Buying A Home Home Loans

What’s The Difference Between Mortgage and Annual Interest Rate?

Written by Hank Coleman

Like any large purchase, you’ll want to shop around for the best mortgage that you can find. But, you must make sure that you compare apples to apples when you look at the interest rate for your mortgage.

Mortgage lenders typically show two different interest rates to borrowers, the mortgage interest rate and annual percentage rate, or APR. Understanding the difference between each rate and ensuring that you’re comparing the same rates across all of the mortgages you’re considering could save you thousands of dollars over the long term.

Your APR measures additional important, but different, costs that lenders add to your home loan. It’s important to understand how lenders calculate an APR for your mortgage and how it compares to the simple interest rate. 

What Is APR?

The interest rate that lenders advertise for a mortgage is simply the cost to borrow the principal loan amount for your home. It doesn’t include any fees from the lender, and the interest rate can either be variable or fixed. The interest rate lenders charge customers depends on several factors like your loan type, loan length, down payment, your credit score, and other factors. The interest rate is the base fee and always stated as a percentage.

Understanding your interest rate is very important because it directly affects monthly payments, unlike your APR. The interest rate is one way to compare mortgages from multiple lenders, but it does not factor in all of your costs.

The annual percentage rate, or APR, shows the true cost of your mortgage. It is the total cost expressed as a percentage. The APR includes the interest rate plus and adds any upfront costs or fees that you must pay to the lender. Lenders often charge points, fees, or other costs to borrowers in order to receive a lower rate or to even close on a deal. The APR is a more encompassing measure of the true cost of your mortgage since it includes other costs like discount points, closing costs, and brokerage fees in addition to the simple mortgage interest rate.

About the author

Hank Coleman

Hank Coleman is the publisher or the popular personal finance blog, Money Q&A. He’s also a freelance journalist specializing in retirement planning, investing, and personal finance. You can also find him on Twitter @MoneyQandA.

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