcoming post. Subscribe to the Finance Gourmet Feed to make sure you don’t miss anything.