Monday, April 2, 2012

Mortgage Rates Are Rising! Or Are They Falling?

When mortgage rates began to rise in January, it caught the attention of a lot of future local homebuyers. If they had been enticed by the record-breaking low mortgage rates that had been headline news for so long, many of them began to reconsider their leisurely home-hunting pace.  Now we have an interesting turnaround: last Tuesday, the FHFA reported yet another reversal. They say that rates fell again: either nine or ten basis points, or --depending on how it’s reported-- five.

It may seem a little difficult to sort that one out.  The difference between five basis points and ten basis points is, after all, 100%. But mortgage rate reporting can be like that. As the FHFA (it’s the outfit that regulates Fannie Mae) points out in the fine print, interest rates are typically determined 30 to 45 days before a loan is closed. So even when you have last week’s report in hand, the apparent trend might be misleading. Even if it were clear what the exact size of the rate dip was -- and it isn’t. 

All this is an indicator of a basic residential real estate truism: in addition to using a great local real estate agent, today’s house-hunter will be well served to enlist the help of a great local mortgage broker, too. Your local mortgage broker will be on top of what area lenders are doing, what they are looking for, and what the latest timing realities are. Your mortgage broker will paint a clear picture of what to expect based on your individual financial picture, and will work with you to shape a loan package that works for you, the seller, and the lender alike.   

It’s worth noting that mortgage brokers are no longer allowed to pay referral fees to any Realtor. That tends to work in your favor, since it solidifies the fact that at the end of the day it's solely by doing a great job for you that a local mortgage broker stands to earn repeat business.

If you are considering buying a local home, please don’t hesitate to call me for a complimentary buyer’s consultation.   If you like, I can introduce you to a great mortgage broker, and you can decide if now is the time to make your new home a reality!

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