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Tips on Getting the Best Mortgage Rates

News | 30th Oct 2012

Boosting Your Credit Number the Most Important Step

With a recovery in housing underway, increasing numbers of people have become interested in buying a home.  The unprecedented low interest rates that are available today have even more people considering a refinancing of the homes that they have.  So just how do you get one of these low interest mortgages?  The simple answer is to have an impressive financial history.

Experts in home finance agree that the key elements for qualifying are good credit ratings and a stable work history.  These two factors are the most help in receiving a 30 year fixed rate loan in the 3% range.  Even if you do not qualify for the lowest rate however, you still may be able to borrow at a rate 1% higher which historically speaking is still a very good rate.

Your credit score is the first thing a lender will look at to determine if you are worthy of a loan.  For the most favorable rates, you will need to be in the very good to excellent category.  That means a score of 720 or higher.  The FICO scale which most banks use has a credit range from 300 to 850.  You are entitled to receive one free credit report a year. is one place to order it.  If you do not like what you get back, take these steps to boost your numbers.

  • Set up payment reminders to pay your bills on time.  This is the biggest factor in determining your score.
  • Reduce the amount you owe.  Start by using your credit cards less.

Adequate Income is the Second largest Factor

Banks need to know that you are capable of meeting your payments every month.  Lenders generally want to see that your total monthly liabilities are not more than 40% of your total gross monthly income.  Liabilities will include car payments, credit card payments, student loan payments, and property taxes.  The 40% figure can go up to 45% if you have a large amount of disposable income.  The 40% will include the mortgage you apply for so one way to meet the threshold is to pay down other debts such as credit card bills.

Having a stable job history helps you qualify for a loan.  Typically you will need to have two consecutive years in the same job or at least in the same industry.  If you have been laid off or had a period of unemployment in the last two years, you will not likely qualify for the lowest rate.

If you do not have a stable job history, you may still be able to qualify for a government subsidized program, such as a FHA loan.  These loans have been set up for low income households.  They generally have rates that are about 1% higher than the lowest rate found through commercial loans.  They will also have added benefits such as low down payments and lower credit qualifying standards.

One final suggestion will be to start saving your money.

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