Two challenging questions that surround every loan are – How does a lender determine my interest rate? What can I do to ensure I get the best possible rate? To answer these questions, we must consider three criteria on which a lender bases their decision.
Credit Rating – The credit score is the most important point in mortgage lending. Lenders will look at score and for multiple late payment occurrences over the last two year
Ratios – Secondly, the borrower’s monthly obligations (this does not include utilities, phone, or items generally not reported on a credit report) are calculated and reviewed by lenders. Two ratios are determined, front-end and back-end. For most lenders, a “grade A” conventional loan is one in which a borrower has a front-end ratio less than 28% and a back-end ratio less than 36%. For example, a borrower has a gross monthly income of $4,000, a car payment of $350, a credit card payment of $55, and a new house payment of $1,000. The calculations are as follows:
- $4,000/1,000 = 25% Front-end Ratio
- $4,000/1,405 = 35% Back-end Ratio
Down Payment – Thirdly, the lender factors in the amount of a borrower’s initial down payment. The less money spent on the down payment means a higher interest rate charged by the lender. Simply stated, more risk for the lender equals a higher rate for the borrower. Even if a borrower has perfect credit and wants to put 0% down, their rate will generally be about ½% higher than a person who puts 10% down.
After a lender has considered the three points described above, the borrower’s application must pass the specifications set by an underwriting department for the loan to be approved.