If you elect to get quotes from providers but aren’t sure where to start, there’s a simplified way to go about it: rates, terms, and costs.


The interest rate determines how much it’s going to cost to borrow that sum of money. The Annual Percentage Rate, or APR, is a broader view of how much the loan will cost. The APR reflects the interest rate as well as points, fees, credit charges, and other factors. Ask a lender what the interest rate will be as well as the APR. More than that, ask if the interest rate is adjustable or fixed. Adjustable rates can increase over time, which also means an increase in monthly payments.


Lenders also have different terms. For example, they may require a certain percentage of the loan as the initial down payment, most less than 20% and some as little as 3.5%.

Take advantage of any special programs or deals available in your area. Alternative funding with neighborhood banks, credit unions, and online lenders all have the potential for competing terms and the best part is that these deals can be comparable to bigger corporate banks.


And don’t forget to read the fine print! Fees are very common among mortgage providers, and some are higher than others. At closing, you may be charged with application fees, underwriting fees, transaction fees, and more. These can be “rolled” into your mortgage, increasing the cost of the loan.

Did you know you have the power to negotiate? It doesn’t hurt to ask a lender to come down on any of these costs. This is especially true for those with great credit scores. A high credit score is a pretty useful bargaining chip!


Choose a Lender Who Works With You:

When two or more providers have the same (or similar) offers all around, it’s ultimately best to choose the one with better customer service and accessibility. A relationship with your lender is ultimately a long-term one, so it should be with a provider you can trust!