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Many aspects of getting a home mortgage can seem complicated, especially for first-time homebuyers. Not everything has to be difficult for borrowers. In fact, one part of the process that doesn’t have to be so complex is if you should lock in a mortgage, and if so, when to do it.
For a path to help you to home ownership with favorable mortgage terms and peace of mind, explore this guide to learn the advantages of how to lock in a mortgage rate, why you should consider doing so, and when it’s good to lock in your loan terms.
Most homebuyers hope to secure a mortgage when interest rates are low. But predicting home mortgage trends and how interest rates may fluctuate is speculative and often ineffective. Plus, it can also be a burden home shoppers may not want to take on, especially if cost certainty is important to you.
By locking in a home mortgage rate, you can plan out future mortgage payments, and you can also avoid facing potentially higher interest rates through your closing. Now, you may ask why you should want to lock in a rate if it’s not a guarantee your rate will go up — what if interest rates fall instead? It’s true that locking in loan terms early can be a bit of a gamble, but the Mortgage Bankers Association predicts 30-year fixed mortgage rates will continue to hover around 5% through the rest of 2022 and the first half of 2023, and if rates do wind up dropping, you can always look into refinancing your mortgage at a later date.
If you choose to lock in a mortgage rate, the cost of doing so varies depending on the lender, their policies and the term length offered to lock in a rate. However, some lenders allow borrowers to have short-term locks without fees.
In most instances, shopping around is beneficial. Getting a mortgage is no different. You don’t want to settle for the first interest rate and loan terms you’ve been quoted — especially if you have good credit. Getting a good interest rate and favorable loan terms can save you thousands of dollars over time. However, locking in a rate for your mortgage and collecting quotes is not the same thing.
It’s good to gather quotes and additional information to help find the best loan terms and interest rate for your mortgage, but don’t lock in until you have made a determination. It’s not a good idea to take out and pay for several loan applications and associated fees, waste your time doing so, or potentially subject your credit to unnecessary hard inquiries.
With rising inflation, interest rates are likely to hold steady and / or continue rising for the foreseeable future. This means now is likely when you should want to lock in a mortgage rate — before rates climb higher. In fact, if you lock in a mortgage rate with a lender, it will reduce the risk of rising interest rates.
With the Lock & Shop program from DCU, members who obtain a pre-qualification letter or preapproval can lock in their rate up to 90 days prior to finding a house. This is significant, not just to get certainty on interest rates, but to help provide peace of mind while you search for the right home to match your budget and needs.
Ultimately, if you know you are buying a new house and find mortgage terms you are satisfied with, why wouldn’t you want to lock in your favorable terms? If interest rates wind up going down once you are locked in, you always have the option to look into refinancing later on.
If you are a member who wants to lock in your mortgage rate with Digital Federal Credit Union, we offer fixed- and adjustable-rate mortgages, plus we’ll service your loan for as long as you have it. This gives peace of mind, as you won’t have to make payments to any other lenders. With our flexible down payment options and competitive rates, now is the time to secure your future home with favorable mortgage terms. You can also learn more about our home mortgages by visiting our Mortgage Learning Center.
Please note, membership is required to accept a DCU Mortgage Loan. Visit our membership eligibility page for more information.
This article is for informational purposes only. It is not intended to serve as legal, financial, investment or tax advice or indicate that a specific DCU product or service is right for you. For specific advice about your unique circumstances, you may wish to consult a financial professional.