When you're shopping for rates, there are certain assumptions that can affect the quote — and many consumers are unaware of that. If s your loan officer's job, however, to ask certain questions to give you an accurate rate quote. And unless every one of the mortgage companies makes an apples-to-apples quote, you're going to have skewed quotes. Factors that can affect your quote are: credit score, down payment versus sales price, subordinate financing, and occupancy.

Credit Score

Higher or lower credit scores can impact a rate quote and can adjust when evaluating the other three quote factors at the same time.

We'll discuss scores and how they work in more detail in chapter 5, but essentially the worse the credit the higher the rate.

When you call around to different lenders for rate quotes, they're going to assume you have good credit. Typically, any score above 700 will get you the best rates. But when scores begin to fall below that number, rates can begin to rise and finally disqualify you altogether.

Most people have a pretty good idea of whether they have good credit. If you pay your bills on time, your credit is probably just fine.

Down Payment Versus Sales Price

In general, the bigger your down payment, the better your rate will be; and the less you put down, the higher your rate.

Most rate quotes assume 20 percent down, but if you only have 5 percent down your rate can be higher. It could be higher still if you have 5 percent down and a 675 credit score.

Your loan officer is supposed to ask you not only how much you want to borrow, but also the sale price or current value of the property so she can give you an accurate quote. If you are able to put down more money (up to 25 percent down), you may get a lower rate. Be sure to ask your loan officer about this.

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