Shopping for an Interest Rate?

Minneapolis, MN:  Thinking of refinancing your home?  Are you a First Time Home Buyer?  Homeowners have thousands of choices when it comes to shopping for their mortgage loan, and sometimes all these options can spell trouble.

Pretty much every phone call I take starts with “What’s your interest rate?” While this seems like a very logical question to ask, it doesn’t give the lender all the information needed to give you an accurate answer.

rates_compareThis goes for online mortgage interest rate search tools too.  While you may put in some basic information, I haven’t seen a system yet (including ours) that could ever replace a actual Loan Officer and be 100% accurate.

There is no generic rate: A common misconception is there is a “rate”…   We’ve all hear the commercials… “The rate today on a 30-yr fixed is ____, and only at so and so company.”  I cry foul!  The only way you can ever get an accurate interest rate quote is to supply a mortgage company with a complete application, and the lender also reviews a credit report.

Credit Score: To accurately quote you an interest rate, a lender has to run your credit to determine your credit score. Interest rates can vary greatly on some programs depending on credit score. Most loan programs have pricing adjustments based on credit score, so without looking at your credit, any lender quote is just guessing.  While I like to believe what people tell me, until I see for sure, it doesn’t mean anything.  I can not tell you how many times someone has said “I have excellent credit,” (which is a 740 middle credit score or higher), so I quote them based on that score,  only to actually review their credit the next day to find out their score is a 700. On some programs, the difference between a 740+ score, and a 700 score could mean as much as 1/4% (.25) higher interest rates!

There are at least 21 criteria that goes into determining your interest rate.  Here is a small sampling:

  1. Credit score
  2. Loan program
  3. Loan Size
  4. Down Payment (or equity position)
  5. Owner-Occupied or Investment
  6. Closing cost options

I consistently hear, after I’ve taken a full application and accurately quote a client “That’s different than I saw (online, in the news paper, on TV).” The general attitude is that  my quote is high.  The reality is you are usually comparing an accurate quote against teaser advertising rates, or rates that do not apply in your situation.

So be mindful of the difference between advertising and reality.  Let a professional Licensed Loan Officer (NOT A BANK), review your complete application for an accurate quote.


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