How to Find the Best California Mortgage
According to the National Association of Realtors, the median price for a single-family home in California topped out at an eye-popping $542,000 in fourth-quarter 2005. While finding the best possible mortgage loan rate is important wherever you live, prices like these underscore the importance of doing your mortgage homework if you live in California.
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Compared to other homeowners, Californians pay one of the highest premiums in the country for their warm, sunny climate. According to the National Association of Realtors, the median price for a single-family home in California topped out at an eye-popping $542,000 in fourth-quarter 2005. While finding the best possible mortgage loan rate is important wherever you live, prices like these underscore the importance of doing your mortgage homework if you live in California.
According to 'Looking for the Best Mortgage', an article published by the Federal Reserve, getting a good rate on your California mortgage is basically a three-step process. The Fed's strategy, which it calls 'Shop, Compare and Negotiate', says a mortgage is essentially a product like a car. Just like the price of a new Caddy, the price and terms for a home loan are often negotiable. So, says the Fed, it pays to shop, compare and negotiate.
The first step in the process — shopping for the best home purchase loan, home equity loan or refinance loan — is easier than ever. That's because of the dramatic increase in the number and popularity of online lenders. Nationally recognized lenders like Home 123 or Ameriquest now offer a wide variety of mortgage products in many states, including California. Besides offering mortgage products that combine convenience and flexibility, online lenders are also available 24/7 to give you a free mortgage quote — something that can't be said of traditional brick-and-mortar lenders like banks or credit unions.
Shopping around for your California mortgage is just the first step. After that, you'll want to compare the offers you've received. Make a checklist that contains all the key information about rates, points, fees, the down payment, and the cost of private mortgage insurance. Set up the worksheet in a spreadsheet program like Microsoft Excel and give each lender a column of its own. That way it's easy to compare lenders — and the bottom line — side-by-side.
Finally, says the Federal Reserve, don't assume a lender's offer is the last word in your search for the best California mortgage. That's because mortgage lenders frequently offer different terms and rates to different customers, even if those customers are equally qualified for a mortgage loan. It pays to negotiate, so now is the time to show a prospective lender that you're a savvy consumer shopping for the best possible deal. Don't be afraid to ask for lower fees, a lower rate or fewer points!
In conclusion, when buying a home or negotiating a home equity loan or refinance loan, don't forget to shop around, compare offers and flex your negotiating muscles. That way you'll get the best possible deal on your California mortgage!