Mortgage Q&A: “Are mortgage rates negotiable?”
Nothing is set in stone, and there’s certainly plenty of wiggle-room, especially when we’re talking about thousands of dollars changing hands.
However, like anything else you shop for, you may be told that prices/rates are firm, or are as low as they can go.
This isn’t the case, as mortgage rates can always be adjusted up or down in a variety of different ways.
This isn’t pure “negotiation” because you’re actually paying prepaid interest upfront to lower costs during the loan term, but it does prove that mortgage rates can be adjusted.
The opposite is also true – like in the case of a no cost refinance, where you pay nothing out-of-pocket, but take on a higher mortgage rate to compensate the originator for that lack of costs.
Ask for Multiple Mortgage Rate Quotes
But a more pure form of negotiation involves comparing rates for the same product from a variety of different banks and lenders.
First, you’ll want to obtain multiple quotes from a single lender, by asking for a series of interest rate/cost combinations, as discussed above.
What would the mortgage rate be with no closing costs, or just $1,000 in closing costs? What if you paid $5,000 in closing costs?
After getting all those quotes, jot them down, then shop around with other lenders to see who has the best rate and lowest fees.
Once your shopping is complete, you can go back to the lender who offered you the best deal and ask for a slightly lower rate or reduced closing costs, using another bank or broker’s offer as leverage, even if it doesn’t really exist.
There’s a good chance you’re not getting the rock-bottom rate the first time around, so why just accept it as the best offer? Always haggle! Especially when something has the potential to hit your pocketbook for the next 360 months!
Use Competition to Your Advantage
They may make a little less in the way of commission, but still enough to want to close your loan.
Don’t believe it when they tell you they’re “just breaking even” or “not making enough” to do the deal. This is simply their justification to make more money while you pay more. In the end, they need your business more than you need theirs, so remember that during negotiations.
There are also loan originators who work on volume, so for them, just getting your deal, even if they aren’t making a whole lot on the loan itself, could boost their profits and be well worth their while.
Be sure to compare mortgage rate quotes online, visit local banks, and speak to a few mortgage brokers. It’s a big deal to get a mortgage, so why stop at just one or two quotes? Negotiating is a lot easier when you’re pitting multiple lenders against one another.
All that talking the talk may also make you a fiercer opponent when speaking to subsequent lenders. You’ll actually sound like you know what you’re talking about.
Just make sure you actually lock your mortgage rate when you’re happy with the deal. If it’s not locked, the interest rate isn’t guaranteed. And if anything, it’s more than likely going to rise from the quote you originally received.
This failure to lock might be why we hear so many “bait and switch” stories from borrowers. A few days go by, the market worsens, and the original rate is no longer available. Often it’s the truth!