Zillow Mortgage Marketplace‘s most recent survey indicates that there are many aspects of the home buying process that continue to elude prospective home buyers. Here are some of the more surprising results of the findings, along with five things home buyers don’t know, but should:
Mortgage rates vary daily
A whopping 55 percent of prospective home buyers don’t realize that mortgage rates, which are determined by a slew of factors, can – and do – change daily (and sometimes more than once a day if certain economic reports are released.) To get the best rates, you have to monitor them (watch the movement of the 10-year Treasury bond; that’s your best indicator.) and shop around. After all, a change in a rate of a mere .125% to .25% could mean thousands of dollars in savings each year.
Lender fees are negotiable
When you apply for a mortgage, the bottom line is that you’re going to have to pay lender fees. And these fees — from origination fees to credit report fees to appraisal fees and more — can add up quickly. But the good news — and what 34 percent of prospective home buyers don’t know — is that fees not only vary from one lender to the next, but that they’re negotiable. All the more reason to shop around for different mortgage rates from various lenders.
FHA loans are available to all buyers
More than two in five (42%) prospective home buyers think that only first-time buyers qualify for an FHA loan, a mortgage insured by the Federal House Administration. That’s not the case. In fact, these loans are available to all buyers who meet eligibility requirements. Among the key benefits: minimal down payments, relaxed credit score requirements, low costs, and attractive interest rates.
Interest rates on ARMs don’t always reset higher
While interest rates on 5/1 ARMs do commonly increase after 5 years, rates could decrease. Prospective home buyers may not realize this because so many of us — some 57 percent, in fact – simply don’t know how adjustable rate mortgages work. FYI: the interest rate on this product is made up of two parts — the margin, which is fixed percentage; and the index, which goes both up and down with the general movement of interest rates.
Pre-qualified doesn’t mean much
Just because you’ve been “pre-qualified” for a loan doesn’t mean you’ve secured financing, yet 37 percent of prospective home buyers think it does. When a lender “pre-qualifies” you, they simply approximate how much you can afford, but don’t run your credit or request any sort of documentation to verify the information you provide. It is not until a lender has approved your loan application without conditions that you’ve got a firm commitment.