Can I get the lowest mortgage rates?

While it's easy to find ads for the lowest mortgage rates, actually getting those prices is often a lot trickier. In truth, there are no guarantees, but there are several things you can do to get the best deal on a home loan.

Credit score

The lowest mortgage rates are typically based on perfect, or at least excellent, credit scores. Typically, a borrower with a perfect credit score can expect lower interest rates and more loan choices. But even if your score isn't perfect, you can improve the quotes you're likely to get by addressing any errors on your credit report, paying bills on time and paying off any outstanding balances.

Down payment

Qualifying for the lowest mortgage rates won't mean very much if you don't have enough cash for at least 20 percent of the down payment. Some lenders may still give you the loan with as little as 3.5 percent down. However, you may have to pay private mortgage insurance on top of your monthly payments if you can't come up with a 20 percent down payment.

Don't forget closing costs

Getting the lowest mortgage rate isn't the only thing a cost-conscious borrower needs to consider. Closing costs can run into the thousands, so it's a good idea to price out loans with the interest payments and estimated closing costs in mind.

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