3 Interest Rate Tools To Help You Find The Best Mortgage Rate

Certified Mortgage Advisor
NMLS 1701021
Published 
December 28, 2021

3 Tools to find best mortgage rate

Now, I'm going to show you three tools. You can use it to estimate your interest rate before you apply for a mortgage. So you can have peace of mind knowing that you got the best possible interest rate instead of getting ripped off or that feeling of getting ripped off when you don't really know if the interest rate you got is good.

Mortgage rates can be pretty secretive

Lenders usually don't show you their daily rates, and when you do see rates online, there are often kind of too good to be true. There's a ton of companies that dangled low rates to entice you, and then you apply and you find out that that's not true at all.

What affects your interest rates

It makes sense why lenders don't often show the rates upfront. It's because mortgage interest rates depend on a bunch of different factors based on your situation.

External factors

For instance, you have some external factors.

Markets

So you have things like what's happening currently in the market. So what's happening with stocks, what's happening with bonds.

Inflation

What's happening just in the economy in general, what's happening with inflation. So as inflation increases, so do mortgage interest rates.

The lender you apply with

Then also the lender that you apply with each lender is going to have a different structure of what their rates look like. So you might apply with one lender who has lower rates than another lender who might have slightly higher rates.

Credit Score

Also, based on your situation, things like your credit score, the lower your credit score, the higher interest rate you're going to get the higher credit score. You have the lower interest rate, you're going to get.

Your Loan-to-Value ratio

So this is things like how much money did you put down that can change your interest rate.

Loan type

The type of loan is a conventional FHA VA, at USDA, the loan term.

Loan term and the occupancy

Is it a 15-year loan, or a 30-year loan.

The occupancy

So you're going to live in the home or it's going to be an investment or a second home.

Fixed versus an adjustable rate

So there are all these different things that impact your mortgage interest rate, which makes sense. That is the reason why lenders normally aren't going to show those upfronts.

What problem you can encounter

The problem is since mortgage rates are tailored to you and lenders don't show you them often, it's difficult to estimate. Okay, what would my interest rate be? What's a good interest rate because otherwise you get a rate from somebody and you're like, I don't even know if this is good, am I getting ripped off as this is, this is what I should be getting?

Tools that can help you

So I want to introduce you to a couple of tools to help clarify this a little bit.

Freddie Mac

Freddie Mac's mortgage interest rates survey. So what they do is they survey lenders to see what the average rates are on conforming conventional loans. The only issue with this is it's done as a survey. So it's basically self-reported by lenders and it tends to lag behind because it's usually done once a week. So the issue here is it's not always super accurate. However, these are most of the time, the rates that you're going to see in the news, when they're talking about interest rates in the news, they usually use this Freddie Mac survey.

US weekly average for 12/23/2021

So we can see right now it's 3.05 for 15 years, 2.3 and for a 5/1 arm, it's 2.37%. So this is an okay indicator.

Win the House You Love

A better one for you is I have one on my website. If you go to Win the House You Love, then do. And show you the rates, not just for conventional loans, but for other different types of loans as well.

What I like about this tool and the reason why I've used this kind of data is that it doesn't pull just based on the survey once a week, it's actually updating based on actual mortgage rate locks that are happening that are actually being given to clients from a variety of lenders. Then you can see how all of this is being put together on my website.

WTHYL is accurate!

But we can see, this is quite a bit different. 3.05 versus 3.3, 4, or 5%. What I've found is pulling this data tends to be more accurate than just the Freddie Mac numbers. You also have jumbo loans in here, FHA, VA, USDA, and conforming for 15 years as well.

Here you also have a chart for with the interest rate will look like depending on your FICO score and how much you're putting down. LTB is just a loan to value. It's the opposite of your down payment? So 5% down is a 95% LTV, 10% down is a 90% LTV. And then it also shows the trend of rates as well.

