4 Common Mistakes Mortgage Borrowers Make

Banks Editorial Team · November 17, 2017

If you’re looking to buy a home, chances are that you’ll need to take out a mortgage.

A lot of people are intimidated by the process of taking out a mortgage. As a result, many people don’t take the time to research mortgages and they make mistakes that could be easily avoided. This can cost them time, money, and energy for many years to come.

If you want to get the most out of your mortgage package, avoid the following mistakes:

1. Having a bad credit score

It’s tempting to stick your head in the sand when it comes to your credit score, but unfortunately, that won’t help anyone.

Maintaining a healthy credit score is one of the best ways to get a great deal on your home loan. The better your credit score is, the more likely you are to get a good interest rate on your mortgage.

Check your reports frequently: you might have forgotten about a small, but growing debt that will badly affect your credit score. If your credit score isn’t looking great, take a look at what debts you can pay off to improve it. Ultimately, this will save you money in the future.

2. Not shopping around for a better deal

Shopping around for a mortgage deal might not be as fun as shopping around for your new home, but it’s still important!

Take time to shop around, speak to numerous lenders, and do your homework. Think of it as an investment – you could be saving yourself a great deal of money for years to come.

3. Overestimating the amount they can pay off each month

Many borrowers overestimate how much they should spend paying off their mortgage. In part, this is because being a new homeowner comes with many hidden costs.

A good rule of thumb is to spend less than 28% of your pre-tax paycheck on your mortgage. Any more than that, and it’s unlikely that you’ll be able to pay it back without forgoing other necessities.

In addition to paying off your mortgage, you’ll need to budget for repairs for your new home, covering all the hidden costs most owners ignore. You might also want to renovate certain areas of your home. And that’s not counting other necessities, like a retirement fund, a healthcare plan, car maintenance and more.

4. Focusing on the interest rate instead of the APR

When you’re shopping around for a good deal on your mortgage, you’ll probably compare one interest rate to another. The interest rate is important, but the annual purchase rate – or APR – is what you really need to focus on.

Some lenders might offer you a low interest rate but higher fees. Let’s consider two loans: loan A has an interest rate of 3.9% while loan B has an interest rate of 4.1%. Loan A looks more tempting, but it might have higher admin fees and lending fees. You might end up paying more on loan A than on loan B.

If you want an accurate idea of what you’ll actually end up paying, look at the APR, not the interest rate.

By educating yourself about these common mistakes, you might manage to save yourself time and money in the future.

This will not only mean you can finance your home: it also means you can enjoy it!

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