Are you considering using a loan to make a large investment like purchasing real estate If so, you need to take the time to learn about interest rates. Banks and other lenders, after all, don’t give out money for free! In addition to paying back the original amount, you’ll be required to pay interest at a certain rate as determined by your lender. There are a number of ways in which interest can be determined. Before you sign a loan agreement, make sure you do a little research to learn about your interest rate options.
First, you and your lender will have to decide between a fixed interest rate and an adjustable interest rate. Of the two, a fixed interest rate is usually desirable for any kind of long-term loan. However, this may not always be possible, as many lenders only offer adjustable interest rates, especially to those who don’t have excellent credit. It depends on your lender, your loan amount and term, and your personal credit history.
With a fixed interest rate, you’ll have one rate for the entire life of the low, barring any refinancing. This interest rate will be determined using a number of factors and may seem a bit high for the first few years. However, over time, interest rates only rise. Therefore, if you can lock in a moderate interest rate today, by the time you pay off your home 30 years later, that interest rate will be very, very low.
Adjustable interest rates are much more common. With this interest rate calculation, banks start with the prime rate. The national prime rate is the base interest rate that banks and the United State government use to lend money to one another. This usually changes with the economy. You’ll be offered a rate on top of that. For example, your adjustable interest rate may be the prime rate plus 5%. So, when the prime rate is 4%, your interest rate will be 9%. With an adjustable interest rate, your rate will be calculated and changed as the prime rate changes. Most lenders recalculate every six to twelve months, but in some cases, your interest rate could very well change from month to month.
An adjustable interest rate of course means that your finances are less sable. On the plus side, if the prime rate drops, so does your interest rate, which is not the case if you have a fixed interest rate. Over time, the prime rate will only rise, but if you have a shorter loan term, this makes sense. Month to month and year to year, the interest rate may change in your favor. If you aren’t happy with your adjustable rate, you also have the option to refinance for a lower, fixed rate after you spend a few years making payments.
Of course, you have a few other options as well when it comes to interest. One popular option is an interest-only loan. No, with this loan, you’ll still have to repay the base money you borrowed – you don’t get off free of debt! With a normal loan, you pay a monthly payment on the principle, plus a monthly amount in interest. With an interest-only loan, your total interest is calculated and you start by paying just that every month. This means that your payments will be lower for the first few years of the loan, but when the interest is repaid, you’ll have much higher monthly payments to pay on the interest. In general, this is a good option for someone who knows that they’ll be promoted or otherwise able to afford higher payments in the future. Keep in mind, that you will not be acquiring equity in your property, so refinancing may not be an option.
When negotiating a deal with a lender, use interest as one of your bargaining chips. You may be able to get a higher loan amount or a longer term if you agree to a higher interest rate. You may be able to lower your interest rate if you’re willing to put more money down on the deal as a down payment. Every loan agreement is different.
However, with ANY loan agreement, it is crucial that you understand your interest rate. By knowing how your interest is calculated, when it can be changed, and how you can refinance for a better rate, you can work with your lender to find the very best loan option for you. Be a savvy consumer by understanding your investments fully.