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Buying a House: Understanding Mortgage Rates and Terms

A mortgage is a length of time over which the borrower pays off a debt or borrows funds to purchase an asset such as a house or car. Mortgage rates are the interest rates charged for a mortgage loan. They vary according to many factors, including the borrower’s credit history, the amount of debt, and risk levels. Understanding mortgage terms and rates is important, as they can affect the payments that are made over a period of time.

Interest Types

Mortgage rates for a fixed-rate mortgage loan remain the same for the entire life of the loan; unlike adjustable-rate mortgages, which can be subject to changes in interest rate. Fixed-rate mortgages are a good choice if you are unsure of how long you will want to own your home. If you own your home and plan to live there for 5 years or less, then an adjustable-rate mortgage (ARM) could save you money since ARMs tend to be lower than fixed-rates when interest rates are low. offers a range of solutions for homeowners who need to sell their property quickly.

Credit Ratings

A credit score is a numerical rating used by financial institutions to determine the level of risk associated with borrowers. The lower your credit score, the higher the interest rate you will pay on a mortgage loan to finance your home. The higher your credit score, the lower your rate should be. If you have excellent or excellent (660 and above) credit, then you can expect to pay very low rates on mortgages below 5 percent.

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Down Payment

A down payment is money paid upfront for your mortgage. It is the easiest way to reduce the total amount of money that you need to borrow. The more you put down, the lower your monthly payment will be, and the less your monthly payment will cost over time. Usually a down payment of 20% or more is required to obtain a low-rate mortgage.

Interest Rate

The interest rate you pay on your mortgage is generally the same as the interest rate that you would be charged on a loan for the same amount of money at another institution. i.e., if your bank offers a 3% loan, then you should expect to be charged an interest rate of 3% when you borrow funds through your mortgage lender.

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