A basic guide to getting a good mortgage rate: Compare & choose

by Allan Wulff, MBA. Ph.D. 01/07/2024

If you’re trying to find the best possible mortgage rate, compare and research your options carefully. Similarly to when comparison-shopping for products or services, the more you know about the choices available to you, the better your decision will be.

However, mortgage rates are more complicated than other types of comparison shopping. With multiple factors determining interest rates, here are the most important things to know:

Factors affecting mortgage rates

Your credit score is one major factor in determining your loan rates. The higher your score, the lower your risk is considered by the lender, and the lower your payment rate. Other financial details like debt-to-income ratio are also on the table. 

The type of mortgage you choose also impacts your rates. A fixed-rate mortgage will have a higher interest rate overall, but will never change. An adjustable rate mortgage may begin with a low rate, but increase over the life of the loan.

Down payment amount can also affect mortgage interest rates. Often, a larger down payment might qualify you for a lower rate.

Market factors

Unfortunately, it’s not possible to control every factor in determining mortgage rates. The national and global economies and the Federal Reserve all affect the mortgage market and interest rates. Mortgage lenders take these “big picture” factors into account with your personal financials when offering you a rate.

How to find the best mortgage rate

It can seem overwhelming to check interest rates while searching for a mortgage. Unfortunately, it can require some time to learn the best way to do it. 

Comparing loan rates with lenders directly is the quickest and most important step in the house purchasing process. Even small differences in rates of six figures will accumulate dramatically over a 30-year mortgage. 

Knowing what to expect for a monthly mortgage payment is crucial to budgeting, and understanding the ins-and-outs of how an interest rate is calculated will help. Consult a financial advisor or research online to find the most pertinent information when searching for your perfect mortgage loan.

About the Author

Allan Wulff, MBA. Ph.D.

Hello and thank you for visiting! Selling or buying real estate is very serious business! I provide extraordinary results! Prior to real estate I was President/CEO of a number of area technology companies, Vice-Chairman of the INOVA Hospital Association and have been a long time member of the Association for Corporate Growth. With a broker’s training and experience, you get more than just a realtor agent. My negotiating skills and astute problem solving capabilities, honed by executive experience, have proved extremely effective for my clients in achieving their dreams and real estate goals in this current complex and fast paced market. As a long time Northern Virginia resident my experience will benefit you whether you are buying a home or selling a home or are a returning client checking out the many homeowner resources my associates and I offer. Buying a home? I look forward to helping you select the home of your dreams by taking time to listen to your needs and desires. Selling a home? My real estate expertise and many effective marketing programs will give you the exposure and edge you need to sell your home quickly for top dollar. Testimonials. I appreciate the opportunity to continue to serve you and hope you take advantage of the valuable resources I provide. Come back to visit often! I consider this community an excellent place to reside and would love to share with you my enthusiasm for the many neighborhoods in the area. I pride myself on providing unparalleled service and look forward to developing a long-term relationship with you. Please feel free to contact me if you would like to discuss how I can best assist you with your real estate goals. Sincerely, Allan Wulff