The difference between thrift stores and consignment shops

Consignment and antique shops are great, but they tend to be pricier because their collections are curated. These stores do all the hunting down and fixing up for you, and that service is offset via higher price tags. While consignment shops are more likely to have highly sought after antiques from pedigreed brands, you can still certainly find hidden gems at nearly any thrift store — you just may have to put in more effort to find what you’re looking for. Balance the odds of what you want being there with the price range you’re willing to pay when deciding where to shop.


Getting what you need while giving back to the community

Many of your favorite causes run thrift shops to help fund their programs and services. Prime Thrift near Fair Park benefits American Veterans (AMVETS), Disabled American Veterans (DAV) and other local and national charitable organizations, while Out of the Closet in Oak Lawn benefits the AIDS Healthcare Foundation. Genesis Women’s Shelter, a nonprofit that provides safety, shelter and support for women and children who have experienced domestic violence, operates two thrift stores: one in Oak Lawn and another in South Oak Cliff. There are four Soul’s Harbor locations throughout the metroplex, with proceeds going toward its programs to help men break the cycle of homelessness and addiction. Some of these shops even have exclusive relationships with estate liquidators, increasing your chances of finding treasures among their wares.

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If you’re looking for a bit more than just decor, check out your local ReStore, which benefits Habitat for Humanity. There, you can find actual building materials, such as tile, cabinets, wood flooring, windows, doors or even vintage brick. In addition to these, they also have plenty of new and vintage home furnishings, large appliances and more. With 10 locations across D-FW, it’s a convenient alternative to big-box stores when shopping for your next home design project.

Choose your shopping days wisely

For donation-based thrift stores, Mondays and Tuesdays are typically the best days to shop, because most people tend to drop off items early in the week after spending the weekend cleaning. Signing up for emails is a great way to stay on top of the latest finds and deals, but there’s just no substitute for going in regularly. It works the same with searching online, whether it’s eBay, Craigslist, or Facebook Marketplace. “I’m a huge fan of Facebook Marketplace” says Whitney Marsh, an interior designer and business owner who furnished her Oak Cliff coffee shop, B-Side, with thrifted finds. “I also really love Souls Harbor in Waxahachie,” Marsh notes.

Whitney Marsh, an interior designer and business owner, furnished her Oak Cliff coffee shop B-Side with thrifted finds, including this handmade tile she found for less than $100.(Whitney Marsh)

Have a strategy before you start shopping

There are two ways to go about hunting vintage pieces. Either have a piece or project in mind and know what you want to pay for it, or be able to spot a good deal. This can involve researching brands, pieces, and eras to be able to find your ideal mix of quality pieces that aren’t in demand. Marsh says that’s her strategy. “I know what I like, and I also know what brands are known for quality goods,” she explains. “I definitely have a style. I’m drawn toward leather furniture, solid wood, wool rugs and unique art.”

Marsh created this seating area using chairs thrifted from Soul’s Harbor and a unique brass ship she found through Facebook marketplace.(Whitney Marsh)

For example, you may love midcentury modern (MCM) pieces, but the popularity of decor from that era means there’s more demand, and unscrupulous sellers may assign that label to random items in order to get them to sell. You may find more success by researching some favorite brands or designers from the MCM era and looking for those specifically to avoid fake listings and inflated prices. Be aware that people will list items online with a famous brand name keyword to get more hits, such as saying a “Pottery Barn-style” rug or “MCM-style lamp.” If you’re shopping in person, don’t be afraid to ask the store’s staff about an item you’re looking for; they may have something similar that just hasn’t been put out yet. Or, they might be willing to take down your name and keep an eye out for items on your list — especially if you’re a regular customer.

Simple design rules to consider

In this area Marsh designed for a client, she paired a thrifted console with a modern lamp and abstract art to create balance.(Whitney Marsh)

Once you’ve found that unique piece you’ve been searching for, how do you style it? Thrifted pieces bring character into a space, but it is possible to have too much of a good thing, says Marsh. “I like to pair thrifted pieces with more high-end textiles. I love an old leather sofa that’s worn in against a very bold luxury wallpaper.” If you buy a well-worn piece and want to play up that lived-in aesthetic, try to surround it with items that are clean and modern. Too much rusticity can end up looking like neglect. Same goes for smaller items, such as pots, frames or books — space them out in designed vignettes throughout your home instead of clustering them all together. Also, keep in mind that pairing thrifted furniture is easier when they share some similar elements. For example, mismatched nightstands look more cohesive if they are roughly the same size and color.

Thrifting can be a way to save big, depending on when and where you shop, and what you’re looking for. “I definitely shop with a specific corner or space in mind. I also really only pull the trigger on things that seem like they’re good quality and the right price,” says Marsh. But if you’re patient, persistent and know what you want and what you’re willing to pay for it, it’s just a matter of time before you find it.

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Hey, I’ve just been featured on CNBC and I want to say hello to all of my new readers. You can read the CNBC article here – I made $40,000 a month from 3 income streams during a 4-month cruise around the world—here’s how If you are a new visitor – welcome to Making Sense…


I’ve just been featured on CNBC and I want to say hello to all of my new readers.

You can read the CNBC article here – I made $40,000 a month from 3 income streams during a 4-month cruise around the world—here’s how

If you are a new visitor – welcome to Making Sense of Cents!

I have received many emails about how I was able to afford this trip. I have a free How To Start A Blog course that you can sign up for here. I also talk about this below and how I’ve been able to earn over $5,000,000 blogging over the years.

If you want to read more about my world cruise trip, I recommend reading Around-The-World Cruise With A Kid (25+ Countries In 4 Months!).

Here are some blog posts that you may find helpful and enjoy:

If you have any questions, please leave a comment below or send me an email.

Thanks for stopping by.

-Michelle Schroeder-Gardner


In addition to reading the CNBC article linked above, I also want to talk about how I grew a blog that has earned me over $5,000,000. I know I will get a lot of questions, so I figured it’s best to lay it all out right here 🙂

What started as just a hobby turned into one of the most life-changing things I’ve ever done – that’s starting my blog, and learning how to make money with it.

Since learning how to monetize a blog over 10 years ago, I have now earned over $5,000,000 from my site. This is still hard for me to believe, and I’m the one who’s lived it!

In the beginning, all I was doing was tracking my own personal finance progress as I finished school and started paying off my student loans. Blogging was a very new concept to me at the time – I heard about it from a magazine – and people were just learning how to monetize blogs back in 2011.

Most bloggers started back then with display ads and sponsored posts, but the options have only increased. 

Because of all of the new ways to make money blogging, like affiliate income and selling your own products, you can make somewhat passive income as a blogger. 

Passive income is my favorite way to make money because it makes blogging even more flexible and something I can do as I work from home, travel, and work whenever I want. 

Blogging has changed my life for the better, and I’m now earning thousands of dollars a month doing something I love.

Learning how to monetize a blog takes work and time, but it’s 100% possible to do. I started earning money after just six months of blogging, and I didn’t even set out to make money when I created Making Sense of Cents. Just think of the potential if you start out knowing that making money blogging is possible!

Starting my blog is one of the best things I’ve ever done for my work, personal, and financial life. And, I urge anyone who is interested to start a blog and learn how to monetize it.

How I earned my first income from blogging

Many of my readers have heard this story, but I love sharing it because I started out like many of you, except I had no idea that blogs could make money. When I started Making Sense in August of 2011, I simply wanted a way to keep track of my financial progress and meet others who had similar goals.

As I started getting to know other bloggers in the community, a blogger friend of mine connected me with an advertiser who was willing to pay me $100 for an advertisement.

I couldn’t believe someone would pay me $100 to advertise on my site! 

While it wasn’t a lot of money, especially considering the amount of time and work I put towards my blog in those 6 months, it was very motivating to see that something I loved doing could actually make money.

After that first $100, I started doing a lot of research on how to monetize a blog, and my blogging income quickly grew from there.

One year after I started my blog, I was earning around $1,000 a month, and I was making around $10,000 monthly two years after I started Making Sense of Cents.

My income only continued to grow, and I am still earning a healthy income from this website today.

How To Start A Blog FREE Course

If you want to learn how to monetize a blog and you haven’t started your blog, then I recommend starting with my free blogging course How To Start A Blog FREE Course.

Here’s a quick outline of what you will learn in this free course:

  • Day 1: Reasons you should start a blog
  • Day 2: How to determine what to blog about
  • Day 3: How to create your blog – in this lesson, you will learn how to start a blog on WordPress, and my tutorial makes it very easy to start a blog
  • Day 4: How to monetize a blog – this is where you learn about the many different ways to make money blogging!
  • Day 5: My tips for earning passive income from your blog
  • Day 6: How to grow your traffic and followers
  • Day 7: Miscellaneous blogging tips that will help you be successful

This is delivered directly to your email inbox, and you will learn how to grow a blog from scratch.

Start with a plan for your blog

Sure, you can start on a whim, and that’s kind of what I did, haha.

But, I do think that creating a plan is a good idea if you want to learn how to monetize a blog. This can help you get an organized start, identify your blog’s niche, decide on your blogging goals, find opportunities for blogging income, and more.

It wasn’t until 2015 that I finally created a blogging plan (that’s 4 years after I started!), and my blog income grew significantly after that.

I credit that growth to creating a plan!

Having a plan would have been a huge help in the beginning, and I wish I would have started with one. I probably missed some income opportunities because I had no real plan or direction in the first couple of years. 

Since creating a blogging plan, I became more focused on goals and motivated toward improving and building Making Sense of Cents.

Here are some questions that you may want to ask yourself when creating a plan for your blog:

  • What will you write about on your blog?
  • How do you want to make money with your blog?
  • What will you do to reach readers on your blog?
  • What are your goals for your blog?

