How to Qualify for a Low-Interest Rate Mortgage in New Jersey
The best way to get a low interest rate will depend on the loan program that you are pursuing and the mortgage company that you have selected. First-time homebuyers, borrowers with perfect credit, clients with a ‘moderate’ amount of total income, and buyers with 30% or greater down payment will generally get the lowest interest rates available.
The most publicized factor that affects the mortgage rate is credit score. It should be noted that your credit score only affects your interest rate for Conventional (Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac) loans, and that all FHA and VA loans with credit scores of 620 or higher have the same interest rates.
Credit scores can also shift the interest rate significantly for non-traditional mortgage loans. These types of loans are typically for self-employed borrowers, bank statement programs (using only bank statements to calculate income), debt service coverage ratio (DSCR) programs (using only rental income is used for qualification), and for no documentation loans.
How can you improve your credit score to get the lowest rate?
The simple answer is to ask your NJ Mortgage Broker for help! The best NJ Mortgage Brokers are knowledgeable about how credit scores are calculated. They can help you maximize your credit score by removing derogatory items (lates, collections, past-due accounts) and adding positive items (secured credit cards, co-signed installment loan debts – i.e. family member car loans, and new credit cards). Although there are many articles on improving your credit score, there is a tremendous amount of misinformation, and your best option is to speak with your trusted NJ Mortgage Broker for tailored advice based on your exact credit file scenario.
The second way to get the best rate is to be a first-time homebuyer. The definition of this classification varies for each mortgage company. Brightwire Loans, an NJ Mortgage Broker, defines it as not having an ownership interest in any property in the last 3 years. Being a first-time buyer may seem like something out of your control, but there are a few creative ways to qualify for one of these programs. For example, one idea is to include a family member on your loan (who doesn’t need to live at the property) who is considered a first time buyer. While there are some serious pros/cons to consider for this strategy, it is one that has worked well for past clients.
The third way to get the best rate is to be under the income threshold for the census tract where the property is located. If your income is 120% or less than median income for the area you are purchasing (meaning you are an average earner for that area), you can also score a lower interest rate. What is the best way to confirm if you meet this income threshold? Ask your NJ Mortgage Broker.
The final way to get the best interest rate is to make a down payment of 30% or more of the purchase price (borrow 70% or less of the purchase price on your loan). Many clients initially think that increasing their down payment will not be possible. However, once they speak with an NJ Mortgage Broker, they may learn that gift funds, retirement accounts, 401k loans, home equity line of credit loans, and even unsecured personal loans may be utilized towards down payment. A larger down payment is also helpful in a competitive market to get your offer accepted and helps minimize the monthly payment for your loan.