Mortgage Mavin Find the best mortgage

How to Find Mortgage Information

There are so many options in home financing that it really does pay to shop around. This lesson explains how to find the mortgage info that you need - quickly and efficiently.

Where to Look

The fastest way to gather information is via the internet. A quick online search will reveal many sources of vital mortgage information. Here are several I found on the day I searched.

  • This site is easy to use, and it provides a wealth of useful information. You can quickly find interest rate, points, and fees for fixed-rate and adjustable-rate mortgages. And all of the information is tailored to your situation: your loan amount, your part of the country, your credit history, etc.

  • Amerisave. This site is also easy to use, and it also provides a lot of good information - interest rates, points, and fees for fixed-rate and adjustable-rate mortgages. And, like E-Loan, all of the information is tailored to your situation: your loan amount, your part of the country, your credit history, etc.

  • Quicken Loans. This site provides up-to-the-minute info on current rates for some common loan packages (e.g., a 15-year fixed rate loan, a 30-year fixed-rate loan, and a 5-year adjustable rate mortgage).

Use this information to conduct a preliminary mortgage analysis, a topic covered in the next lesson. Following the preliminary analysis, you will be prepared to choose a loan provider, either directly or through a mortgage broker.

What to Look For

Previously, we discussed factors that contribute to loan cost (e.g., interest rate, points, closing fees, etc.). You will need to gather this information for each mortgage offering that you consider.

In addition, you need to know the term of the loan and the number of payment periods. For adjustable-rate mortgages, you need to know when the first adjustment period occurs, as well as the schedule for any subsequent adjustment periods. And you need to know about rate caps, periodic caps, and lifetime caps.

And finally, if you are considering non-traditional mortgages (e.g., a convertible ARM, two-step mortgage, or balloon loan), you need to collect info on the special terms and conditions associated with those options.

This information will be input for your analysis. You will plug the data you collect into the mortgage calculator in order to compute the total cost of the mortgage, as well as other financial outputs.

Narrow Your Search

Based on your mortgage goal (see previous lesson), you may be able to eliminate certain kinds of mortgages from consideration. Consider the following examples.

  • Dick is a risk-averse retiree who plans to live in his new home for a long time. To guard against rising interest rates, Dick has the following constraint on his mortgage goal: The interest rate should remain constant during the life of the loan. Based on this constraint, Dick does not need to gather info on adjustable-rate mortgages; instead, he can focus on fixed-rate mortgages.

  • Jane is buying a house to live in while she attends college, no more than 4 years. Jane has the following mortgage goal: Interest payments over the life of the loan should be as small as possible. Based on this goal, Jane might focus on adjustable-rate mortgages rather than fixed-rate mortgages, since adjustable-rate mortgages tend to have lower interest rates in the first years of the mortgage.

Like Dick and Jane, you can save time and energy by focusing only on those types of mortgages that are consistent with your mortgage goal.