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After you apply for a mortgage, you’ll see something called APR (or annual percentage rate) listed on your loan estimate. This number measures the costs you can expect to pay for the loan expressed as a yearly percentage rate.Because it reflects total costs — and not just interest paid — APR is a good way to compare mortgage offers from different lenders.
Here’s what you should know about mortgage APR:
- What is included in APR?
- What is the difference between mortgage APR and interest rate?
- How does APR affect your mortgage?
- How to compare loan offers by mortgage APR
- Don’t be afraid to ask your lender questions
What is included in APR?
Your APR includes all the interest, fees, and other charges you can expect to pay for a home loan and converts them all into a single annual rate. You can expect the APR to include:
- Lender fees
- Mortgage broker fees
- Closing costs
- Mortgage insurance
What is the difference between mortgage APR and interest rate?
Since APR and interest rates are both expressed as percentages, it can be easy to confuse the two — particularly if you’re a first-time homebuyer. They aren’t one and the same, though.
Here’s a quick look at how the two numbers differ from each other:
- Interest rate: Also commonly called the “mortgage rate,” this is how much interest you’ll pay to borrow the money, as a percentage of the total loan amount.
- APR: This reflects the annualized cost to take out your loan and includes interest, fees, points, mortgage insurance, and more.
A loan’s APR is typically higher than its interest rate since the APR includes the interest paid plus other fees and charges. Both numbers are useful, though.
Generally, if your goal is to have the absolute lowest monthly payment, comparing loan options by interest rate is your best bet. If you know you’ll be in the home a while and want to save more in total long-term costs, though, your APR is the best way to gauge your savings.
Learn More: What Is a Mortgage Rate and How Do They Work?
How does APR affect your mortgage?
Your APR can give you insight into how much you’ll pay for your mortgage in total over the course of your loan’s term. If you have a 30-year loan, for example, it reflects the annualized total cost of the loan, as if you were paying all costs over the full 30 years.
APR is influenced by many factors, like your:
- Credit score
- Debt-to-income ratio
- Down payment
Generally, the higher your credit score, the lower you can expect your interest rate to be (and thus, the lower your APR will be, too). Higher credit scores indicate a lower-risk borrower, which allows a lender to offer more favorable terms, including lower interest rates and APRs. Lower credit scores will often result in the opposite.
Find Out: How to Buy a House
How to compare loan offers by mortgage APR
APRs vary from lender to lender and loan to loan. For this reason, it’s critical you compare several options before deciding which mortgage to move forward with.
Let’s look at how two loan offers with different APRs might measure up. The below scenarios are both for $250,000 home loans with 30-year terms and assume you will make fully amortizing payments for the full 30-year term of the loan.
|Loan 1||Loan 2|
|Total interest paid||$179,673.77||$206,016.78|
|Note: All numbers here are for demonstrative purposes only and do not represent an advertisement for available terms.|
On the loan with the higher APR (Loan 2), you’ll pay only slightly more per month, but in the long run, you’ll pay more than $26,000 in additional interest to pay the loan off over 30 years. This is why it’s critical to factor in APR when comparing your mortgage offers — especially if you know you’ll be in the home for the long haul.
Again, be sure to consider as many lenders as possible to find the right mortgage for you. With Credible, you can compare your rates from our partner lenders in the table below in three minutes.
Don’t be afraid to ask your lender questions
When you apply for a home purchase mortgage (or a mortgage refinance), the lender will give you what’s called a loan estimate. This will detail the APR, interest rate, closing costs, and other fees you’ll pay in the transaction.
Make sure you ask your lender about anything you’re unsure about — including the APR. It’s important you have a good handle on all the different fees and costs to buy a house you can expect, so you can properly compare options and choose the best deal for your budget.
If you’re looking to buy a house, Credible is here to make the mortgage process easy. You can get an Instant Streamlined Pre-approval Letter in just minutes and start comparing your options today.