The time has come for you to buy a home, or refinance the existing mortgage on your home. You know that a low mortgage rate can help you save money over the long-term, so you want to get the best mortgage rate. When you begin the thought process about finding a mortgage loan, you will become aware of all types of advertisements from lenders telling you they have the best deal. So how do you know you are getting the best deal? Here are a few tips to help you on your way:

Compare Mortgage Rates Among Lenders

Talk to at least 3 mortgage lenders about your financing needs, so you can compare the rates side by side. Ask them what interest rates they are charging for their fixed rate mortgage loans. Since lenders can structure loan financing several ways, you should ask them the following 3 questions:

  1. What is the rate you charge with zero points?
    A lender can offer you a lower interest rate if you are willing to prepay some of the loan interest up-front (paying discount points). You can always pay discount points if it makes sense for you, but asking for a lender's zero-point rates will help make the lender comparison process easier.
  2. What are the other loan related fees you charge?
    A lender may decide to charge several loan related fees instead of a higher interest rate, so you will need to get this list from them to help you make your comparison. Fees can go by many different names, but common names include origination fee, documentation fee, and administration fee.
  3. What is the Annual Percentage Rate (APR)?
    OK, so you get a list of fees from lenders, but some have lower interest rates than others. How can you make an accurate comparison? The Annual Percentage Rate (APR) was created for this very purpose. The APR on a loan is the combined cost of a loan's interest rate and fees. Lenders will provide you with their APR if you ask. You can also use an online APR calculator to determine the values yourself.