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Locking in a Mortgage Rate

Rate Protection While Waiting for Your Loan Application to Be Processed

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When you are discussing your loan application with a lender and the rates and fees are determined you may want to guarantee them by requesting to lock-in them in. This type of guarantee shields you from higher rates should the local lending rates rise do to the market conditions. If the lender is willing to lock-in the rates quoted at the time of application you can benefit from the fact that, during the time it takes for your loan application to be approved, your quoted rates, fees and loan requirements will remain static. However, if the rates do drop, you will not be able to benefit from the new, lower, rate.

Do not confuse a locked-in rate with a commitment on the part of a lender to loan you funding for your property. All the lender is committing to, in a Loan Commitment Agreement, is to lend you very specific funding, under specific terms and time frames, if your application is approved. He is not committing to the rates that will be applied to your loan.

Loan applications are not approved overnight in most cases, so you will need to weigh your perception of the local market conditions, past and present, and decide for yourself if you wish to lock-in the rates. There is most usually a fee for locked-in rates.

The costs for lock-in rates vary and can be flat fees or a percentage of the actual mortgage amount at the time the loan is approved. They can be assessed and due prior to loan approval or at closing. Further, they may not be reimbursable if you do not get approved or you decide not to follow through on the loan, if and when it is approved.

Rates do fluctuate and if you see yourself as a savvy lender, who is up-to-date and aware of the mortgage rate market, you do have a few options available to you for structuring your lock-in.

Your options are as follows:

  1. Lock-in both the mortgage interest rate and the points.
  2. Lock-in only the mortgage interest rate and allow the points to float.
  3. Both the interest rate and the points float.

Note: Be certain that you fully understand the number of days your locked-in rates are applicable. The longer the period allowed, the higher your fee will most probably be for the lock-in.

Also, make certain that you have a very good idea of how long it will take for you to gather any additional information that may be required of you and that you understand the approximate time frame for the loan application process to be completed. If you miss judge any of these factors you may end up losing your locked-in rates and points and suffer increases that will be subject to the rate market.

If for any reason the lock-in period expires, due to yours, or the lenders part, or any other person or agency involved for that matter, you will lose the quoted and agreed to rates and most probably be required to pay any higher rates that could possibly apply at that time.

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