Thinking about, researching, and answering these questions will help guide you on your journey and help you decide what to do next.

Write high-quality and engaging blog posts

Your blog’s content is extremely important. This will be what attracts your readers, has them coming back for more, earns you blogging income, and more.

Now, you don’t need to be an expert or need a degree to start talking about a subject, but you do need to be knowledgeable or interested in what you are talking about. And, always be truthful! This will show in your writing and actually help your readers.

To write high-quality content on your blog, here are some tips:

  • Figure out exactly what it is that you’d like to write about and why you think the content is important. Being passionate about a subject will give you the motivation to write content that people want to read. Just think about it: If you don’t enjoy writing your content, then why should you expect someone else to want to read it?
  • Ask your audience what they want you to write about. Many of my best ideas come from expanding on reader questions.
  • Research your blog topics by reading news articles, going to a library, searching for statistics and interesting facts, and more. 
  • If your blog posts are more personal in nature, then dig deep and share your thoughts, and be personable in your writing – your readers want to hear your story!
  • Write long, helpful content. Sure, some great content may only be a few hundred words, but to be as helpful as possible, long content is usually the best. My content is usually over 2,000 words, and this article is around 5,000. Now, you don’t want to just write a lot of fluff content in order to get more words in – you want to actually be helpful!
  • Reread your content. I used to read my content 10 times or more before I would publish it. Now, I have an editor who makes sure I’m always publishing high-quality content.

Network, network, network

If you want to learn how to monetize a blog, then networking can be extremely helpful.

Networking can mean:

  • Making friends with other bloggers
  • Attending blogging conferences
  • Sharing content that other bloggers have written
  • Following other bloggers in your niche on social media
  • Signing up for other bloggers’ newsletters
  • Joining blogging groups on Facebook

Some bloggers don’t do any of these things and purely see other bloggers as competition. I don’t believe this is the correct way to approach blogging because you will hold yourself back immensely!

Networking is important because it can help you enjoy blogging (friends are nice to have, right?!), teach you new ideas (such as how to make money blogging or how to grow a blog), make valuable connections, and more.

Keep in mind that networking is even how I earned my very first $100 blogging. My blogging friend connected me with an advertiser, which helped changed my blogging journey.

I have learned a lot about blogging from the blogging community, and the people I’ve connected with have been a tremendous support as I’ve grown my blog.

Be prepared to put in a lot of hard work

Starting a blog is relatively easy. But, growing and learning how to monetize a blog takes a lot of work. 

You’ll have to:

  • Start a blog, design it, create social media accounts, and more
  • Write high-quality blog posts
  • Attract an audience of readers
  • Monetize your blog
  • Continue learning about blogging
  • And more

Even when I was just a new blogger and had no plans of making money blogging, I was still spending well over 10 hours a week on Making Sense of Cents.

When I was working my full-time day job and earning an income from my blog, I was working around 40-50 hours a week on my blog on top of my day job!

Now that I blog full-time, my hours vary. Some months I hardly work, and there are other months that I may work 100 hours a week.

It’s not easy, and there’s always something that needs to be done.

But, I absolutely love blogging, which makes the hard work a little less tough. 

How to monetize a blog: 4 different ways

There are many different ways you can monetize your blog, including:

  • Affiliate marketing
  • Advertisements and sponsorships
  • Display advertising
  • Create your own product, such as an ebook, course, physical or online products, and more

You could choose to monetize your blog using all of these methods, or even just one. It’s just a personal decision.

For me, I like to be diversified and monetize in many ways, so I do them all.

Below, I am going to dive a little deeper into each way to make money blogging.

1. Affiliate marketing

Affiliate marketing can be a great way to make money blogging because if there is a product or company that you enjoy, all you have to do is review the product and share a unique affiliate link where your readers can sign up or make a purchase. 

In fact, this is my favorite way to monetize a blog. I enjoy it because it can be quite passive – I can create just one blog post and potentially earn an income from it years later. This is because even though a blog post may be older, I am still constantly driving traffic to it and readers are still purchasing through my affiliate links.

Affiliate marketing is a blog monetization method where you share a link to a product or company with your readers in an attempt to make an income from followers purchasing the product through your link. 

Here are some quick tips so that you can make affiliate income on your blog:

  • Use the Pretty Link plugin to clean up messy-looking affiliate links. I use this for nearly all of my affiliate links because something like “” looks much better than the long, crazy-looking links that affiliate programs usually give you.
  • Provide real reviews. You should always be honest with your reviews. If there is something you don’t like about a product, either don’t review the product at all or mention the negatives in your review.
  • Ask for a commission increase. If you are doing well with a particular affiliate program, ask to increase your commissions.
  • Build a relationship with your affiliate manager. Your affiliate manager can supply your readers with valuable coupons, commission increases, bonuses, and more.
  • Write tutorials. Readers want to know how they can use a product. Showing them how to use it, how it can benefit them, and more are all very helpful.
  • Don’t go overboard. There is no need to include an affiliate link 1,000 times in a blog post. Include them at the beginning, middle, and end, and readers will notice it. Perhaps bold it or find another way for it to stand out as well.

You can learn more about affiliate marketing strategies in my course Making Sense of Affiliate Marketing.

Advertisements and sponsorships example

2. Advertisements and sponsorships

Advertising on a blog is one of the first ways that bloggers learn how to monetize a blog. In fact, it’s exactly how I started!

This form of blogging income is when you directly partner with a company and advertise for them on your website or social media accounts.

You may be writing a review for them, a tutorial, talking about their product or company, taking pictures, and so on.

If you want to learn how to increase your advertising-income, I recommend taking my Making Sense of Sponsored Posts course. 

Display advertising example

3. Display advertising

Display advertising is one of the easiest ways to make money blogging, but it most likely won’t earn you the most, especially in the beginning.

I’m sure you’ve seen display ads before. They may be on the sidebar, at the top of a post, within a blog post, and so on.

The ads are automatically added when you join an advertising network, and you do not need to manually add these ads to your blog.

Your display advertising income increases or decreases almost entirely based on your page views, and once you place the advertisement, there’s no direct work to be done.

If you want to learn how to monetize a blog through display advertising, then some popular networks include Adsense, MediaVine, and AdThrive.

Personally, I use AdThrive for my display advertising network. I don’t have many display advertisements on my blog, but it is easy income.

Sell your own product example

4. Sell your own products

Another popular way to monetize a blog is to create a sell your own products. 

This could be an online product, something that you ship, and so on, such as:

  • An online course
  • A coaching program
  • An eBook
  • Printables
  • Memberships
  • Clothing, candles, artwork, hard copy books, and anything else you can think of

And the list goes on and on. I have seen bloggers be very successful in selling all kinds of things on their blogs.

What’s great about selling your own product is that you are in complete control of what you are selling, and your income is virtually unlimited in many cases.

I launched my first product about 5 years after I created Making Sense of Cents, which was a blogging course called Making Sense of Affiliate Marketing. I regret not creating something sooner because this has been an excellent source of income and has helped many people along the way.

Have an email list

If you really want to learn how to monetize a blog, I recommend that you start an email list from the very beginning.

I waited several years to start my email list, and that was a huge mistake!

Here’s why you need an email list right away:

  • Your newsletter is YOURS. Unlike social media sites, your newsletter and email subscribers are all yours, and you have their undivided attention. You don’t have to worry about algorithms not displaying your content to readers, and this is because they are your email subscribers. You aren’t fighting with anyone else to have them see your content.
  • The money is in your email list. I believe that email newsletters are the best way to promote an affiliate product. Your email subscribers signed up to hear what YOU have to write about, so you clearly have their full attention. Your email list, over any other promotional strategy, will almost always lead to more income and sales.
  • Your email subscribers are loyal to you. If someone is allowing you to show up in their inbox whenever you want, then they probably trust what you have to say and enjoy listening to you. This is a great way to grow an audience and a loyal one at that.
  • Email is a great way to deliver other forms of content. With Convertkit, I am able to easily create free email courses that are automatically sent to my subscribers. Once a reader signs up, Convertkit sends out all the information they need in whatever time frame I choose to deliver the content.

Attract readers

As a new blogger, you’ll want to find ways to attract a readership to your blog and your article.

No, you don’t need millions and millions of page views to earn a good living from blogging. In fact, I know some bloggers who receive 1,000,000 page views yet make less money than those with 100,000 monthly page views.

Every website is different, but once you learn what your audience wants, you can start to really make money blogging, regardless of how many page views you receive.

Having a successful blog is all about having a loyal audience and helping them with your content.

Even with all of that being said, if you want to learn how to monetize a blog, learning how to improve your traffic is valuable. The more loyal and engaged followers you have, the more money you may be able to make through your blog.

There are many ways to grow your readership, such as:

  • Write high-quality articles. Your blog posts should always be high-quality and helpful, and it means readers will want to come back for more.
  • Find social media sites to be active on. There are many social media platforms you can be active on, such as Pinterest, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, TikTok, Youtube, and others.
  • Regularly share new posts. For most blogs, you should publish content at least once a week. Readers may forget about you if you go for weeks or months at a time without a blog post.
  • Guest post. Guest posting is a great way to reach a new audience, as it can bring new readers to your blog who will potentially subscribe to it. 
  • Make sure it’s easy to share your content. I love sharing posts on social media. However, it gets frustrating when some blogs make it more difficult than it needs to be. You should always make sure it’s easy for readers to share your content, which means your social media icons should be easy to find, all of the info input and ready for sharing (title, link, and your username tagged), and so on. Also, you should make sure that when someone clicks on one of your sharing icons the title isn’t in CAPS (I’ve seen this too many times!). 
  • Write better titles. The title of your post can either bring readers to you or deter them from clicking over. A great free tool to write better headlines is CoSchedule’s Headline tool.
  • Apply SEO strategies. SEO (search engine optimization) is not something I can teach in this small section, but I go over it below in another section.
  • Have a clean and user-friendly blog design. If you want more page views, you should make it as easy as possible for readers to navigate your blog. It should be easy for readers to find your blog homepage, search bar, blog posts, and so on.

