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What Is a Rate Lock Fee and How Does It Work?

John Tran
November 21, 2022
What Is a Rate Lock Fee and How Does It Work?

Australians are feeling the pinch when it comes to increasing mortgage rates. With rate hikes each month, it's easy to feel overwhelmed and panicked! 

But don't worry—obtaining a rate lock is a way to stay in the lead.

In this article, we'll define what is a rate lock fee and how it works so you can make an informed decision when it comes to protecting your finances.

What is a rate lock?

Rate locks are a great way to create peace of mind when it comes to your home loan. When you secure a rate lock, you get the assurance that your interest rate won't change for the duration of the contract - no matter what happens in the market.

Furthermore, individuals who want to refinance their existing mortgage may find a rate lock to be a valuable protection measure. By securing an interest rate borrowers may keep ahead of the curve and guarantee that their mortgage will remain constant and affordable.

When can a mortgage be locked? 

When it comes to securing a mortgage rate, timing is essential. Your lender should be able to lock in your rate once you've filed an application and all necessary documentation.

Make sure to consult your dependable mortgage broker or lender before deciding to lock in your mortgage.

How much does a rate lock cost?

The general principle with rate lock fees is that they are paid to the lender at the time of application, and they guarantee that your interest rate won't change until settlement. Depending on the lender and your loan terms, this cost might range from 0.25% to 0.50% of your loan amount.

How long can a rate be locked?

If your rate lock expires before you close, you'll no longer be able to benefit from the locked-in interest rate. Your lender may give you a new rate lock or an extension of your current one, depending on the type of loan product you have and its policies; however, these extensions typically come with an extra cost.

Rate locks can typically last anywhere from 30 to 90 days - so it's essential to consider this timeframe when locking in your interest rate. 

Ultimately, securing a great interest rate requires careful planning and research so that any expiry dates are considered - otherwise, you could end up paying more than necessary for your mortgage!

What is the process for getting a rate lock?

Securing a rate lock is a crucial step in the mortgage application process. A rate lock ensures you won't be affected by sudden spikes or drops in interest rates and allows you to plan your monthly payments accordingly. So how do you get one?

  1. The first step is to talk to your lender and ensure they offer a rate-locking option. 
  2. Once you have confirmed this option with them, they can explain what the requirements are so that you can decide if it's right for you. Most lenders will require a fee upfront before providing a rate lock, which should be factored into your decision-making process.
  3. Once all the paperwork is filled out, the lender will lock in your rate for a predetermined time. Ask the lender about their terms and conditions because this can range from 30 to 90 days. Remember that you can still owe extra costs if you end the loan before the expired rate-locking period.

Getting a rate lock is a crucial step in securing financing for your home - make sure you research carefully and talk with your lender about all the details before making any decisions.

The pros and cons of a rate lock

When it comes to locking in a mortgage rate, there are pros and cons that you should consider.  

Pros of Rate Lock:

  • You can lock in your loan's interest rate when it is low, meaning you don't have to worry about the rate rising before closing day.
  • Having a rate lock could also help avoid paying lender fees since lenders typically charge every time the borrower renegotiates their loan terms once they have locked in a rate.
  • It can give borrowers more peace of mind and assurance that their loan will close as planned, on schedule, with the original terms and conditions intact.

Cons of Rate Lock:

  • If rates drop during the lock period, borrowers may miss out on potentially lower payments if they had waited until the lock period expired.
  • Lenders may require that borrowers pay for a rate lock, which could be an additional cost to the borrower.
  • If the loan does not close on time, depending on the terms of the rate lock agreement, the borrower may have to pay more to extend it or even lose out on it together and have to find another lender with better rates.

Should I get a rate lock?

Lenders can provide borrowers with a rate lock to increase the predictability of their monthly mortgage payments.

Whether or not you should get a Rate Lock depends on your confidence that current market rates will remain steady. If rates could go up, then a rate lock can protect you from potential losses. 

However, if you're confident that market rates will remain the same or drop, it may not be worth the extra cost of locking in a rate. Ultimately, weighing your options and making an informed decision based on your situation and financial goals is essential.

The good news is that most lenders offer Rate Lock services, so if you decide to go for it, you should have plenty of options available. Be sure to shop around and compare different plans before making a final decision – this way, you can get the best deal possible!

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