October 5, 2010 6:54 pm
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About The "National" Rate
If you've spent any amount of time looking for mortgage rates online, you'll find sites touting "national rates" for purchase and refinances.
The most highly-trafficked ones include:
- Freddie Mac's Weekly Mortgage Rates
- Bankrate.com's National Overnight Average
- HSH's Mortgage Rate Survey
And when people visit these sites for "rates", what they're looking is for something akin to a MSRP for Mortgages; a way to keep their lender honest about rate quotes and such.
Sadly, markets don't work that way. You can't visit a national website for a single mortgage rate any more than that you could watch a national forecast for a single weather report.
And don't just take my word for it -- check out Freddie Mac's region-by-region breakdown. Each area of the country is broken out by its local rates and fees. The West tends to be more expensive than the Northeast, for example, but with lower mortgage rates.
Furthermore, rates vary by individual -- a characteristic of mortgages that absolutely can't be captured in a national survey.
National surveys are quotes out of context; good for watching trends, but not much else.
There's The Base Rate, Then There's The Adjustments
When you're need an actual mortgage rate quote, the national surveys aren't going to cut it. You're going to have to speak with a loan officer, or use on an online mortgage approval system to get it.
Even if you're the best of the best of the best with respect to income, assets and credit.
Mortgage pricing has two parts to it, similar to how you buy a suit.
- There's the mortgage "base rate" -- the suit you buy off-the-rack
- There's the base rate "adjustments" -- the tailoring of the suit to your fit
As for determining the base rate, Wall Street sets it and there's nothing we can do about it.
Adjustments, on the other hand, are a different story.
Mortgage rates get adjusted for all sorts of reasons. Some of which you're probably aware of, but most you probably are not:
- What is your loan size? Smaller than $100,000? Bigger than $417,000?
- What is your credit score? Higher than 780? Lower than 740?
- What is your property type? Condo? Multi-unit?
- What is your specific loan-to-value? Below 60 percent? Higher than 75 percent?
And, perhaps the most overlooked reason for adjustment: In what state do you live?
Because of adjustments, it's clear that national mortgage surveys are nothing, if not incomplete. A rate shopper's true rate is not going to be reflected at the Freddie Mac Web site, or on Bankrate.com, or anywhere else -- it can only come from a mortgage lender who's asked specific mortgage-related questions.
Get A Rate Quote You Can Take To The Bank
When you need a "real" rate quote, talk to a loan officer about it. There's too many nuances to do it otherwise. You can get a real rate quote by calling me at 770-547-3450 or email Mike@flippermcdaniel.com.
I work with Knowledgeable and competitive local Lenders. Get a rate Quote within 1 hour.