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5 techniques for finding the best mortgage rates for your budget

Whether you're purchasing your first home, taking equity out of your home, or renewing your mortgage, finding the best mortgage rates for your budget is just as important. Use these 5 techniques to help you find mortgage rates so low you'll be able to pay off your mortgage years sooner:

Make sure your finances and credit are in order.

  • This should be the first thing you do, since it is also the most important. The reason for this is that, to a certain extent, you control your mortgage rate. Lenders (banks, for example) take your credit score into account. Even if you have a low score, you still might be able to get a mortgage, this just means that you will be paying higher interest fees. By ensuring that you have all of your finances and credit in order, you can lock down the best rate.

Consider a mortgage broker.

  • Although there are always exceptions, a mortgage broker should be able to get you the best rate. This is because banks generally only offer products from their institution, while a mortgage broker could have products from many institutions including banks, credit unions, trust companies, etc. Since there are so many options to choose from, a mortgage broker will generally have the best rates out there to choose from.

Get a second opinion.

  • Just because a mortgage broker gives you one rate, doesn't mean that you have to stick with it. Some mortgage brokers only work with a limited pool of lenders, meaning that the best mortgage rates that they can provide you might not be the best mortgage rates out there. Not only that, but sometimes the best rates are only available directly from the lenders themselves. Either way, getting a second opinion can either reassure you that you have the best rate or help you find it.

Ask friends and family.

  • Although many people do not like to discuss their finances with their friends or family, this is a time when it might be a good idea. If your friends and family own a home, they might have been through the very same process and could have some suggestions, but be sure to speak with a reliable source. This is a huge financial decision, after all.

Shop around.

  • Always do your own research and call around or try online comparison shopping to get an idea of what the going rate is. If you are with a bank and you dislike their rate, sometimes you can shop around and find a better rate somewhere else which your bank will match. Although not all banks are willing to do this, it is worth looking into if you want to stick with your bank.

By looking at your current bank, a mortgage broker and doing some online comparison shopping, you should be able to find the best mortgage rates, but in your search always remember to take all fees into account. Sometimes the headline interest rate doesn't tell the whole story and many lenders attach hidden administration fees, so be sure to look for the best combination of both mortgage rates and settlement fees.

With mortgage rates so low, now is a good time to buy, but if you are unsure, there are a number of mortgage calculators online that can help you figure out what your repayments would be at different interest rates. Using these techniques ensures you'll be enjoying your new home (and the best mortgage rates for your budget) in no time.