There’s no way around it, mortgage rates have been on the rise in 2022. With the uncertainty of where rates may go, you should do everything in your power to increase your chance at getting the best rate available to you. Your mortgage rate will depend on things such as your personal credit profile, income, current debt load, and down payment amount.
Improve your credit score
Your lender will check your credit score and report with the three major credit bureaus before they can secure the best rate for you. If your score is below 740, it’s worth the effort to boost your credit score. First, look for any errors on your report and dispute them with the bureau reporting it. Next, make steps to pay down all debts and maintain low credit card balances. Don’t close any accounts though, this will reduce the available credit you have. You should aim to use no more than 30% of the limit on any credit card while continuing to make payments on time.
Reduce your debts
If earning extra income isn’t possible, cutting expenses may be the way to lowering your debt-to-income ratio, also known as your DTI. Decrease entertainment related purchases, forgo the vacation this year and eat out less. Lenders use your DTI as a representation of your personal financial fitness and ultimately, as a way to judge how much of a risk you are to lend to. Ideally, your DTI should be around 36% or less making you a better candidate for a lower mortgage rate. For example, if you make $8,000 a month and you’ll only be spending $2,800 (35% of your income) on your mortgage payment and other debt payments.
Save for a bigger down payment
Most loans require a minimum down payment amount, with USDA and VA loans being the exceptions. Putting down more than the minimum shows the lender that you’re willing to invest more in the property, making you less risky and therefore eligible for a more attractive interest rate. If you put down less than 20% on the loan, you’ll most likely be required to have private mortgage insurance (PMI). Having to pay PMI premiums will affect you the same as a higher rate will be increasing your monthly payment and total borrowing costs.
Look into a shorter term loan
When you select a 15 year fixed rate mortgage instead of a 30 year fixed rate mortgage, the interest rate will typically be lower. Although this may mean a slightly higher monthly payment, you’ll have the benefits of paying interest on the loan and also paying off the home in half the time, potentially saving you thousands over the life of your loan.
Current market conditions, your credit history and other details about your financial life will be how lenders personalize your interest rate. Since you can’t control the markets, it’s up to you to build your creditworthiness and obtain the best interest rate available to you.