For most homebuyers, their mortgage is their biggest monthly expense. However, most owners do little to no preparation, negotiation, or shopping in order to get the best deal possible. Here are three of the biggest mortgage mistakes you can make and how to avoid them:

1. Believing the advertised rates are what you’ll actually pay. Unless you have near-perfect credit, most advertised rates are out of your league. To get boasting rights on a good rate, you have to pay part of a point, or even a full point. A “point” in the mortgage world is roughly 1% of your loan amount.

2. Not comparing lenders. Just like everybody knows a real estate agent, everybody knows a loan officer or mortgage banker. However, they aren’t the same thing. A loan officer works for the bank and can only offer packages the bank puts together. A mortgage broker pre-qualifies you like a loan officer, but can shop around to get the best deals for you. Just like you wouldn’t go to buy a car without visiting a few different dealerships, you shouldn’t get a mortgage after talking to just one lender. “Most advertised rates are not what they appear.”

3. Not paying attention to the terms. The true cost of the loan lies in the APR, which includes various fees from the lender. There are so many ways lenders can inch those up, including with loan origination or processing fees that can vary widely. Make sure you know what you’re going to be paying before you sign on the dotted line.

If you have any questions for me or want any more tips about how to get the best possible rate and terms for your mortgage, give me a call or send me an email. I look forward to hearing from you.