Now, I also want to talk about helpful resources, courses, and more that can help you to learn how to grow your page views on your blog.

Below are some of my favorite blogging resources to help you improve your traffic:

Grow through SEO

SEO (search engine optimization) is how you get organic search traffic to your blog. 

When you search a phrase on Google, you’ll see a bunch of different websites as the results. This is the result of these websites applying SEO strategies to their blog.

This is a great way for readers to find your blog, and SEO is important to pay attention to as you learn how to monetize a blog!

Below are some of my favorite SEO resources:

  • Stupid Simple SEO: This is my favorite overall SEO course, and one of the most popular for bloggers. I highly recommend taking it. I have gone through the whole course, and I constantly refer back to it.
  • Easy On-Page SEO: This is an easy-to-follow approach to learning on-page SEO so your articles can rank on Google. I have read this ebook twice, and it is super helpful.
  • Easy Backlinks for SEO: This ebook will show you 31 different ways to build backlinks, which are needed for SEO.
  • How To Get 50,000 Pageviews per Month With Keyword Research: This ebook shares the steps for keyword research so that you can get SEO traffic to your website.

Common questions about how to monetize a blog

Below, I’m going to answer some questions I’ve received about how to start a blog such as:

  • How many views do you need to monetize a blog?
  • How do beginner bloggers make money?
  • Why do bloggers fail?
  • How many posts should I have before I launch my blog?
  • How many times a week should I post on my blog?

How many views do you need to monetize a blog?

The amount of page views needed to make money blogging varies, and there is no magic number that you should be aiming for.

This is because it depends on so many factors, such as how you will monetize your blog, your niche, the number of email subscribers you have, the quality of your website, and more.

You may see success with 10,000 page views a month, or you may see success with over 100,000 page views a month. It simply depends on the factors above.

How do beginner bloggers make money?

Beginner bloggers can make money in many different ways, such as display advertising, affiliate marketing, creating their own products, and sponsorships.

You can start any of these right from the very beginning.

Display advertising is usually the easiest way to begin monetizing a blog, but the payoff is not very high, especially in the beginning when your page views are not high.

How many posts should I have before I launch my blog?

I recommend just launching your blog as soon as you have one blog post and a design. Building a huge backlog of blog posts isn’t usually needed, and it can prevent you from ever getting started!

How many times a week should I post on my blog?

The more blog posts you have, then the more traffic you may get. That’s because it’s more opportunities to show up in Google searches or share your posts on social media.

I recommend publishing a new blog post at least once a week. Anything less isn’t advised.

Publishing blog posts consistently is smart because readers know to expect regular content from you.

Why do bloggers fail?

Bloggers fail for many different reasons. These reasons may include:

  • Giving up too soon. It takes time to make money blogging, and sadly, many people give up just a few months into starting a blog.
  • Not publishing consistently. I recommend publishing content at least once a week, as described in the previous section. Some new bloggers may go months without publishing, and this will take them much longer to make money blogging as they are simply not dedicating enough time to their blog.
  • Not spending enough time learning about blogging. Blogging is not as easy as you may think. There is a lot to learn in order to make it work. You may need to learn about how to grow your blog’s traffic, how to monetize a blog, how to write high-quality content, and more.
  • Not having your own domain and self-hosting. If you want to make money blogging, I highly recommend owning your domain name and being self-hosted. The longer you put this easy step off, the longer it will most likely take for you to make money blogging. You can learn more at How To Start a WordPress Blog.

And much more. Blogging is like any business – there are things to learn, things to improve on, and more.

How do I start a blog?

If you have any other questions related to starting a blog, I recommend checking out What Is A Blog, How Do Blogs Make Money, & More. In this article, I answer more questions related to blogging such as:

  • How do I come up with a blog name?
  • What blogs make the most money?
  • How do you design a blog?
  • How many views do you need to make money blogging?
  • How many blog posts should I have before launching?
  • How do I get my blog noticed by Google?
  • How long until a blog makes money?
  • How do blogs make money?
  • How do bloggers get paid?

And more.

Please leave a comment if you have any questions.

Thanks for reading!


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Buying your first home can be tedious and overwhelming.

While it’s exciting to visit properties and daydream about your dream home, getting over the financing hurdles is another story. But don’t fret.

This comprehensive guide for first-time homebuyers will walk you through the entire process from start to finish.

Benefits of Being a First-Time Homebuyer

As a first-time homebuyer, you may feel a mix of excitement and apprehension. While the home buying process can seem overwhelming, it’s important to recognize the numerous benefits that come with this milestone.

Financial Assistance

First-time homebuyers have access to several financial assistance programs that can make homeownership more affordable. These include down payment assistance programs, low-interest mortgage loans, and grants specifically designed for first-time buyers. Some of these programs are offered by state and local governments, while others are provided by non-profit organizations or private lenders.

Lower Down Payments

Several loan programs offer lower down payment requirements for first-time homebuyers. The FHA loan, for example, requires as little as 3.5% down if your credit score is 580 or higher. The USDA and VA loans even offer zero down payment options in some cases.

Access to Educational Resources

There’s a lot to learn when you’re buying a home for the first time, but fortunately, there are plenty of resources available. Many organizations offer homebuyer education courses that can help you understand the process and make informed decisions. Some lenders and assistance programs require you to take one of these courses, but even if it’s not mandatory, it can still be a valuable resource.

Check Your Credit

Not only will your credit score play a considerable factor in whether you’re approved for a mortgage, but it will also determine your interest rate.

A small increase or decrease in interest rates may not seem like a big deal. However, mortgage loans are for a hefty sum and for an extended period of time. So, a slight increase or decrease equates to thousands of dollars more spent or saved over the life of the loan.

To have the best chance of being approved for a home loan, you should aim for a credit score of at least 620. It’s possible to get approved for select home loan programs with a score as low as 580, but you may have fewer lenders to choose from.

Run the Numbers

It’s tempting for first-time homebuyers to start searching for homes when they know their credit score is up to par. But that’s probably not a good move until you determine how much home you can afford. Yes, the loan officer will give you a figure when you obtain a preapproval, but that amount isn’t always indicative of what you can afford.

Why so? Well, they focus on the debt-to-income (DTI) ratio to get an idea of a loan amount you qualify for. According to the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, lenders prefer a DTI ratio of 43% or lower with your new mortgage payment. To illustrate:

$1,000 $4,000 25% $720
$2,000 $6,000 33% $580
$3,000 $10,000 30% $1,300

Note: Debt-to-Income Ratio = Aggregate Amount of Monthly Debt / Gross Income

The problem is that it fails to consider any expenses unrelated to debt. And if you have hefty insurance, childcare, or even grocery bills, that could be a major concern.

So, your best bet is to look at your current budget and come up with a realistic figure for your new mortgage payment. But don’t forget to keep the recommended DTI ratio in mind.

Explore Mortgage Options

There are several mortgage options on the market for first-time homebuyers, but the most prevalent are:

Conventional Loans

A conventional mortgage is a type of home loan that is not insured or guaranteed by the government. It’s typically offered by a private lender, such as a bank or credit union, and is the most common type of mortgage used to purchase a home.

Conventional mortgages typically require a down payment of at least 3% of the purchase price of the home. Borrowers typically must have a credit score of 620 or higher and a DTI ratio of 36% or lower to qualify. If you have bad credit or are unable to make a large down payment may have a harder time qualifying for a conventional mortgage.

If the loan amount is over $726,200, it becomes a jumbo loan and requires a higher down payment.

FHA Loans

An FHA loan is a type of home loan insured by the Federal Housing Administration (FHA), a government agency within the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD).

FHA loans are designed to make it easier for people to buy homes, especially for first-time homebuyers. They offer lower down payment requirements and more flexible credit guidelines than conventional mortgages.

The minimum credit score required for an FHA loan is 500. If your credit score is between 500 -579, the down payment is 10%. However, if you have a credit score of 580 or above, the down payment is 3.5% of the purchase price.

VA Loans

VA Loans are insured by the Department of Veterans Affairs. They don’t require a down payment and are easier to qualify for than conventional loan products. However, you must be an active-duty member of the armed forces. Surviving spouses also qualify.

USDA Loans

A USDA loan is a type of mortgage offered by the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) to low- and moderate-income borrowers who are looking to buy a home in a rural or suburban area.

See also: 14 First-Time Home Buyer Grants and Programs

Check Out Our Top Picks for 2024:

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Most mortgages have a 30 or 15-year term. The latter will cost you more per month, but you’ll save a load of cash on interest.

You can also choose from a fixed or adjustable-rate mortgage (ARM). Fixed-rate mortgages have the same interest rate for the duration of the loan. But ARMs typically start with a lower interest rate for a set amount of time. In fact, they usually span from five to ten years and then adjust depending on the housing market.

Some first-time homebuyers choose ARMs over fixed-rate mortgages because it gives them the option to make a smaller monthly payment in the first few years. It could also mean that you can qualify for a more expensive home. But, be careful not to get too overextended, as erratic market behavior could cause the rate to skyrocket.

Get Preapproved

This is one of the more time-consuming parts of the entire mortgage process for a first-time home buyer. The good news is you don’t have to settle for the first offer that comes your way out of fear that your credit score will take a hit.

“FICO Scores ignore [mortgage] inquiries made in the 30 days prior to scoring,” according to myFICO. So, you won’t be penalized for multiple inquiries.

