Your monthly mortgage payment amount is determined by the amount you borrowed and the mortgage you qualified. Mortgage rates are currently at their lowest levels since 2005; if your financial situation has changed since you purchased your home you could significantly lower your payment with a lower mortgage rate. Here are several tips to help you decide if this is the right time to refinance your home loan.
Wholesale Mortgages Rates
If you are a homeowner with good credit the current wholesale mortgage rate is 5.5 percent. Refinancing your mortgage with wholesale rates can be tricky as most homeowners don’t understand how mortgage rates are quoted. The rate quotes your receive online and from your mortgage broker are actually “retail” mortgage rates and can be as much as a half percent to a full percent higher than the going wholesale rate.
What Makes Mortgage Rates Retail?
Mortgage brokers are basically commission based salespeople. Your broker is compensated for their work in two ways; you will pay an origination fee for their services and the lender pays a “rebate” to the broker for closing your loan. A reasonable fee to pay for loan origination is one point, or one percent of your loan amount. If you can get away paying less than one percent you’re doing well, but what about the broker rebate paid by the lender? Should you be concerned about this fee since it’s not coming out of your pocket?
The short answer is yes. You should be very concerned about this fee not because the lender is paying it, but why the lender is paying. Broker rebates are paid for one reason and one reason only. This rebate is a reward for closing loans with above market mortgage rates. That’s right; your mortgage broker receives a bonus form the lender for overcharging you. In the industry this “reward” is called Yield Spread Premium and could wind up costing you thousands of dollars in unnecessary finance charges.
The Mortgage Industry Has a Dirty Little Secret…
Here’s an example to illustrate how the broker rebate works. Suppose you refinance your home for $300,000 and your broker tells you that you qualify for a 6 percent mortgage rate. You agree to pay one point for loan origination which is a perfectly reasonable fee to pay the mortgage broker. This fee amounts to $3,000 paid out of your pocket at closing. But what is your mortgage broker not telling you?
Today’s wholesale mortgage rate is 5.5%. If you agree to a 6.0% mortgage rate that means the loan has .5% Yield Spread Premium. Mortgage lenders pay one point for every quarter percent the broker overcharges you. In this example the broker receives an additional $6,000 on top of the $3,000 you’re already paying. That’s $9,000 for a few hours work and that’s only half the problem.
The real stink of Yield Spread Premium comes form the fact the most brokers will never admit what they’re doing with your mortgage rate and never properly disclose this fee. Most mortgage brokers leave it off the Good Faith Estimate entirety, give you a bogus rate lock confirmation instead of the one from your lender and if you happen to catch the rebate on your HUD-1 statement explain the fee away by saying “It’s not coming out of your pocket, don’t worry about it.
What’s Wrong With Yield Spread Premium?
By accepting an above market mortgage rate your payments will be higher than they need be and you’ll be wasting money on unnecessary finance charges. Because this fee is never properly disclosed your mortgage broker is all but lying to you about the loan and taking money out of your pocket. Is this the mortgage you thought you were getting when the broker quoted you a six percent interest rate?
The good news is that you can avoid mortgage broker rebates when refinancing. There are honest mortgage brokers out there that will work for the origination fee alone without marking up your mortgage rate; you just have to find one. A good place to start is the Upfront Mortgage Brokers Association; members of this association agree to conduct their business following certain ethical and professional standards. Not every State has members however; if your State does not you can still find honest mortgage brokers by doing your homework and shopping for the right broker.
You can learn more about refinancing your mortgage with a wholesale mortgage rate by registering for a free DVD. Register today, this mortgage DVD is yours free with no obligation.