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Mortgage rates: When is it time to buy or refinance?

Buying or refinancing a home is a major financial decision requiring more than comparing mortgage rates. Using mortgage calculators can help with determining your financial readiness, but there's more involved than comparing mortgage rates alone.

Buying or refinancing: More than mortgage rates

Deciding when or if to buy a home requires considering multiple factors. Although mortgage lenders typically focus on advertising low mortgage rates, your priorities, finances and personal circumstances are important factors when shopping for a home loan or mortgage refinance.

  • Readiness: Don't be pressured into buying a home by others. If you're planning to stay in the same area for several years and are financially prepared to buy, that's great. Buying before you're ready can lead to problems later. Estimate your financial readiness for buying a home using a mortgage prequalification calculator.
  • Credit scores and savings: Your FICO credit scores and savings for meeting down payments and closing costs is a major aspect of being ready to buy or refinance. Higher credit scores typically lead to lower mortgage rates. Using a mortgage comparison calculator helps with evaluating mortgage quotes. Paying down consumer debt can also improve your chances of qualifying for favorable mortgage rates and terms. Strive for FICO credit scores of 720 or more.
  • Costs of owning a home: First-time buyers can lose sight of the additional costs of owning a home; to determine how much you can afford to spend, factor in property taxes, hazard and mortgage insurance, home repairs and maintenance, and budget for emergency savings.
  • Shop and compare mortgage quotes: Real estate agents and others may attempt to steer you toward a particular mortgage broker or lender; it's best to obtain mortgage quotes from several sources. Compare the annual percentage rate (APR) posted on each mortgage quote. This is the estimated cost of the mortgage including lender fees, closing costs and mortgage interest. Comparing APR percentages provides an estimate of costs for each mortgage. Reviewing itemized mortgage quotes and comparing line by line can help with identifying "junk fees" and other expenses that can be negotiated or eliminated.

Planning for your home purchase loan or refinance mortgage using mortgage calculators can help you save while finding a mortgage matching your needs.



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Today's Best Mortgage Rates

Product

Today

+/-

Last Week

5/1 ARM

3.18 %

3.15 %

15 Year Fixed

2.65 %

2.59 %

30 Year Fixed

3.85 %

3.86 %