In today’s volatile market, consumers need to understand what a lender offers as options for locking in their loan. Many consumers think that when they begin speaking to a lender, the rate they discuss that day will be the rate they carry from there on. However, this is not the case. Laws govern what constitutes a loan application. An actual loan application requires that 6 pieces of information are received, which triggers disclosures for the good faith estimate and the ability to lock in loans. These items are social security number to pull credit, borrower name, estimated value, monthly income, loan amount sought & property address. These six things are important because without these six items a lending company is not able to give a borrower a locked rate.
A borrower is required to give all of the information except the address when prequalifying. Once you have a property under contract then you have the ability to lock in a rate for the loan. Loan rates are locked in for a specific period of time. This time frame is based upon the close of escrow date. Typically loans are locked 15, 30, 45 or 60 days. There is the option of locking in rate for a longer period of time, but this is mainly used when you are purchasing a home that is being built for you and will not be completed with in 60 days.
What does locking in a rate/loan actually mean? When you lock your loan your lender should provide you the rate and/or points as well as the specific date of expiration of those terms. Regardless of how the market changes, your rate will continue to hold as it was locked. This can be both a good and bad thing.
Whether the market improves and rates lower or the market worsens and rates increase you are guaranteed to have the rate you have in writing. There can be an exception to these rules, but only with some lenders. This is called a renegotiation policy. This can typically occur when the market improves at least .25%(depending on your lender’s rules) and your lender will allow you to change your locking contract. Keep in mind that when you choose to lock in your rate, you are asking the lender to protect you and you are making a commitment to do the loan with your lender. The shopping rate time is over. Renegotiation is a courtesy provided by your lender.
Borrowers need to make sure that when they go to lock in their rate, that their lender gives them their terms in writing. You should never assume something has been done without seeing it in writing. Be safe, talk to your lender about locking and what their renegotiating options are. Never hesitate to ask questions and learn as much as you can.
For questions for suggestions please feel free to email me at Ingrid.Quinn@CobaltMortgage.com or visit me at http://www.scottsdalemortgageexpert.com or http://www.CobaltMortgage.com/IngridQuinn .