And you can see these with the different types of loans, and we can look at a bigger scale if we want to. So this is going to be a really good tool here to get an estimate of, okay. If I'm getting a, let's say a 30-year conventional loan, which for most people, that's going to be true. You're going to be expecting around 3.34 at the moment.

CFPB

Now, if we want to dig a little bit deeper, we can go into the CFPB rate checker tool. What I really like about this is it allows you to put in your state and your unique situation, and it's going to show you on average, what other people are seeing in your area for interest rates.

CFPB walkthrough

So, first, we choose our credit score range. So let's say we're at a 740 to 759. Now let's say, we're looking in California for our home price. Let's put in $600,000 for now. Let's say we're doing 5% down and we'll choose just a general county. So for 5% down that's a $30,000 down fixed rate of 30 years, we'll do the conforming jumbo loan.

So what's showing us is that in California, most lenders in our data are offering rates at or below 3.25%. So then this is a really good estimate that you can use in online calculators to see what your payment might be.

You can ask explanation from your lender

But then also, if you do apply for a mortgage and you're seeing maybe you have this exact situation, but you're getting a quote for 3.625. This might be interesting to give you a note of, okay, maybe I need to shop with a couple more lenders to see if I can get somewhere closer to this 3.25% that most people are getting or I can ask my loan officer, could you help me understand why is this higher than maybe what the average would be for people in this unique situation? And when you do talk to your loan officer, keep in mind that the rate that. Isn't the only rate that you have the option of usually loan officers are going to show you one rate, but there are actually rate charts on the back and you can actually choose your interest rate.

Example of a rate chart

So this is how this works. Let's run through a quick example of, let's say we're buying a $500,000 home with $25,000 down. So for $475,000. If this isn't your situation, that's perfectly fine. This will still apply to you.

Interest rates

It's not just one number that you get. You actually have a rate chart. So there are various different rates and they all have either a point cost or a credit. So think of points like prepaid interest. It doesn't work exactly like that but thinks of it very similarly, where you can get a lower interest rate and pay money or you can get a higher interest rate and potentially get credit towards your closing costs.

So for instance, in this scenario, what most loan officers would do is they would see a 3.2% interest rate is the closest to $0 in points, $0 in extra costs. This is usually what a loan officer might show to a client and say, we're going to offer you 3.2%, but you could get a rate of 3.15% for $1,500, or you can get a rate of 3% for $4,200. So see, you're, we're paying down the interest rate with what are called points. So everything that you will see in red is a point. Then, the green are credits.

These would actually offset your closing costs. So in the same way, if a loan officer says your interest rates are 3.2%, if you want some extra credit, you could talk to that loan officer and say, actually, could we look at a higher interest rate so we could get credit towards our closing costs?

So 3.5% might give us $5,200 in credit. So if our total cash is to close the money that we need for closing, let's say it's $40,000. We could reduce that down to $3,500. If we increase the rate and receive a credit. Now, this is all going to depend on what you want to do, how long you're in the home.

Increasing the rate means increasing your payment

You probably want to talk with a loan officer to get a cost analysis long-term to see what these differences look like, but especially with. From 3% to 3.5% is a difference of $130 per month in the principal and interest payment. So something, when we want to keep in mind, if we're going to increase the rates, it's also going to increase the payment that we have as well.

PMI will stay the same

Something interesting to notice that. PMI when you do have it on loan is going to stay consistent no matter what the rate is. So the PMI isn't based on the interest rate, it's always going to be the same.

Keep in mind

So when you're applying for loans, keep all these things in mind, use a CFPB rate checker. Look at average rates to see, is this a good deal? Is this on par with what you should be expecting? And if not, that's when you want to talk to a loan officer about, Hey, can you help me understand why this is different. Then also ask your loan officer, can you show me a sample of a couple of different rates, some of the points, some of the credit that you way you can see which one's going to work best for you.

And if you want to connect with a helpful loan officer, who's going to help guide you through this process. You can go to Win the House You Love, and I'll connect you with a helpful loan officer.

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