Home Loan Rates

Written by Beth Hrusch
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Mortgage interest rates vary from bank to bank and from one type of loan to the next. For instance, one person's needs may require a jumbo loan, which may have a different rate from a 30-year fixed rate loan. There are several common kinds of home loans, each with features that fit different situations. Rates for these loans will fluctuate depending on the economic climate. The way the rate is calculated also affects the monthly payment.

Interest Rates and Closing Costs

Borrowers will pay many fees and additional costs when a loan is taken out. Some of these costs are buried in the monthly payment while some are paid up front. Points can be considered as interest paid in advance. They cover many of the lender's costs in providing the loan. A point, unlike the actual interest on a loan, is always a certain percentage of the mortgage amount. The standard point value is one percent of the loan amount.

Rate tables help the borrower determine what lenders are offering the best deals. However, it is often a matter of figuring out whether paying a lower rate with points is more advantageous than paying a higher rate without points. Also, rates can be either variable or fixed. A variable rate allows the borrower to maintain a higher payment even when the rate goes down, thereby paying off the loan faster.

Fixed rates, however, are more common features of mortgage loans. Most people like to be locked in to a certain rate, knowing that if the rates go down significantly they can look into refinancing. Loan rates are critical factors when shopping for a home loan, and lenders can use them to compete with each other for a borrower's business. After all, even a half-percent can mean the difference between a monthly payment that is affordable and one that is out of reach.

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