People will spend months or even years planning to buy their own home. They will work hard to build good credit. They will save a sizable down payment. They will search for the perfect house. Then they will settle for the first mortgage they see.
What is wrong with this picture?
It is important to remember that if you have good credit and a down payment then you are in the driver’s seat when it comes to negotiating a mortgage. You are the dream customer that lenders want on their books. Even if your credit is not perfect and your down payment is nonexistent you are still an attractive client for many lenders.
Repeat this mantra whenever a lender acts as if they are doing you a favor by lending you money: I am going to give them a lot of money. Yes, you are. Over the next five to 30 years you are going to pay a lot of interest to this lender as well as repay the principal they originally put up. They are not giving you anything. This is a business deal and the lender stands to make a lot of money so you need to protect yourself to get the best deal you can.
While most lenders tend to make you think you should be grateful to them for taking this huge risk on you, it really is the other way around. A mortgage lender can’t lose. If you honor the deal they will make a lot of money and if you don’t honor the deal then they simply take your house back and keep the interest you paid in the meantime!
However there is an even bigger fallacy that lenders like to perpetuate. They don’t want you to know how desperate they are for your business. Look around and you will realize the truth of this. Check out the television, radio, and print ads that abound and you will see the mortgage lenders are getting pretty competitive.
That is why you simply must shop around to find the best mortgage deal available for you. In the end you could save yourself thousands of dollars. Here are five ways to help you find the best deal:
~ Shop around – Get quotes from various lenders. Look at local and national lenders and don’t overlook the internet.
~ Compare terms – Interest rates vary from lender to lender but lenders offer different interest rates depending on the terms of the mortgage. How long will it be (15, 20 or 30 years)? Will it be variable or fixed?
~ Tweak some of the optional items that you control, such as the type of insurance you will carry and whether or not you will use escrow for taxes etc.
~ Adjust your down payment – Sometimes being able to increase the percentage of what you are putting down can make a difference in the lenders terms (similarly buying a less expensive house will work the same)
~ Haggle – Yes! Lenders often act as if their rates are written in stone but this is not the case. This is where shopping around can really come in handy. If you can show that you’ve got a slightly better deal with another lender then sometimes another lender will lower their rate to beat the competitor. Hey it’s worth a try!
Just remember that you are in control of your future. You can choose whether or not to accept a mortgage lenders terms. There are a lot of lenders out there so you do not need to sign with the first offer you receive.
One last hint: It might be best to go through this process before you’ve found the home of your dreams! You can get preapproved for a mortgage with most lenders and that removes the pressure and worry of losing the home of your dreams while you negotiate with a lender. It also puts you in the driver’s seat when you are negotiating to buy that dream home when you finally find it if you already have a mortgage ready to go.