Kenneth R. Harney had a great article syndicated in the Seattle Times this weekend “Be Ready for Your Own Little Bailout“.
Perhaps my favorite part:
“So what do you do if you’re already well along in your shopping, you’ve found a house at a great price, and you’re ready to apply for a mortgage at 5.5 percent but don’t want to miss out on potentially lower rates?
Ask your broker or loan officer whether you can lock in today’s rate but still have the ability to move down should cheaper money become available to you.
Not all lenders can accommodate such requests. Some brokers offer 60-day locks with that option; others may charge you.”
By the way, this applies to refinances too. Do check with your loan originator before you commit to a lock what their lock policies are.
Another reason to lock in lower rates now with a lender who has the ablity to provide you a lower rate, should they drop further, is the plan that Obama’s team is considering. From Bloomberg:
“While Paulson’s team is only exploring an initiative for new purchases, the incoming administration wants to go beyond that and address the record surge of foreclosures. Some industry lobbyists have urged the inclusion of refinancing for existing homeowners, up to one-fifth of whose loans are bigger than the value of their properties, estimates show….
“It’s a much more efficient use of the government’s balance sheet to do this as a purchase program” only, said Nicholas Strand, a mortgage analyst at Barclays Capital Inc. in New York. He estimated the cost of a plan to buy 4.5 percent loans for new purchases at about $300 to $400 billion. Adding the refinance option could cost up to $3 trillion, he said”.
If you benefit from restructuring your mortgage with today’s low rates, you may want to consider securing (locking) a rate now with a lender who has the ability of providing a lower rate should it become available prior to closing…if it happens.