"Prime has dropped (or raised) 0.X%" Youll see some version of that headline all the time, particularly if youre looking for a mortgage. You may even be considering a loan that is based on "Prime". But what is Prime?? In a nutshell, the prime lending rate is the interest banks charge each other for overnight loans. This rate is based in turn on the interest rate the Federal Reserve charges for money it lends to banks. Heres an example from the video. Bank A borrows money from the Federal Reserve, at 1% interest. Bank B borrows from Bank A at 4% interest. (Historically Prime has been about 3% above the Federal rate.) Both Bank A and Bank B recalculate loans "based on Prime" — like Adjustable Rate Mortgages — on that 4% figure. The short-hand term "above Prime" in the world of mortgages is the margin (or spread) added to the Prime rate. An ARM with 2% margin would be 6% (4% + 2%) in the example above. Watch our short video to see this explained visually.
"Do you want to pay points?" is the kind of mortgage question that leaves many people thinking "I dont even know what that is!" Heres a simple explanation. Points are pre-paid interest. You pay interest now (which is frequently tax-deductible) to lower your long-term rate. "One point" is 1% of the total loan amount. If your lender is willing, ask to compare a loan package with 0 points to options with 1, 2 or more so you can see the short-term and long-term effect. As an example and general guideline, on a 30-year mortgage, your interest rate will go down by about 1/8 (0.125) for each point paid -- 3% interest would drop to 2.75% with 2 points paid. If you plan to stay in the home for a while, points can reduce your monthly payment, while the up-front tax deduction might help with first-year finances. PRO TIP: In some market conditions, negotiating to have the seller pay points may be an option. Talk with your real estate professional and lender.
The month-to-month home mortgage payment primarily pays off principal and interest. Many loan providers likewise consist of regional real estate taxes, homeowners insurance coverage, and home mortgage insurance coverage, if appropriate. If you are re-financing compare what is and isnt consisted of in your funding alternatives. View this video and it should make sense.
This short video summarizes the main kinds of mortgages available for home buyers: Adjustable Rate Mortgage, commonly called “ARM” Fixed-Rate Mortgages Balloon Mortgages 2-Step Mortgages ARMs, as the name suggests, will change over time. As market interest rates vary, the mortgage interest rates and payments will vary with them. Buyers opting for ARM loans take on responsibility for meeting payments even if interest rates go up significantly. Fixed rate mortgages lock in interest rates for the entire loan. If the interest rate on a fixed-rate loan is higher than an ARM today, the rate and payments will not change in the years to come. Balloon mortgages are sort of “shaped like a balloon” — smaller at the bottom, bigger at the top. In financial terms, balloon mortgages provider lower interest rates for the early years of a loan — usually 5 years, 7 years, or 10 years. Then the balance and interest are adjusted and refinanced, which sometimes requires a large ‘balloon’ payment. Two-Step mortgages are like super-simplified ARMs. Interest rates adjust, but only one time. Other options for mortgages are available, and worth investigating for your particular situation. For veterans, VA loans are a frequently a great option; see the VA loan series on this site for additional details. Other government programs for non-veterans may also be available. Real estate professionals and lenders can help you make sense of the current market and the options that might suit you best.
The mortgage Loan Estimate includes two lists of services involved in the loan process: services you CAN shop, and services you CANNOT shop. Borrowers are free to shop and compare the first list; they may have the lender provide these services, or another part. Borrowers MUST use the lender or listed provider for services on the other list. The CAN shop list might include the following: Pest Inspection Property-Line Survey Title-related services. These might be broken down further: Lenders title policy, protecting the lenders interest in the collateral (usually, the property.) Settlement agent fees, to cover the costs of facilitating the final transaction. Title Search, to document legal ownership of the property. Title Insurance Binder, which allows use of the title search results for a period of time. Fees from providers on the list provided by the lenders are restricted by the Loan Estimate figures; their fees cannot change by more than 10% between estimate and closing disclosure. Providers not on the list are not restricted by the Loan Estimate; the lender is not responsible for changes in their fees or variances from the estimate.
The mortgage Loan Estimate includes two lists of services involved in the loan process: services you CANNOT shop, and services you CAN shop. See the other video in this series on "can shop." The Cannot Shop list covers fees and costs for outside parties (not the lender themselves). This list may include: Tax status research on the property Tax monitoring on property-tax payments Appraisal, which gives the lender a reliable value for the property Credit Reporting on the borrower. Flood Risk fees Flood Zone Monitoring Fees for these services in the Loan Estimate and in the final Loan Disclosure must match. There is ZERO tolerance for change on these items under lender compliance regulations.
Lenders supply a Loan Estimate form for valid mortgage applications. This form documents these essential elements of the approved loan: Services borrowers CAN shop in relation to the loan Services borrowers CANNOT shop Loan terms Loan costs Project payments Cash and costs required to close the loan A loan summary to aid comparing this estimate to other estimates. Loan Estimate forms also provide details about loan assumption policies, appraisal, insurance, late-payment policies, and refinancing. The Estimate should also disclose whether the lender intends to service the loan directly. All Loan Estimates are not identical. Information that is NOT related to a specific application may be excluded. Careful reading and comparison is always a good practice.