Buying a home is exciting but getting the best mortgage or remortgage deal is even better.
Signing on to a mortgage with a competitive interest rate means you will save £100s each month, and over the loan’s entire life.
Small variations in rates offered by different lenders can make a significant difference. Over the course of a 30-year mortgage loan, the difference between a 3.25 percent and a 3.00 percent interest rate is more than £5,000 for every £100,000 you borrow!
The days of lenders falling over themselves to give you a mortgage are long gone. Securing a mortgage in the good old days of the property boom involved a quick search online, making a phone call and filling a form.
But times have changed with lenders tightening their criteria, asking for larger down payments and cherry-picking the best borrowers.
All hope is not lost, though. As a borrower, you can boost your chances of getting the best mortgage deal by giving yourself a mortgage makeover.
Here’s how to do it:
1. Know Your Different Mortgage Rate Options
When applying for a mortgage loan, you will have two main options:
- A fixed-rate mortgage
- An adjustable-rate mortgage
A fixed-rate mortgage will let you know what your monthly mortgage payment will be. This is because the interest rate on this mortgage is set for the life of the loan. You won’t benefit if interest rates drop, but also, your payments will not increase if rates do.
On the other hand, an adjustable or variable-rate mortgage starts with one interest rate (usually lower) and can fluctuate based on the market after the introductory period.
You will also have the option to pick between a 15-year or 30-year mortgage. While a 30-year mortgage may means a longer scheduled time to pay off your mortgage, required payments will be lower. With paying extra on your mortgage payment every month, you will pay off your mortgage more quickly than with a 15-year mortgage because interest is front loaded on all mortgages so more of you payment goes to principle.
2. Research Different Mortgage Companies
Before you decide who will originate your mortgage loan, do some research online.
As a starting point, check what your existing bank offers. But know that you will only get a tiny range of deals.
The key to landing the best mortgage rate is to get quotes from several lenders.
You’ll be off to a good start if you can narrow your options down to a handful of places. Your options may be limited if you want to pursue an assistance program for a certain lender.
Ensure you know how much you can afford to pay monthly. Online mortgage calculators will give you an initial sense of your rate options if you have no idea where to start.
Just enter details like your location, income and down payment and the calculator will present your potential options from different lenders.
3. Consult a Mortgage Broker
After benchmarking a good rate, approach a mortgage broker you’re comfortable with and ask them if they can beat it. A mortgage broker will match you with the best deals you’ll be accepted for.
You can ask for recommendations on mortgage brokers from family, friends and colleagues.
When you pick a few, ask them how they charge their fees and if they’re qualified.
Notable mortgage brokers include John Charcol, Trussle, Trinity Financial, Habito and London & Country.
4. Look at First-Time Homebuyer Programs
Many counties and districts offer first-time homebuyer programs aimed at spurring homeownership in their areas.
Some of these special programs come in the form of grants that help first-time homebuyers’ with close costs or down payments, while others are low-interest mortgages.
Either way, these programs can help move the affordability needle considerably.
Before settling on a mortgage or a home, check to see if you’re eligible for Help to Buy, First Homes scheme, 95% mortgage guarantee scheme, etc.
5. Pay Attention to the Hard Sell
Some brokers and lenders try to make more money from you in the mortgage process.
When checking the mortgage paperwork, watch out for the hard sell on Mortgage Payment Protection Insurance (MPPI), bundled buildings/contents insurance and life cover from your mortgage seller.
Ensure you absolutely need these products before accepting them.
Your mortgage is likely to be your largest financial commitment. Finding the best mortgage deal is no small feat, but it becomes a whole lot less complicated when you have your ducks in a row before you get started.
Once you settle on a rate and lender, consider applying for a mortgage pre-approval and locking your rate in.
This is especially important if you live in a rising rate neighbourhood, as it will help you solidify that low rate as you shop around for your dream home. Whether buying a home or a car, ALWAYS fall in love with a price, know what you can afford BEFORE shopping. Once you have secured your pre-approval, THEN it is time to shop within that pre-approved budget. Shopping first usually ends in spending more than we should.