Locking In The Interest Rate On Your Mortgage

Posted by Nick Niesen on October 29th, 2010

Many people purchasing homes are surprised to learn how quickly interest rates can change. This brings up the subject of locking in the interest rate on your loan.

Locking In The Interest Rate On Your Mortgage

Contrary to popular opinion, interest rates for mortgage loans are not set by the Federal Reserve Bank. This assumption, however, is understandable given the uproar one tends to see in the media every time the Chairman of the Federal Reserve makes any mention whatsoever about raising or lower rates. Of course, you should understand he is discussing the rate that will be charged by banks to borrow from other banks. Interest rates on mortgages, on the other hand, are set by the bond markets among other indicators.

Since bond markets move every business day, the mortgage rates move in a corresponding matter. Even a tiny change can impact how much or little money a lender will recover given an assumed payback of a 30-year loan. To protect yourself from these fluctuations, you must understand how to lock in the interest rate on your loan.

A mortgage cannot be finalized until the interest rate is locked. If you don?t address the issue with the lender, the rate can move up or down every day from application to the actual funding of the loan. This can literally be two or three months if you are getting pre-approved before making an offer on a home. This kind of volatility is dangerous, particularly if you are pushing the limits of your cash flow in buying a home. If rates increase half a percent while you are shopping, you may be unable to make the monthly payments when you finally buy the property of your dreams!

Locking in a loan is all about points and the length of the lock. These issues are negotiable with the lender, to wit, there is no legally required standard. To lock in a rate, you often must agree to pay a percentage of points. The longer you want to lock in the rate, the more you pay. For a 30 day period, you can expect to pay a quarter to a half of a point. For a longer period, expect to pay half to a full point. A point is one percent of the total loan. If a lender tries to charge you more, take your loan elsewhere or get a mortgage broker involved.

Fluctuating interest rates are dangerous since they can impact your month payments. Locking in your rate gives you a definitive figure to work with when buying your dream home.

Like it? Share it!

Nick Niesen

About the Author

Nick Niesen
Joined: April 29th, 2015
Articles Posted: 33,847

More by this author