How to Find the Best Mortgage Rates

by Staff Writer

Hunting down the best mortgages in 2012 and beyond!

The most significant investment that many U.S. residents will make is the purchase of their home. Consequently, most home buyers will view and compare many houses in their price range, evaluate the appreciation potential of homes in particular neighborhoods, and conduct other research to help them choose the right home.

Yet many homebuyers, especially first-timers, do not carefully consider their mortgage loan options even though most of them will take out a loan to purchase their home. Knowing how to pick the right mortgage loan is key to getting the best mortgage rates in 2012 and beyond.

Homebuyers should consider the following factors when they research mortgages to help them get the best rates and save the most money.

Income

A homebuyer’s income is the single biggest factor to consider when examining mortgage loan options. Buyers who are just starting out in their career generally earn a lower salary than those who have been working for decades. At the same time, buyers at the beginning of their careers are all but certain to see their income increase over time.

In order to guarantee the lowest possible mortgage payment, such buyers need to find the lowest possible mortgage rates when they buy. Over time, the mortgage rate and payment can rise because the incomes of these buyers also tend to rise.

Such individuals will likely find the best mortgage rates in an adjustable-rate mortgage that charges an interest rate lower than the fixed-rate average for the first several years of the loan and then increases the interest rate each year thereafter.

On the other hand, those whose income is stable and not likely to increase substantially will likely want a fixed-rate mortgage. The interest rate on this type of loan remains constant for 15 or 30 years, which means that the monthly mortgage payment remains constant as well.

Current Market Conditions

Getting the best mortgage rates also depends on current economic conditions. No matter the year in which they are purchasing, homebuyers should have a good idea of where interest rates are heading based on the news and the actions of the Federal Reserve.

If signs point to mortgage rates remaining steady for several years, it can be wise to choose an adjustable-rate mortgage because rate increases will not likely be very steep when the interest rates on these loans reset. If rates are likely to increase sharply, however, it is better to lock in a fixed rate before average rates go up.

In 2011, the U.S. federal government has generally taken action to keep average mortgage rates at historic lows. Fixed rates may remain low in 2012 because many experts do not expect the housing market to hit bottom before 2012. Nevertheless, low fixed rates cannot last forever, so buyers should look carefully at what the government is doing if they want to get the best deals.

Years in the Home

Obtaining the most beneficial mortgage rates also involves taking into consideration the number of years that one expects to live in a home. Those who are certain to live in a home ten years or more should go with a fixed-rate mortgage because it will save them money over time. Buyers who will probably move within five or ten years may do better with an adjustable-rate mortgage if they are likely to sell the home before their rates rise.

Of course, these are just some of the factors that homebuyers need to consider when looking for the best mortgage rates. Buyers who do their research and take their time in examining their mortgage options should find success when it comes time to close on the loan.

Photo By Jen and a Camera

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