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Locking a Rate When Refinancing Your Mortgage

Locking in your mortgage rate can be a source of confusion and frustration for many homeowners. When and how do you lock in your mortgage rate? How do you know that your mortgage broker really locked in your rate? Mortgage rates change on a daily even hourly basis; if you miss the opportunity to lock you could lose that low mortgage rate your broker promised you. Here are several tips to help you understand mortgage rate locks and what they mean for your home loan and your bottom line when refinancing.

What Does Locking Your Rate Mean?

When you choose to lock your rate, a process you must initiate yourself, your broker “locks” your mortgage rate with the wholesale lender. The idea is to hold that rate long enough for you to close on the loan. Your broker sets the lock on your behalf with the wholesale lender…more importantly the lock determines the amount of Yield Spread Premium on your new home loan.

What is Yield Spread Premium?

Yield Spread Premium is a percentage of your loan amount created when the broker locks you with an above market mortgage rate. Your broker knows the wholesale mortgage rate that your lender approved you; however, they mark up this interest rate to get a commission from the lender. This commission is called Yield Spread Premium and if you want the best possible mortgage for the long term you need to avoid this commission based markup.

If you plan on living in your home for the long term does it make sense to be constantly refinancing your mortgage loan? Mortgage rates are currently and historically low levels…You’ll probably never see rates below four percent that aren’t teasers. With this in mind doesn’t it make sense to lock in a great rate now and keep it for the long haul? If this is what you’re trying to accomplish you’ll want to lock in a wholesale mortgage rate. Before you can get a wholesale rate you’ll need to understand how mortgage brokers are compensated for originating you loan.

How Are Mortgage Brokers Paid?

There are several ways your mortgage broker gets paid (often overpaid) for their work on your home loan.

  • I. Origination fees also called Points on your Good Faith Estimate and HUD-1 statement.
  • II. Mortgage Broker Fees also on your Good Faith Estimate and HUD-1.
  • III. Yield Spread Premium from the lender always found on the HUD-1 but frequently left off the Good Faith Estimate.
  • Many brokers tell you that they’re not charging you origination fees because of Yield Spread Premium. Does it make sense to take a higher mortgage rate instead of paying a one percent origination fee when you plan on keeping your home for the long term? Absolutely not…If you plan on living in your home for the long term you want a wholesale rate and you only want to pay a once percent origination fee.

    How Do You Lock Your Mortgage Rate?

    Before you decide to lock in your mortgage rate you need to be sure that you’re working with the right mortgage broker. Talk to your broker about the rate you qualify based on your financial details. Did you know it takes sixteen pieces of your financial details to accurately quote a mortgage rate? If your broker has not asked for detailed financial information before quoting you a rate you can be certain that they have no intention of honoring that rate.

    Mortgage Rate LockTalk to your broker about their compensation. This includes the origination fee, broker’s fee, and any Yield Spread Premium they get from marking up your mortgage rate.

    Remember that a reasonable amount to pay for loan origination including origination points and fees should not be more than one percent of your loan amount. Ask your broker for an updated Good Faith Estimate on a daily bases; remember that mortgage rates are always changing.

    Before you make the decision to lock your mortgage rate make sure you have an updated Good Faith Estimate from the same day.

    Finally, after you’ve instructed your mortgage broker to lock make sure they email you the rate lock confirmation from the wholesale lender. This confirmation will show you the rate, points, and any Yield Spread Premium associated with your loan. You should have this confirmation within one hour of locking…if you don’t get it contact your broker immediately. Make sure that you get the rate lock from the wholesale lender. Don’t accept anything typed up by your mortgage broker on their own letter head as this is not a guarantee of anything and you want to see if there is any Yield Spread Premium included in your lock.

    You can learn more about refinancing your mortgage with a wholesale rate while only paying a one percent origination fee by registering for my free mortgage refinancing videos.

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