4 Ways To Get A Better Mortgage Rate Quote

May 19, 2017 - 5 min read

Get A Better Mortgage Rate Quote

It’s taking longer to get a mortgage closed these days and the increase has affected .

Here’s why.

Home buyers and refinancing households get access to better mortgage rates when their loans can close in 45 days or fewer. Loans which take longer than forty-five days to close are subject to a 12.5 basis point (0.125%) increase.

There are a lot of reasons why lenders are taking longer to close loans.

There’s new federal regulation which has slowed down the process; banks have furloughed employees in anticipation of higher rates; and, borrowers are, in general, less prepared for the mortgage underwriting process.

Plus, low rates have spurred new demand.

Thankfully, banks are willing to offer better mortgage rates to applicants who can close in a lesser number of days. You can ask your lender for a 45-day rate lock — or even a 30-day lock — if you think you can help get your loan closed faster.

All it takes to close a loan faster is some basic preparation. The work you do upfront can save you on your mortgage rate, and on your next 30 years of mortgage payments.

Verify your new rate

1. Review Your Credit Report Before Applying

When you apply for a mortgage, among the first steps your lender will take is a full review of your history managing credit.

And, unfortunately, nearly 1-in-4 credit reports contain errors of some kind.

Some credit report errors are minor (i.e. a closed account is marked “open”), however, some are major. For example, a doctor’s bill may have gone into collection that was actually paid-on-time, but misfiled by the physician’s office.

A derogatory credit event such as a collection can affect your credit score by 100 points or more, which can mean the difference between getting approved and getting turned down.

Issues such as this can be corrected, but correcting a credit report takes time and surprises like this are avoidable.

Consumers are entitled to one free credit report per year under federal law. These reports do not show your credit score, but they will tell you whether you have paid accounts on time or missed payments.

Having a “clean” credit report can save one week or more off your mortgage closing time.

2. Have Your Mortgage Paperwork Handy

Every mortgage application is unique and, as such, the paperwork requirements can vary. However, there are a number of papers which are commonly required.

Rather than scramble to gather the necessary forms after your loan is locked, you can save yourself time by collecting the required paperwork in advance.

If you can scan the documents and have them ready to upload or email to your lender, even better. Mailing paperwork can take 2-3 days. Digital uploads are instantaneous.

Typically, mortgage applicants are asked to show:

  • Two most recent years of W-2 statements
  • Two most recent pay stubs from all jobs
  • Two most recent statements from all asset accounts

And, if you’re self-employed or paid in commission, be ready with your last two years of federal tax returns.

For borrowers with , be ready with a rent roll and other documentation related to your other homes.

Your advance preparation can turn into real savings.

3. Know Whether You Want To Pay Closing Costs

Closing costs vary by state, and are different for purchases as compared to refinances. However, you can save time on your mortgage approval if you know how you want to have your closing costs paid.

There are three options for paying mortgage closing costs.

The first option is to pay your mortgage closing costs with cash or home equity. With a home purchase, this means that your closing costs are paid at closing, along with your down payment.

On a refinance, it means that your closing costs are added to your loan balance, which is often known as “rolling your costs” into the loan.

The second option is for home buyers. Using “seller concessions”, you can ask the seller to pay the loan closing costs on your behalf.

Using seller concessions requires an addendum to the home’s purchase contract, so if you know you want to use seller concessions, be sure to ask about it in advance.

Most sellers are willing to give seller concessions for buyers who ask early enough in the process.

And, the third closing cost option is to use a zero-closing cost mortgage.

With a , the borrower’s mortgage rate is increased by a small amount. In exchange for accepting a higher rate, the lender will pay all loan closing costs on the borrower’s behalf.

In general, on a loan size of $400,000, a mortgage rate increase of 12.5 basis points (0.125%) can make the zero-closing cost loan possible.

It’s easier to arrange for a zero-closing cost mortgage at the beginning of the mortgage process because changing how closing costs are paid requires lender to re-issue loan disclosures to all parties.

Verify your new rate

4. Leave Time To Shop Multiple Lenders

Sometimes, in a panic to find a mortgage rate quickly, mortgage borrowers will short-cut the rate shopping process. They’ll shop their “primary” bank only, ignoring what other banks have to offer.

This can be a mistake.

Mortgage rates are different with every bank and the lender with the lowest rates today may not be the lender with the lowest rates tomorrow.

First, you’ll want to settle on the terms of your mortgage. Determine:

  • 30-year fixed, 15-year fixed, or 5-year ARM?
  • Conventional mortgage, FHA mortgage, VA mortgage, or USDA mortgage?
  • No down payment, small down payment, or large down payment?

Then, you’ll want to decide whether you want to pay your own closing costs, or whether you prefer seller concessions or a zero-closing cost mortgage.

Once you’ve settled all that, it’s time to comparison shop.

Speak with at least two lenders (and more if you can!) to gather quotes for mortgage rates and closing costs. Include your current bank or lender on that list, if it’s provided you with good service in the past — just don’t assume that’s where you get the best “deal”.

Ask for written quotes but, because mortgage rates change all day, every day, make sure to do all of your shopping within as small of a time window as possible.

Getting a rate quote at 4:00 PM and comparing it to quote from 10:00 AM the next morning is a waste of your time. Coordinate via phone, email, text message, or app to make sure all of your quotes arrive near the same time.

Also, remember that it’s very hard to compare mortgage rates and mortgage fees at the same time. .

When you’re prepared to shop for your mortgage rate, you can save yourself time. Your lender will know exactly what you want, and you can move toward your closing more quickly.

What Are Today’s Mortgage Rates?

Today’s mortgage rates are low. Plus, with even just a tiny bit of preparation, you can get your lender to quote you even lower.

Get today’s live mortgage rates now. Your social security number is not required to get started, and all quotes come with access to your live mortgage credit scores.

Time to make a move? Let us find the right mortgage for you

Tim Lucas
Authored By: Tim Lucas
The Mortgage Reports Editor
Tim Lucas spent 11 years in the mortgage industry before moving into the world of digital media. He's helped thousands of families buy and refinance real estate at banks and mortgage companies and now continues that mission through industry-leading content. Tim has been featured in national publications such as Time, U.S. News and World Report, MSN, Scotsman Guide, and more.