It is a terrible fact of life that getting a mortgage is the biggest pain in the rear just about of any financial thing you will ever have to do.
Just when you think you’ve given them every last document, then the lenders come up with something else you need to supply!
But here’s the good news: Fixed mortgage interest rates are the lowest they’ve been in 6 months, according to the Washington Post. Thirty-year mortgages are around 3.76% and 15-year notes are around at 2.8%.
Those rates are the average for people with solid credit. But what about you your if your credit is far from perfect?
The good news is those low rates set a base for you. For the first time in 8 years, people with damaged credit are getting loans again. There are any of a number of reasons why it’s good to be out there shopping for home right now. Any sellers with an estate sale, a relocation or a divorce will have to capitulate on price as you move on toward winter. It’s a great time to be a buyer!
Read more: 18 confusing mortgage terms explained
New tool to help you shop for a mortgage
The difficulty of getting a mortgage has created a situation where people don’t even shop for a mortgage anymore. I’ve heard anecdotally that half of all people refinancing or getting a mortgage today only go to one lender. There’s no thought to even make a second phone call.
But that’s throwing money away! Last time I got a mortgage, I took a recommendation from the real estate agent as many people do. But I also got several other quotes.
The loan offer from the person who came recommended to me was significantly more expensive than another quote I got on my own. Ultimately, the first guy was able to match the better offers, so I went with him. But had I not gone out and shopped, I would have paid more than I wound up paying.
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Now there is a new beta site from the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau to help you shop for a mortgage or refinance. One of their tools will help you figure out what loan offers should be available to you. There are also guides that walk you through how to understand the loan terms. (If you prefer, I also have a handy tool for you to shop for a mortgage.)
But the tool from the CFPB is an opportunity to know how to shop for the best interest rates, to understand the various loans offered, and to know what it is you’re being asked to sign. It’s a step-by-step guide that the banks probably hate. They’d rather you didn’t know this stuff so they can rip you off.
A new BankRate survey shows closing costs are declining around the country to an average of $1,847 on a $200,000 loan. That’s because there’s more competition in the mortgage business now than in the last 7 years. But while lower costs are available to you, you’re going to have to work for the savings by comparison shopping more than one lender.
People often ask me, ‘Well, my closing costs are X,XXX. Is that a good deal?’ The truth is, I’m not concerned with that number specifically, but rather with you getting the overall best deal from a lender. Some of the lenders I like you to look at include small local banks, credit unions, online lenders, and mortgage brokers.
But I want you to have the knowledge so you can make the best decisions for yourself and for your financial future!