So, start by researching mortgage lenders that you may be interested in working with. You could also solicit the help of a mortgage broker if you’re strapped for time or want someone to do the legwork for you.

Once you’ve settled on a few lenders, be prepared to provide the following to get preapproved:

  • Financial statements to confirm your assets, including retirement accounts and real estate
  • Recent bank statements
  • Last two pay stubs
  • W-2s from the last two years

They will also pull your credit report and credit scores. If you qualify, the mortgage lender will then provide you with a preapproval letter, valid for a certain time period, that specifies how much you’re eligible for.

Save Up for a Down Payment and Closing Costs

During the preapproval process, the lender should have discussed loan options that could be a good fit for you. They should also have communicated how much you will need for a down payment and closing costs.

While some sellers may be willing to cover closing costs, be prepared to provide earnest money to secure your offer. And you may need a large down payment if you’re taking out a jumbo loan, or don’t qualify for the FHA or VA loan program. If that’s the case, now’s the time to figure out a plan for it.

If the seller is not paying closing costs, expect to pay between 2% and 5% of the sales price. And if a hefty down payment isn’t required, it’s not a bad idea to bring money to the table. Doing so allows you to reduce the Loan-to-Value, which positions you as less risky to the lender.

You may also be able to avoid private mortgage insurance (PMI), which is required until you reach 20% in equity, and possibly qualify for a reduced interest rate.

How to Find the Perfect Home

Go Home Shopping

All squared away with a preapproval and planned to save up the cash you need? Now, it’s time to go home shopping. But before you go, you have to decide if you want to enlist the assistance of a real estate agent.

It’s possible to find a slew of listings within your price range on the web with minimal effort. However, real estate agents have access to a system that could expand your reach. Even better, they could be integral in helping you choose a home that’s a good buy and negotiating the final purchase price.

And the seller’s agent pays their commission, so no need to worry about forking over extra cash. Just be sure to hire a real estate professional that is seasoned and reputable.

Now for the fun part: home shopping. Be careful not to judge a home solely by its appearance. Some other important factors to keep in mind:

  • Taxes: are the property taxes affordable or beyond what you can comfortably afford? (You can roll property taxes and homeowners insurance into an escrow account, but they can easily make or break your budget if the figures are steep).
  • Location: is the home in an area that has historically held its value? Is the location optimal for your commute to and from work?
  • Crime: is it a high crime area or is it relatively safe?
  • Condition: how old is the property? Does it need tons of repairs, or is it close to being move in ready?
  • Floor plan: is the floor plan feasible or ideal for your situation? Would it be appealing to other buyers if you had to sell?
  • School district: how are the schools? Have they received a good rating, or do they struggle to stay afloat?

All of these factors can have an effect on the value of the property over time.

Submit an Offer

You’ve found the perfect home, and you’re ready to sign on the dotted. Before you can finalize the paperwork and move in, there’s one more important step. And that’s making the offer. Even if the sales price seems fair, you may need to make an offer that’s higher or lower to snag the home.

Why so? Well, there could be a slight or drastic bidding war going on, and the only way for you to win is to beat out the competition. Or maybe your real estate agent did some research and determined the asking price was a bit high based on similar properties in the area or the home’s current condition.

Either way, you want to submit an offer that stands out and gets accepted. Your real estate agent will be able to do so on your behalf. But if you don’t have a real estate agent, check out these letters from Trulia to get you started.

The Mortgage Process

Even after your offer is accepted, there’s still more work to do. You’re not done just yet! It’s time to move on to the mortgage process.

Remember that preapproval letter? The lender will make sure all the information you initially provided is accurate through a process called underwriting.

Depending on how long it’s been since you were preapproved, you may be asked to provide updated bank statements or pay stubs.

The faster you submit the requested information, the quicker you’ll get a response. So, don’t drag your feet if you want a closing date that’s sooner than later.

Home Inspections and Appraisals

Before you close on the home, you will need to have a home inspection and appraisal complete.

The home inspection shouldn’t cost you more than $500. It will give you an overall assessment of the property and identify any potential issues.

The appraisal also plays an integral role as it will give you a solid idea of the home’s fair market value. The lender will mandate it, but it’s not a bad idea to get an independent appraisal done to serve as a second opinion.

An inspection and appraisal may help you decide if you should lower your offer or walk away from the property.

Purchase Homeowners Insurance

Your mortgage lender will require that you take out homeowners insurance. So, you want to start shopping around for quotes and select a policy prior to closing.

Close on Your Loan

At last! You’ve reached the finish line, and it’s time to close on your loan. During the closing, expect to:

  • Sign a load of paperwork.
  • Provide any amounts owed for the down payment.
  • Pay closing costs, which could include property tax obligations, premiums for homeowner’s insurance and association dues, title insurance, and any other costs associated with finalizing the loan.
  • Pay discount points or prepaid interest that can reduce the interest rate.

But before you show up at closing, it’s a good idea to speak with the lender, so you’ll know what to expect. You can also request a copy of the final closing document, or Closing Disclosure, to see a detailed breakdown of expenses.

A Few More Tips

Here are a few more suggestions for first time home buyers to help you get approved for your first loan:

  • Refrain from applying for new credit before you close. This could throw off your DTI ratio, lower your credit score, and ultimately prevent you from closing on the loan.
  • State and local programs may be available to assist with down payments. If you’re low on funds, be sure to explore options that may be available to you.
  • Several builders offer buyer incentives, like allowances for upgrades and closing costs. So if you haven’t considered new construction, it may not be such a bad idea to take a look if the price points are within your budget.

Should You Rent, Instead?

Perhaps you’ve done a little legwork, ran the numbers, and are on the fence about home buying. You will typically find that it’s cheaper to make monthly mortgage payments than to pay rent.

You can also take advantage of tax deductions and build up equity as you’re making monthly payments. The equity can be borrowed against for a loan or put some extra money in your pocket should you decide to sell before the repayment period ends.

However, renting a home gives you the flexibility to move to a new location if the home isn’t quite what you expected, don’t like the neighborhood, or want something more affordable.

Furthermore, renting allows you to pass the costs of maintaining the home on to the owner. But as a homeowner, you’ll be responsible for costs associated with maintenance and repairs.

Another reason why some choose to rent over buying is the upfront costs. Most landlords require a security deposit. However, it could be substantially lower than the money you may have to bring to the table for the down payment and closing costs.

Ultimately, you have to decide which is the better fit: investing in an asset that could build wealth or continuing to pay rent until you feel the time is right. There is no right or wrong answer; it just depends on your personal preference and financial situation.

Bottom Line

By taking the time to learn about the home buying process, you’ll be well-prepared and save yourself time and headaches. Best of all, you’ll increase your chances of landing your dream home with the most competitive mortgage product on the market.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the process for buying a home?

The process for buying a home typically involves the following steps:

  1. Determine your budget and get preapproved for a mortgage.
  2. Find a real estate agent and start looking for homes.
  3. Make an offer on a home and negotiate the terms.
  4. Get a home inspection and address any issues that are found.
  5. Get a mortgage and close on the home.

How much house can I afford?

When determining how much house you can afford, there are several factors to take into account. You should consider your income, expenses, down payment, credit score, and mortgage type before making a decision.

A larger down payment can help you get a lower mortgage rate, and a higher credit score can qualify you for better rates and loan terms. Shopping around for mortgage rates and considering different types of mortgages, such as fixed-rate or adjustable-rate, can also help you find the best deal.

Keep in mind that owning a home involves more than just the monthly payments. You will also need to factor in property taxes, insurance, and maintenance costs. You should create a budget that includes all of these costs and leaves room for unexpected expenses.

How much money do I need for a down payment?

The amount of money you need for a down payment will depend on the type of mortgage you get and the price of the home you are buying.

Some mortgage programs, such as FHA loans, allow for down payments as low as 3.5%, while others may require a higher down payment. It’s a good idea to speak with a mortgage lender to determine how much you will need.

Can I buy a house if I have a low credit score?

It’s possible to buy a house with a low credit score. However, it may be more difficult to get approved for a mortgage, and you may have to pay a higher interest rate. Before applying for a mortgage, work on improving your credit scores, as this will help you qualify for a better loan and save you money over time.

How much will closing costs be?

Closing costs are fees that are paid at the closing of a real estate transaction. These costs can vary widely and may include things like mortgage origination fees, title insurance, and appraisal fees. On average, closing costs can range from 2% to 5% of the purchase price of the home.

What is a mortgage preapproval?

A mortgage preapproval is a letter from a lender that indicates how much you are qualified to borrow for a mortgage. The preapproval letter is based on a review of your financial information, including your credit score, monthly income, and debts. A mortgage preapproval can help you understand how much you can afford to borrow and can make you a more competitive buyer in the real estate market.

What is a mortgage rate?

A mortgage rate is the interest rate that you will pay on your mortgage. The mortgage rate will determine the amount of your monthly payments and the overall cost of your loan. Interest rates can vary depending on the type of mortgage you get and your credit scores.

What is PMI?

PMI, or private mortgage insurance, is insurance that is required by lenders for certain types of mortgages when the borrower has less than a 20% down payment. PMI protects the lender in the event that the borrower defaults on the mortgage. The cost of PMI is typically added to the borrower’s monthly mortgage payment.


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Our goal here at Credible Operations, Inc., NMLS Number 1681276, referred to as “Credible” below, is to give you the tools and confidence you need to improve your finances. Although we do promote products from our partner lenders who compensate us for our services, all opinions are our own.

  Home equity loan Home equity line of credit (HELOC) Interest rate Fixed Variable Monthly payment amount Fixed Variable Closing costs and fees Yes  Yes, might be lower than other loan types  Repayment period Typically 5-30 years Typically 10-20 years


What is a rate lock?

