At some point during the mortgage application process, the borrower must exercise their agreement with the lender to lock in the rate for their final mortgage.
What is a Mortgage Rate Lock?
A Mortgage Rate Lock protects the borrower from the risk that interest rates will increase during the rate lock period. It guarantees that the lender will offer the borrower a specific combination of interest rate, points or interest rate credit at the closing of their loan.
If market rates rise after the rate is locked, the borrower will still get the lower rate, to the lender’s detriment. But there’s a downside: If rates fall after the rate is locked, the borrower might not be able to take advantage of that opportunity.
When Can a Mortgage Rate be Locked?
Buyers typically must wait until a seller has accepted their purchase offer for a specific property before they can lock in an interest rate for their mortgage. In addition, the lender must have certain information about the borrower and the details about the transaction before a rate can be locked. This includes receipt of all signed legal disclosures, the borrower’s credit score, anticipated loan-to-value ratio, property type and the borrower’s signed intent to proceed with the transaction. Until all pieces of the puzzle are in place, the lender can not accurately commit to any final interest rate, cost and terms.
How Long Can a Mortgage Rate be Floated?
When a mortgage rate is locked depends on the borrower’s tolerance for risk. The purchase and sales contract dictates when the loan must close. The borrower may opt to let the final mortgage rate ride or “float” with the market until they feel they can get the best deal. Of course they run the risk that the market will turn in their time period and rates will rise from current conditions.
A good mortgage loan officer may have, in good faith, projected a final mortgage rate for processing purposes, but the mortgage application cannot be approved until the final rate has been locked in.
In today’s mortgage processing environment, a mortgage rate could be floated until about 14 days prior to the prescribed closing date. This should give the lender to deliver the final disclosures, the underwriter time for a final review of the application and to issue a “clear to close,” and time for the closing deportment time to deliver closing package to the closing agent.
Should You Choose a Longer Rate Lock Period?
Borrowers are well advised to choose a 45 to 60 day rate lock period to ensure they can get the agreed upon rate even if there is a delay in processing their mortgage application. If a loan fails to close within the rate lock period, the borrower will charged the higher of the original lock and the current interest rate. If rates are higher, the borrower may be offered the opportunity to extend the original rate at a cost of 0.25 points for each 7 day period. (A point equals 1.00% of the base loan amount)
How Much Does a Rate Lock cost?
Most lenders will not charge for a Mortgage Rate Lock. . But a rate lock isn’t free. Rather, a longer rate lock typically involves a higher interest rate, which is more expensive for the borrower. The interest rate or “pricing” difference between a 15-day rate lock and 60-day rate lock might be as little as one-eighth or could be as much as half of a percentage point. The longer period protects the lender from potential market deterioration. The shorter the rate lock period, the more risk the borrower is taking on, but they should be getting a better price.”
No Mortgage Loan officer is an interest guru. But he does understand the lender’s commitment to you and will do his best to honor the rate lock obligation. However, the complexity of your application and issues like: failure to provide additional documentation in a timely manner, appraisal concerns, possible title problems all add time to the process.
There is rarely a reason not to lock a loan as soon as you can. Interest rates change daily, sometimes hourly. To protect yourself against the volatility of the marketplace, it’s a good idea to lock your rate once you are satisfied with the rate. The reason some buyers dislike loan locks is because they want to grind every dime out of a transaction that is humanely possible. Just remember that if the rate was acceptable when it was locked three weeks ago, a drop of an 1/8 of a point or so isn’t the end of the world. You don’t need to be that kind of borrower to get a good deal.
Read more: http://www.bankrate.com/finance/mortgages/questions-rate-lock-answered.aspx#ixzz3cy8lb29i