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How to get a lower mortgage rate in 2024

There are multiple ways buyers can secure a lower mortgage rate this year. Getty Images/iStockphoto

After a rocky 2023, in which buyers saw mortgage rates hit their highest mark since 2000, the final weeks of December saw mortgage rates fall significantly. It's now possible to get a 30-year fixed rate in the 6% range. 

While that may not be ideal, especially compared to the pandemic-era lows available in 2020 and 2021, it's still lower than what many could've secured in October or November 2023. And with many experts forecasting rate cuts to come later in 2024, buyers could potentially secure an even lower rate if they wait out the market.

That said, there are some reliable ways buyers can lock in a lower mortgage rate now. These are simple but safe steps that can save buyers money with a more manageable monthly payment while they wait for the wider market to shake out.

Not sure what mortgage rate you'd qualify for now? Find out here today.

How to get a lower mortgage rate in 2024

Here are three great ways to get a lower mortgage rate this year.

Buy mortgage points

Mortgage points act as a fee the borrower pays the lender to obtain a lower mortgage interest rate. While you won't be able to pay down the rate low enough to the 3% range offered a few years ago, every dollar counts. And if that means a rate difference of 7% without points and 6.50% with them, it may be worth it for you, particularly if it results in hefty savings each month. 

Just understand that the lower rate comes with strings attached — you'll either have to pay for the mortgage points as part of your overall closing costs or roll it into your mortgage loan.

Start exploring today's mortgage rate options online.

Apply for an adjustable-rate mortgage

An adjustable-rate mortgage is exactly what its name implies: It's a mortgage in which the rate is not fixed and will adjust over time. While this could prove problematic long-term if rates rise, it could be worthwhile now if you're a buyer looking to lock in the lowest rate possible. 

This will allow you to save on a mortgage right away without having to pay the upfront costs that come with mortgage points. And if rates do eventually rise higher in the future you could always refinance then to a fixed, presumably lower rate. 

Boost your credit profile

While today's mortgage rates are high, they could — and will — be even higher if you apply for a mortgage with subpar credit and a low credit score. So don't make that mistake. Use the time you have waiting for mortgage rates to drop further by improving your credit profile. 

This means paying down debt (or paying it off entirely). It also means not applying for new credit or any other activity that could result in additional credit checks and, thus, a reduction in your score. By taking these steps before applying, you'll both boost your profile and improve your chances of being offered the lowest rate available at the time of application.

The bottom line

With mortgage interest rates dropping and the potential for them to fall even further this year, many homebuyers should start familiarizing themselves with all of the ways that they can potentially secure an even lower rate. This could include buying mortgage points to reduce your rate from the onset, or it could mean applying for an adjustable-rate mortgage to start with the plan to refinance to a presumably lower rate in the future. Regardless of which step you take, though, be sure to get your credit in the best shape it can be, as the best rates and terms will always be offered to applicants with the highest credit scores and cleanest credit histories.

Have more questions? Learn more about today's mortgage rates here.

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