Interest rates on mortgages fluctuate all the time, but a rate lock allows you to lock in your current rate for a set amount of time. This ensures you get the rate you want as you complete the homebuying process.

What are mortgage points?

Mortgage points are a type of prepaid interest that you can pay upfront — often as part of your closing costs — for a lower overall interest rate. This can lower your APR and monthly payments. 

What are closing costs?

Closing costs are the fees you, as the buyer, need to pay before getting a loan. Common fees include attorney fees, home appraisal fees, origination fees, and application fees.

If you’re trying to find the right mortgage rate, consider using Credible. You can use Credible’s free online tool to easily compare multiple lenders and see prequalified rates in just a few minutes.


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You’ve spent weeks preparing paperwork for your mortgage application. Now that you’re pre-approved for a loan, it’s time to talk numbers.

At first glance of the document detailing the breakdown of your monthly mortgage payments, the term PMI catches your eye. It’s a little over $100 per month, and you’re not sure what it’s for.

From what you’ve read, it’s standard on loans if the borrower puts little or no money down. But before you panic, take a deep breath and read on to learn more about PMI and how it works.

What is private mortgage insurance (PMI)?

What happens when your down payment is less than 20% of the cost of your new home? You may get approved for a mortgage loan. However, you pose more risk to the mortgage lender since you’re starting with no equity in your home. And if you fall behind on monthly payments and the lender forecloses on the home, they could stand to lose on the sale.

But the down payment of 20% is a way to create instant home equity. It also provides a layer of protection for the lender if they have to sell at a discounted price to recoup losses.

So, how does the lender protect themselves if you make little to no down payment? That’s where private mortgage insurance (PMI) comes in.

PMI is a type of mortgage insurance that protects the lender from taking a loss if you default on the loan. If the lender is unable to recover the outstanding balance of the loan from the sale, PMI will kick in and pay the difference. PMI is not to be confused with homeowners insurance, which protects you against damage to your property.

Who pays for private mortgage insurance?

This protection comes at a cost to borrowers. But it allows those with a down payment of less than 20% to buy the home of their dreams. It also minimizes risk, so lenders can extend these types of mortgage loans to consumers.

Does it cover private and public lenders?

PMI is only available to private lenders. Government agencies and other public lenders have their own form of mortgage insurance.

When is private mortgage insurance required?

Mortgage lenders use the loan-to-value (LTV) ratio to determine whether a borrower has to pay PMI. Typically, you’ll only have to pay PMI premiums if your loan-to-value ratio exceeds 80%. To calculate the mortgage LTV, the lender divides the mortgage amount by the home value.

Other circumstances may cause the lender to require PMI coverage. This includes past foreclosures, a less-than-perfect credit score, or other factors the lender thinks will increase your chances of defaulting on the loan.

A few scenarios:

Home Value [1] $100,000 $200,000 $250,000
Down Payment $10,000 $50,000 $25,000
Mortgage Amount $90,000 $50,000 $25,000
Loan to Value Ratio 90% 75% 90%
PMI Required Yes No [2] Yes
[1]: Equivalent to sales price at the time of purchase
[2]: This may change if the lender determines the borrower is riskier than normal

Private Mortgage Insurance vs. Mortgage Insurance Premiums

As mentioned earlier, mortgage insurance comes in a few variations:

  • Private Mortgage Insurance (PMI): protects private lenders who offer conventional loans. There are two types of PMI for conventional loans: borrower-paid mortgage insurance and lender-paid mortgage insurance. In most instances, PMI only applies until your LTV reaches 80%. But there are situations where the lender will require a higher percentage for the coverage to be lifted from the loan.
  • Mortgage Insurance Premium (MIP): protects government-backed VA loans and FHA loans. You pay a portion of the premium at the close of a VA loan or FHA loan. Then, you continue to pay mortgage insurance premiums on a monthly basis for the life of the loan, even once LTV is below 80%.

The LTV ratio is computed in the same manner for both private and government-backed mortgage products.

How much does PMI cost?

Premiums vary by loan. On average, you can expect to pay between 0.5 and 1% of the loan amount annually. So, if your mortgage is $350,000 and the PMI rate is 0.8%, your annual premiums will be around $2,800, or $233.33 per month.

The insurer will analyze your profile, including your credit score and down payment, to determine your interest rate.

The type of mortgage could also impact your premium. For example, if you take out an Adjustable Rate Mortgage (ARM) with floating interest, your premium may be higher. Why so? If the interest rate increases, your monthly mortgage payment will rise. And there’s a possibility you’ll default on the loan.

The condition of the real estate market in your area could also impact your PMI premiums. If projections state home values will plummet in the future, your premiums may be higher. This is due to the likelihood of you walking away once you’re upside-down on the loan.

How are PMI premiums paid?

There are three ways to make PMI premium payments:

  • Borrower-Paid PMI: Most mortgage lenders make it easy to manage premiums by rolling the monthly obligation into the amount you already pay for your home. This is the method used by most borrowers.
  • Single Premium PMI: You can also make a single lump-sum payment at the start of the loan by paying cash or rolling sum of the premiums into the loan.
  • Lender Paid PMI: If you wish to lower the monthly mortgage payment, Lender Paid PMI is also an option. The lender will pay premiums on your behalf. But keep in mind that the costs will be recouped in interest. And premiums don’t automatically go away when the mortgage LTV reaches 80%.

How to Avoid Paying Private Mortgage Insurance

The easiest way to avoid paying PMI is by making a larger down payment. If you can’t afford to put 20% down, it reduces your LTV ratio. Plus, you’ll be able to drop coverage quicker.

1. Take out a second mortgage or piggyback loan

To use this strategy effectively, you’ll need to take out a mortgage for the home’s purchase price, minus 20%. The remaining loan balance, minus the down payment, is then rolled into a second mortgage or piggyback loan.

So, if you buy a home for $200,000 and make a down payment of $15,000, the first mortgage will amount to $160,000. The second mortgage will amount to $25,000 since you are making a down payment of $15,000.

With this method, you avoid PMI since the LTV ratio on the first mortgage is 80%. But keep in mind that a second mortgage comes with a higher interest rate. So, you’ll want to pay it off sooner than later to avoid spending a fortune in interest.

2. Monitor the loan-to-value ratio

When you took out the mortgage loan, your lender used the home’s purchase price to determine the LTV ratio. However, an increase in the market value of your home could mean you are no longer obligated to pay for PMI.

By law, under the Homeowner’s Protection Act, PMI has to come off once the outstanding principal reaches 78% of the original loan amount.

Prepare to provide a professional appraisal to the lender to substantiate your claim. You may spend a few hundred dollars to get it done, but the cost savings will be worth it.

3. Request PMI Cancellation

If you’re nearing the 80% mark, the lender may be willing to remove the PMI from your loan. However, there’s also a possibility that you’ve already met some other criteria that warrant a request to cancel PMI coverage.

4. Refinance your mortgage

Perhaps your credit score was in shambles, and you were forced to take out a government-backed loan that requires you to carry PMI for the duration of the loan. Or maybe you got stuck with a conventional loan from a private lender that requires PMI until the LTV ratio reaches 70%.

Either way, refinancing your loan with laxer PMI restrictions may be a better option. But be sure to run the numbers to confirm that the new loan will not cost you more over time. (Remember, extending or resetting the loan term allows the lender more time to collect interest from you).

5. Shop for a loan that doesn’t require PMI

Compare loan programs to find one that doesn’t require PMI. For example, VA loans don’t require PMI, which can save you a bundle. Additionally, explore loans insured by the Federal Housing Administration (FHA) or the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA). Both of them offer programs designed to make homeownership more accessible to low- and moderate-income buyers.

Some lenders also offer mortgage products that allow you to make a small down payment and not have to pay for PMI. Bank of America’s “Affordable Loan Solution” mortgage product is a great example.

6. Ask about exemptions

If you’re a physician or veteran, you could also be exempt from PMI, even if you don’t put down 20%. Ask your lender for more details to determine if you qualify.

7. Consult the lender

Still no luck? Reach out to the lender to inquire about other ways to stop paying PMI. They may know of tips and tricks on how to get rid of PMI that may not be obvious to the average borrower.

Finally, if you still have questions or don’t understand how mortgage insurance works, seek clarification before signing on the dotted line. That way, you won’t be in for any surprises later on down the line.

Frequently Asked Questions

When is private mortgage insurance required?

PMI is typically required when a borrower makes a down payment of less than 20% of the purchase price of the home.

How much does private mortgage insurance cost?

The cost of PMI can vary depending on the size of the loan and the down payment amount. Generally, the cost of PMI is between 0.5% and 1.5% of the loan amount.

How long do I have to pay PMI?

Generally, PMI is required until the loan-to-value ratio (LTV) reaches 78%. Once the LTV reaches 78%, the lender must automatically cancel the PMI.

How can I avoid PMI?

Borrowers can avoid PMI by making a down payment of at least 20% of the purchase price of the home. Additionally, some lenders offer programs that allow borrowers to put down less than 20% and still avoid PMI.

What if I want to cancel my PMI?

Borrowers can request to cancel their PMI once their loan-to-value ratio (LTV) reaches 80%. The lender may require proof that the LTV has reached 80% before canceling the PMI.

Can I deduct PMI on my taxes?

PMI is not tax-deductible as of 2019. However, borrowers may be able to deduct the interest portion of their mortgage payments, which may include PMI.


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Today’s mortgage rates

Average mortgage rates rose very slightly yesterday. I’m afraid it’s a sign that Wednesday’s moderate fall wasn’t necessarily the start of much happier times.

Earlier this morning, markets were signaling that mortgage rates today could barely budge. However, these early mini-trends frequently alter direction or speed as the hours pass.

