Getting the lowest mortgage rate is essential, as even a small difference in the rate can significantly increase the amount of your monthly payments. As of now, mortgage rates are at an all time low; however it still pays to shop around. The Internet allows you easily to compare rates, lenders and products, and some sites will comparison shop for you and provide you with several options.
Having a good credit score is important when applying for a home loan, as your interest rate is largely determined by that number. If practical, it is almost worth systematically working on your credit score to improve it before you apply for a mortgage. If possible, do not make another big purchase, such as a new car, at the same time. It also pays to check your credit report for errors that can affect your score, as many reports contain at least one error.
One big decision may be whether to go for a fixed rate or adjustable rate mortgage. A fixed rate mortgage means that the interest rate will not go up or down. and is perhaps better for those who are naturally cautious, or have a fixed income and cannot afford to pay more each month. An adjustable rate means that the interest rate on your mortgage changes based on the prevailing mortgage rate; it can mean much higher payments, especially on an expensive home. Because interest rates are so low anyway, a fixed rate probably makes the most sense.
Closing costs can be substantial, and one strategy is to take out a no closing cost loan. The costs are paid over a period of time, rather than all at once, making it much easier to afford to buy a home. You should also carefully study the various fees and charges that mortgage lenders assess, and make sure you have a written estimates of these costs, which lenders are required to provide. Once you have a mortgage, consider making extra payments each year, to pay off the loan more quickly. If you do that, make sure the payments are going towards the principal.