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How to get a lower mortgage rate this spring

By shopping around for lenders and purchasing mortgage points, homebuyers can secure a lower rate this spring. Andrew Merry/Getty Images

Homebuyers hopeful that interest rates would be cut and that mortgage interest rate cuts would soon follow will have to wait a bit longer for relief. Or so it seems. After months of encouraging inflation news, the most recent report showed it increasing again in February. And anticipated rate cuts may now not come until June (or later). Last week, one Fed official even said that there may not be any rate cuts at all in 2024, which would leave mortgage rates stuck at their highest point in decades. 

While this can be discouraging news for buyers (and current owners looking to refinance), it doesn't mean that you need to get stuck with today's average rate, either (6.95% for 30-year mortgages as of April 8). There are multiple ways to get a rate lower than that right now. Below, we'll break down five ways to get a lower mortgage rate this spring.

Start by shopping for rates and lenders online today.

How to get a lower mortgage rate this spring

Here are five effective ways to get a below-average mortgage rate this season.

Boost your credit score

The best mortgage rates and terms will always go to the borrowers with the highest credit scores, so if your credit profile needs improving, now is the time to do so. While a high credit score won't result in the mortgage rates of 2021 returning, it can help you get the lowest rate available right now, and that can result in major savings when spread over the traditional 30-year mortgage term. 

See what mortgage rate you could qualify for here now.

Shop for lenders

Just like you wouldn't purchase the first car you test-drove, you shouldn't necessarily lock in the first mortgage rate offer you get from a lender. Instead, shop around and compare rates and options from multiple banks — and be sure to look at any fees or closing costs that are tacked on. While a lower mortgage interest rate is ideal, excessive fees could quickly eat away at the savings received with the lower rate. 

Consider a shorter mortgage term

Today's 30-year mortgage loan rate is 6.95% — but a mortgage term at half that time frame comes with a rate of 6.34% now. While that may not be a dramatic difference, every percentage point (and a quarter of a percentage point) can help. That said, a shorter mortgage term will result in a compressed time frame, leading to bigger mortgage payments, thus negating the benefit of the lower rate for many borrowers. 

Get an adjustable-rate mortgage

An adjustable-rate mortgage is exactly what its name implies: the rate will adjust over time. This can result in a lower mortgage rate to start (usually for a few years) before re-adjusting to a higher one after that period has ended. That later adjustment could come, however, at a time when the rate climate has stabilized, allowing buyers to get the benefit of that lower rate for a few years before refinancing into a fixed, lower rate in the future. 

Purchase mortgage points

By purchasing mortgage points from your lender, you'll be able to secure a lower rate than you otherwise would have gotten on your own. The cost of these points can then usually be rolled into your overall mortgage loan or paid during the closing process. And while purchasing mortgage points won't allow you to buy yourself a 3% rate, it can make a major difference by knocking off half a percentage point or slightly more from the rate you would have been offered without it.

Learn more about your mortgage rate options here now.

The bottom line

While the historically low mortgage interest rates of recent years are unlikely to return anytime soon, that doesn't mean that buyers have to get stuck with a 7% rate either. By boosting their credit score, shopping for lenders, considering a shorter mortgage term, pursuing an adjustable-rate mortgage and purchasing mortgage points — or by combining multiple strategies — buyers can secure a below-average rate right now. Just be sure to carefully weigh the pros and cons of each option before acting, as some may be more costly than others.

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