Current mortgage and refinance rates

Find your lowest rate. Start here

Program Mortgage Rate APR* Change
Conventional 30-year fixed 7.29% 7.34% +0.03
Conventional 15-year fixed 6.744% 6.822% +0.04
30-year fixed FHA 7.129% 7.179% +0.21
5/1 ARM Conventional 6.682% 7.918% -0.01
Conventional 20-year fixed 7.15% 7.207% +0.07
Conventional 10-year fixed 6.607% 6.68% +0.02
30-year fixed VA 7.28% 7.324% +0.2
Rates are provided by our partner network, and may not reflect the market. Your rate might be different. Click here for a personalized rate quote. See our rate assumptions See our rate assumptions here.

Should you lock your mortgage rate today?

I reckon it’s likely to be some months before we begin to see consistently falling mortgage rates. The economy is currently too robust and inflation is too warm for a sustained downward trend. And there are few signs of that changing until the summer or fall — or perhaps even later.

So my personal rate lock recommendations remain:

  • LOCK if closing in 7 days
  • LOCK if closing in 15 days
  • LOCK if closing in 30 days
  • LOCK if closing in 45 days
  • LOCK if closing in 60 days

However, with so much uncertainty at the moment, your instincts could easily turn out to be as good as mine — or better. So, let your gut and your own tolerance for risk help guide you.

>Related: 7 Tips to get the best refinance rate

Market data affecting today’s mortgage rates

Here’s a snapshot of the state of play this morning at about 9:50 a.m. (ET). The data are mostly compared with roughly the same time the business day before, so much of the movement will often have happened in the previous session. The numbers are:

  • The yield on 10-year Treasury notes ticked lower to 4.62 from 4.63%. (Good for mortgage rates.) More than any other market, mortgage rates typically tend to follow these particular Treasury bond yields
  • Major stock indexes were mixed this morning. (Neutral for mortgage rates.) When investors buy shares, they’re often selling bonds, which pushes those prices down and increases yields and mortgage rates. The opposite may happen when indexes are lower. But this is an imperfect relationship
  • Oil prices decreased to $82.77 from $82.98 a barrel. (Neutral for mortgage rates*.) Energy prices play a prominent role in creating inflation and also point to future economic activity
  • Gold prices rose to $2,398 from $2,393 an ounce. (Neutral for mortgage rates*.) It is generally better for rates when gold prices rise and worse when they fall. Because gold tends to rise when investors worry about the economy.
  • CNN Business Fear & Greed index — nudged down to 32 from 35 out of 100. (Good for mortgage rates.) “Greedy” investors push bond prices down (and interest rates up) as they leave the bond market and move into stocks, while “fearful” investors do the opposite. So, lower readings are often better than higher ones

*A movement of less than $20 on gold prices or 40 cents on oil ones is a change of 1% or less. So we only count meaningful differences as good or bad for mortgage rates.

Caveats about markets and rates

Before the pandemic, post-pandemic upheavals, and war in Ukraine, you could look at the above figures and make a pretty good guess about what would happen to mortgage rates that day. But that’s no longer the case. We still make daily calls. And are usually right. But our record for accuracy won’t achieve its former high levels until things settle down.

So, use markets only as a rough guide. Because they have to be exceptionally strong or weak to rely on them. But, with that caveat, mortgage rates today look likely to be unchanged or close to unchanged. However, be aware that “intraday swings” (when rates change speed or direction during the day) are a common feature right now.

Find your lowest rate. Start here

What’s driving mortgage rates today?


There are no economic reports scheduled for release today. And the words of the sole senior Federal Reserve official with a speaking engagement, Chicago Fed President Austan Goolsbee, are unlikely to affect markets. His boss, Fed Chair Jerome Powell, laid out the central bank’s position on future cuts to general interest rates as recently as Tuesday.

Of course, mortgage rates can still move on days like today. But they’re generally driven by market sentiment or occasionally by important news that affects the economy.

Next week

Next Monday is much like today: zero economic reports on the schedule. Tuesday’s purchasing managers’ indexes (PMIs) could produce some movement in mortgage rates. But that’s typically limited and temporary, a description that applies to Wednesday’s durable goods orders data, too.

Things could warm up next Thursday when the first reading of gross domestic product (GDP) for the January-March quarter is due.

And next Friday should bring the March personal consumption expenditures (PCE) price index. That’s the Federal Reserve’s favorite gauge of inflation. So, it can certainly affect mortgage rates.

Don’t forget you can always learn more about what’s driving mortgage rates in the most recent weekend edition of this daily report. These provide a more detailed analysis of what’s happening. They are published each Saturday morning soon after 10 a.m. (ET) and include a preview of the following week.

According to Freddie Mac’s archives, the weekly all-time lowest rate for 30-year, fixed-rate mortgages was set on Jan. 7, 2021, when it stood at 2.65%. The weekly all-time high was 18.63% on Sep. 10, 1981.

Freddie’s Apr. 18 report put that same weekly average at 7.1%, up from the previous week’s 6.88%. But note that Freddie’s data are almost always out of date by the time it announces its weekly figures.

Expert forecasts for mortgage rates

Looking further ahead, Fannie Mae and the Mortgage Bankers Association (MBA) each has a team of economists dedicated to monitoring and forecasting what will happen to the economy, the housing sector and mortgage rates.

And here are their rate forecasts for the four quarters of 2024 (Q1/24, Q2/24 Q3/24 and Q4/24).

The numbers in the table below are for 30-year, fixed-rate mortgages. Fannie’s were updated on Mar. 19 and the MBA’s on Apr. 18.

Forecaster Q1/24 Q2/24 Q3/24 Q4/24
Fannie Mae 6.7% 6.7%  6.6% 6.4%
MBA 6.8% 6.7%  6.6% 6.4%

Of course, given so many unknowables, both these forecasts might be even more speculative than usual. And their past record for accuracy hasn’t been wildly impressive.

Important notes on today’s mortgage rates

Here are some things you need to know:

  1. Typically, mortgage rates go up when the economy’s doing well and down when it’s in trouble. But there are exceptions. Read ‘How mortgage rates are determined and why you should care
  2. Only “top-tier” borrowers (with stellar credit scores, big down payments, and very healthy finances) get the ultralow mortgage rates you’ll see advertised
  3. Lenders vary. Yours may or may not follow the crowd when it comes to daily rate movements — though they all usually follow the broader trend over time
  4. When daily rate changes are small, some lenders will adjust closing costs and leave their rate cards the same
  5. Refinance rates are typically close to those for purchases.

A lot is going on at the moment. And nobody can claim to know with certainty what will happen to mortgage rates in the coming hours, days, weeks or months.

Find your lowest mortgage rate today

You should comparison shop widely, no matter what sort of mortgage you want. Federal regulator the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau found in May 2023:

“Mortgage borrowers are paying around $100 a month more depending on which lender they choose, for the same type of loan and the same consumer characteristics (such as credit score and down payment).”

In other words, over the lifetime of a 30-year loan, homebuyers who don’t bother to get quotes from multiple lenders risk losing an average of $36,000. What could you do with that sort of money?

Verify your new rate

Mortgage rate methodology

The Mortgage Reports receives rates based on selected criteria from multiple lending partners each day. We arrive at an average rate and APR for each loan type to display in our chart. Because we average an array of rates, it gives you a better idea of what you might find in the marketplace. Furthermore, we average rates for the same loan types. For example, FHA fixed with FHA fixed. The end result is a good snapshot of daily rates and how they change over time.

How your mortgage interest rate is determined

Mortgage and refinance rates vary a lot depending on each borrower’s unique situation.

Factors that determine your mortgage interest rate include:

  • Overall strength of the economy — A strong economy usually means higher rates, while a weaker one can push current mortgage rates down to promote borrowing
  • Lender capacity — When a lender is very busy, it will increase rates to deter new business and give its loan officers some breathing room
  • Property type (condo, single-family, town house, etc.) — A primary residence, meaning a home you plan to live in full time, will have a lower interest rate. Investment properties, second homes, and vacation homes have higher mortgage rates
  • Loan-to-value ratio (determined by your down payment) — Your loan-to-value ratio (LTV) compares your loan amount to the value of the home. A lower LTV, meaning a bigger down payment, gets you a lower mortgage rate
  • Debt-To-Income ratio — This number compares your total monthly debts to your pretax income. The more debt you currently have, the less room you’ll have in your budget for a mortgage payment
  • Loan term — Loans with a shorter term (like a 15-year mortgage) typically have lower rates than a 30-year loan term
  • Borrower’s credit score — Typically the higher your credit score is, the lower your mortgage rate, and vice versa
  • Mortgage discount points — Borrowers have the option to buy discount points or ‘mortgage points’ at closing. These let you pay money upfront to lower your interest rate

Remember, every mortgage lender weighs these factors a little differently.

To find the best rate for your situation, you’ll want to get personalized estimates from a few different lenders.

Verify your new rate. Start here

Are refinance rates the same as mortgage rates?

Rates for a home purchase and mortgage refinance are often similar.

However, some lenders will charge more for a refinance under certain circumstances.

Typically when rates fall, homeowners rush to refinance. They see an opportunity to lock in a lower rate and payment for the rest of their loan.

This creates a tidal wave of new work for mortgage lenders.

Unfortunately, some lenders don’t have the capacity or crew to process a large number of refinance loan applications.

In this case, a lender might raise its rates to deter new business and give loan officers time to process loans currently in the pipeline.

Also, cashing out equity can result in a higher rate when refinancing.

Cash-out refinances pose a greater risk for mortgage lenders, so they’re often priced higher than new home purchases and rate-term refinances.

Check your refinance rates today. Start here

How to get the lowest mortgage or refinance rate

Since rates can vary, always shop around when buying a house or refinancing a mortgage.

Comparison shopping can potentially save thousands, even tens of thousands of dollars over the life of your loan.

Here are a few tips to keep in mind:

1. Get multiple quotes

Many borrowers make the mistake of accepting the first mortgage or refinance offer they receive.

Some simply go with the bank they use for checking and savings since that can seem easiest.

However, your bank might not offer the best mortgage deal for you. And if you’re refinancing, your financial situation may have changed enough that your current lender is no longer your best bet.

So get multiple quotes from at least three different lenders to find the right one for you.

2. Compare Loan Estimates

When shopping for a mortgage or refinance, lenders will provide a Loan Estimate that breaks down important costs associated with the loan.

You’ll want to read these Loan Estimates carefully and compare costs and fees line-by-line, including:

  • Interest rate
  • Annual percentage rate (APR)
  • Monthly mortgage payment
  • Loan origination fees
  • Rate lock fees
  • Closing costs

Remember, the lowest interest rate isn’t always the best deal.

Annual percentage rate (APR) can help you compare the ‘real’ cost of two loans. It estimates your total yearly cost including interest and fees.

Also, pay close attention to your closing costs.

Some lenders may bring their rates down by charging more upfront via discount points. These can add thousands to your out-of-pocket costs.

3. Negotiate your mortgage rate

You can also negotiate your mortgage rate to get a better deal.

Let’s say you get loan estimates from two lenders. Lender A offers the better rate, but you prefer your loan terms from Lender B. Talk to Lender B and see if they can beat the former’s pricing.

You might be surprised to find that a lender is willing to give you a lower interest rate in order to keep your business.

And if they’re not, keep shopping — there’s a good chance someone will.

Fixed-rate mortgage vs. adjustable-rate mortgage: Which is right for you?

Mortgage borrowers can choose between a fixed-rate mortgage and an adjustable-rate mortgage (ARM).

Fixed-rate mortgages (FRMs) have interest rates that never change unless you decide to refinance. This results in predictable monthly payments and stability over the life of your loan.

Adjustable-rate loans have a low interest rate that’s fixed for a set number of years (typically five or seven). After the initial fixed-rate period, the interest rate adjusts every year based on market conditions.

With each rate adjustment, a borrower’s mortgage rate can either increase, decrease, or stay the same. These loans are unpredictable since monthly payments can change each year.

Adjustable-rate mortgages are fitting for borrowers who expect to move before their first rate adjustment, or who can afford a higher future payment.

In most other cases, a fixed-rate mortgage is typically the safer and better choice.

Remember, if rates drop sharply, you are free to refinance and lock in a lower rate and payment later on.

How your credit score affects your mortgage rate

You don’t need a high credit score to qualify for a home purchase or refinance, but your credit score will affect your rate.

This is because credit history determines risk level.

Historically speaking, borrowers with higher credit scores are less likely to default on their mortgages, so they qualify for lower rates.

So, for the best rate, aim for a credit score of 720 or higher.

Mortgage programs that don’t require a high score include:

  • Conventional home loans — minimum 620 credit score
  • FHA loans — minimum 500 credit score (with a 10% down
    payment) or 580 (with a 3.5% down payment)
  • VA loans — no minimum credit score, but 620 is common
  • USDA loans — minimum 640 credit score

Ideally, you want to check your credit report and score at least 6 months before applying for a mortgage. This gives you time to sort out any errors and make sure your score is as high as possible.

If you’re ready to apply now, it’s still worth checking so you have a good idea of what loan programs you might qualify for and how your score will affect your rate.

You can get your credit report from and your score from

How big of a down payment do I need?

Nowadays, mortgage programs don’t require the conventional 20 percent down.

Indeed, first-time home buyers put only 6 percent down on average.

Down payment minimums vary depending on the loan program. For example:

  • Conventional home loans require a down payment between 3%
    and 5%
  • FHA loans require 3.5% down
  • VA and USDA loans allow zero down payment
  • Jumbo loans typically require at least 5% to 10% down

Keep in mind, a higher down payment reduces your risk as a borrower and helps you negotiate a better mortgage rate.

If you are able to make a 20 percent down payment, you can avoid paying for mortgage insurance.

This is an added cost paid by the borrower, which protects their lender in case of default or foreclosure.

But a big down payment is not required.

For many people, it makes sense to make a smaller down payment in order to buy a house sooner and start building home equity.

Verify your new rate. Start here

Choosing the right type of home loan

No two mortgage loans are alike, so it’s important to know your options and choose the right type of mortgage.

The five main types of mortgages include:

Fixed-rate mortgage (FRM)

Your interest rate remains the same over the life of the loan. This is a good option for borrowers who expect to live in their homes long-term.

The most popular loan option is the 30-year mortgage, but 15- and 20-year terms are also commonly available.

Adjustable-rate mortgage (ARM)

Adjustable-rate loans have a fixed interest rate for the first few years. Then, your mortgage rate resets every year.

Your rate and payment can rise or fall annually depending on how the broader interest rate trends.

ARMs are ideal for borrowers who expect to move prior to their first rate adjustment (usually in 5 or 7 years).

For those who plan to stay in their home long-term, a fixed-rate mortgage is typically recommended.

Jumbo mortgage

A jumbo loan is a mortgage that exceeds the conforming loan limit set by Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac.

In 2023, the conforming loan limit is $726,200 in most areas.

Jumbo loans are perfect for borrowers who need a larger loan to purchase a high-priced property, especially in big cities with high real estate values.

FHA mortgage

A government loan backed by the Federal Housing Administration for low- to moderate-income borrowers. FHA loans feature low credit score and down payment requirements.

VA mortgage

A government loan backed by the Department of Veterans Affairs. To be eligible, you must be active-duty military, a veteran, a Reservist or National Guard service member, or an eligible spouse.

VA loans allow no down payment and have exceptionally low mortgage rates.

USDA mortgage

USDA loans are a government program backed by the U.S. Department of Agriculture. They offer a no-down-payment solution for borrowers who purchase real estate in an eligible rural area. To qualify, your income must be at or below the local median.

Bank statement loan

Borrowers can qualify for a mortgage without tax returns, using their personal or business bank account as evidence of their financial circumstances. This is an option for self-employed or seasonally-employed borrowers.

Portfolio/Non-QM loan

These are mortgages that lenders don’t sell on the secondary mortgage market. And this gives lenders the flexibility to set their own guidelines.

Non-QM loans may have lower credit score requirements or offer low-down-payment options without mortgage insurance.

Choosing the right mortgage lender

The lender or loan program that’s right for one person might not be right for another.

Explore your options and then pick a loan based on your credit score, down payment, and financial goals, as well as local home prices.

Whether you’re getting a mortgage for a home purchase or a refinance, always shop around and compare rates and terms.

Typically, it only takes a few hours to get quotes from multiple lenders. And it could save you thousands in the long run.

Time to make a move? Let us find the right mortgage for you

Current mortgage rates methodology

We receive current mortgage rates each day from a network of mortgage lenders that offer home purchase and refinance loans. Those mortgage rates shown here are based on sample borrower profiles that vary by loan type. See our full loan assumptions here.


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Today’s average mortgage rates

Today’s average mortgage rates on Apr. 19, 2024, compared with one week ago. We use rate data collected by Bankrate as reported by lenders across the US.

Current mortgage interest rates

If you’re in the market for a home, here are today’s mortgage rates compared to last week’s.

Product Rate Last week Change
30-year fixed 7.13% 7.02% +0.11
15-year fixed 6.64% 6.44% +0.20
10-year fixed 6.51% 6.37% +0.14
5/1 ARM 6.79% 6.60% +0.19
30-year jumbo mortgage rate 7.40% 7.20% +0.20
30-year mortgage refinance rate 7.11% 6.97% +0.13

Average rates offered by lenders nationwide as of April 16, 2024. We use rates collected by Bankrate to track daily mortgage rate trends.

Mortgage rates change every day. Experts recommend shopping around to make sure you’re getting the lowest rate. By entering your information below, you can get a custom quote from one of CNET’s partner lenders.

About these rates: Like CNET, Bankrate is owned by Red Ventures. This tool features partner rates from lenders that you can use when comparing multiple mortgage rates.

Over the last few years, high inflation and the Federal Reserve’s aggressive interest rate hikes pushed up mortgage rates from their record lows around the pandemic. Since last summer, the Fed has consistently kept the federal funds rate at 5.25% to 5.5%. Though the central bank doesn’t directly set the rates for mortgages, a high federal funds rate makes borrowing more expensive, including for home loans.

Mortgage rates change daily, but average rates have been moving between 6.5% and 7.5% since late last fall. Today’s homebuyers have less room in their budget to afford the cost of a home due to elevated mortgage rates and steep home prices. Limited housing inventory and low wage growth are also contributing to the affordability crisis and keeping mortgage demand down.

What to expect from mortgage rates in 2024

Mortgage forecasters base their projections on different data, but most housing market experts predict rates will move toward 6% by the end of 2024. Ultimately, a more affordable mortgage market will depend on how quickly the Fed begins cutting interest rates. Most economists predict that the Fed will start lowering interest rates later this summer.

Since mortgage rates fluctuate for many reasons — supply, demand, inflation, monetary policy and jobs data — homebuyers won’t see lower rates overnight, and it’s unlikely they’ll find rates in the 2% range again.

“We are expecting mortgage rates to fall to around 6.5% by the end of this year, but there’s still a lot of volatility I think we might see,” said Daryl Fairweather, chief economist at Redfin.

Every month brings a new set of inflation and labor data that can change how investors and the market respond and what direction mortgage rates go, said Odeta Kushi, deputy chief economist at First American Financial Corporation. “Ongoing inflation deceleration, a slowing economy and even geopolitical uncertainty can contribute to lower mortgage rates. On the other hand, data that signals upside risk to inflation may result in higher rates,” Kushi said.

Here’s a look at where some major housing authorities expect average mortgage rates to land.

How to select a mortgage term and type

When picking a mortgage, consider the loan term, or payment schedule. The most common mortgage terms are 15 and 30 years, although 10-, 20- and 40-year mortgages also exist. You’ll also need to choose between a fixed-rate mortgage, where the interest rate is set for the duration of the loan, and an adjustable-rate mortgage. With an adjustable-rate mortgage, the interest rate is only fixed for a certain amount of time (commonly five, seven or 10 years), after which the rate adjusts annually based on the market’s current interest rate. Fixed-rate mortgages offer more stability and are a better option if you plan to live in a home in the long term, but adjustable-rate mortgages may offer lower interest rates upfront.

30-year fixed-rate mortgages

The average interest rate for a standard 30-year fixed mortgage is 7.13%, which is a growth of 11 basis points compared to one week ago. (A basis point is equivalent to 0.01%.) A 30-year fixed mortgage is the most common loan term. It will often have a higher interest rate than a 15-year mortgage, but you’ll have a lower monthly payment.

15-year fixed-rate mortgages

The average rate for a 15-year, fixed mortgage is 6.64%, which is an increase of 20 basis points from the same time last week. Though you’ll have a bigger monthly payment than a 30-year fixed mortgage, a 15-year loan usually comes with a lower interest rate, allowing you to pay less interest in the long run and pay off your mortgage sooner.

5/1 adjustable-rate mortgages

A 5/1 adjustable-rate mortgage has an average rate of 6.79%, an uptick of 19 basis points from seven days ago. You’ll typically get a lower introductory interest rate with a 5/1 ARM in the first five years of the mortgage. But you could pay more after that period, depending on how the rate adjusts annually. If you plan to sell or refinance your house within five years, an ARM could be a good option.

What factors affect mortgage rates?

While it’s important to monitor mortgage rates if you’re shopping for a home, remember that no one has a crystal ball. It’s impossible to time the mortgage market, and rates will always have some level of volatility because so many factors are at play.

“Mortgage rates tend to follow long-date Treasury yields, a function of current inflation and economic growth as well as expectations about future economic conditions,” says Orphe Divounguy, senior macroeconomist at Zillow Home Loans.

Here are the factors that influence the average rates on home loans.

  • Federal Reserve monetary policy: The nation’s central bank doesn’t set interest rates, but when it adjusts the federal funds rate, mortgages tend to go in the same direction.
  • Inflation: Mortgage rates tend to increase during high inflation. Lenders usually set higher interest rates on loans to compensate for the loss of purchasing power.
  • The bond market: Mortgage lenders often use long-term bond yields, like the 10-Year Treasury, as a benchmark to set interest rates on home loans. When yields rise, mortgage rates typically increase.
  • Geopolitical events: World events, such as elections, pandemics or economic crises, can also affect home loan rates, particularly when global financial markets face uncertainty.
  • Other economic factors: The bond market, employment data, investor confidence and housing market trends, such as supply and demand, can also affect the direction of mortgage rates.

Calculate your monthly mortgage payment

Getting a mortgage should always depend on your financial situation and long-term goals. The most important thing is to make a budget and try to stay within your means. CNET’s mortgage calculator below can help homebuyers prepare for monthly mortgage payments.

Tips for finding the best mortgage rates

Though mortgage rates and home prices are high, the housing market won’t be unaffordable forever. It’s always a good time to save for a down payment and improve your credit score to help you secure a competitive mortgage rate when the time is right.

  1. Save for a bigger down payment: Though a 20% down payment isn’t required, a larger upfront payment means taking out a smaller mortgage, which will help you save in interest.
  2. Boost your credit score: You can qualify for a conventional mortgage with a 620 credit score, but a higher score of at least 740 will get you better rates.
  3. Pay off debt: Experts recommend a debt-to-income ratio of 36% or less to help you qualify for the best rates. Not carrying other debt will put you in a better position to handle your monthly payments.
  4. Research loans and assistance: Government-sponsored loans have more flexible borrowing requirements than conventional loans. Some government-sponsored or private programs can also help with your down payment and closing costs.
  5. Shop around for lenders: Researching and comparing multiple loan offers from different lenders can help you secure the lowest mortgage rate for your situation.


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“It’s no secret that the combination of rising interest rates, limited inventory and growing property appreciation have made it more difficult for potential homebuyers to purchase in today’s market. While existing homeowners have benefitted tremendously from skyrocketing home equity, that trend has put buyers at a tremendous disadvantage,” Click n’ Close CEO Jeff Bode said in a Press release. “By combining our proprietary DPA programs with a shared appreciation option, we’re not only helping buyers get into a home more easily but also reap the benefit of homeownership from day one.”

The program is available to retail clients and through Click n’ Close’s wholesale division.

Read next: Gen Z remains hopeful about buying homes despite affordability issues

Formerly known as Mid America Mortgage, Click n’ Close has been operating since 1940. It is also a leading provider of Section 184 home loans for Native Americans. The lender maintains direct relationships with major financing agencies like Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac, and Ginnie Mae, enhancing its access to capital markets and ensuring liquidity for its loan products. Click n’ Close also manages loan servicing in-house, which it believes guarantees consistent borrower service and enhances loan salability for its partners.

Stay updated with the freshest mortgage news. Get exclusive interviews, breaking news, and industry events in your inbox, and always be the first to know by subscribing to our FREE daily newsletter.


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MSR Execution, VOI, Post-Closing Audit, Client Acquisition Tools; May Training and Events

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MSR Execution, VOI, Post-Closing Audit, Client Acquisition Tools; May Training and Events


Thu, Apr 18 2024, 11:12 AM

What loan officer hasn’t had a memorable co-signing experience? Some more so than others. Along those lines, if you head to Disneyland or Disneyworld, and find bone chips or ashes on the floor of your favorite ride, it is probably not an accident. Nor is eking out a gain, or at least breaking even, in residential lending an accident. At the Great River Conference in Memphis, much of the information being presented is about how to do things more efficiently. And for good reason, as the MBA’s calculations for IMBs and mortgage subsidiaries of chartered banks last showed that total loan production expenses (commissions, compensation, occupancy, equipment, and other production expenses and corporate allocations) increased to $12,485 per loan in the fourth quarter. On the income side of things, borrowers who obtained adjustable-rate mortgage loans (ARMs, for lack of a better acronym) 3 or 5 or 7 years ago have popped up on LO screens for refinances, and you can bet that the companies who own that servicing are all over those borrowers “like hounds on a meat wagon.” (Found here, this week’s podcasts are sponsored by Optimal Blue. OB’s smart solutions automate critical functions like pricing, hedging, trading, and social media. More originators and investors rely upon Optimal Blue’s integrated solutions, data, and connections to support their unique business strategies, no matter how complex. Hear an interview with Optimal Blue’s Mike Vough on refining margin management to improve loan profitability and reduce risk.)

Lender and Broker Products, Software, and Services

For many non-QM lenders, real estate investors make up nearly half of their pipeline. Despite stubbornly high interest rates and low inventory, these borrowers continue to transact in this market, opening up an opportunity for lenders to capture this business. However, capturing this business with traditional marketing and sales efforts is not easy. Unless you have Privy. With Privy, you can now automate real estate investor and borrower acquisition and retention. With just a click of a button, borrowers are able to engage with you at any stage of the transaction process, from just browsing to ready to transact. Let effective technology help drive your DSCR, asset depletion, and fix and flip loan volume. Contact Brad Bieber (803-730-5032) to learn more about Privy’s Enterprise Solutions.

A 30-minute meeting with Planet Home Lending’s Correspondent sales team at the MBA Secondary & Capital Markets Conference could be the catalyst for a year-round boost in your business. Join us in the Gotham III Ballroom at the InterContinental New York Times Square. Don’t wait: secure your spot now before they’re all booked! Get in touch with your Regional Sales Manager or SVP Correspondent Sales, Jim Loving (414-270-0027) to explore our continually refined product lineup spanning vanilla to niche products all tailored to your unique needs: Best effort, mandatory AOT, delegated, or non-delegated.

“Regional Credit Union Attributes Successful Audit Process to QC Ally Partnership! In a world where integrity is everything, QC Ally prides itself on building a foundation of trust with each client partner. Recently, we sat down with Bill James, Chief Risk Officer at Marine Credit Union, to discuss how QC Ally helped them achieve a formalized, unbiased pre-fund and post-close audit process with custom loan sampling. As Bill put it, ‘We’ve been very happy with QC Ally. We stacked QC Ally up against very strong competition, and they really won hands down. The service levels you provide and your own staff with very deep, rich experience are unmatched.’ Learn more here.”

As certain wines age, their tannins bind together in a process called polymerization, creating a smoother, rounder flavor that’s more desirable, and, often, more valuable, than when first vinted. Are your mortgage technology partners improving like fine wine? That’s been the experience of Lake Michigan Credit Union, which just shared new success metrics regarding its use of income and employment verification from Argyle. It’s been about a year since LMCU switched to Argyle for VOIE, and the credit union can now quantify its time and cost savings at a whopping 3 weeks and $100 per closed loan. Read the updated case study findings here.

Mortgage Capital Trading, the de facto leader in innovative mortgage capital markets technology, introduces a game-changing best execution technology for MSR retain and release decisions all in one platform. With this groundbreaking development, MCT’s Enhanced Best Execution (EBX) solution emerges as a real-time bridge between MCTlive! (live whole loan/SRP execution) and MSRlive! (loan level MSR valuation), revolutionizing the landscape of best execution strategies in the mortgage industry. MCT clients now have accurate insight into how loans are trading and what investors are paying along with the intrinsic servicing value to enhance the retained vs. released decisioning process. What was once a manual, time-consuming exercise is now completely automated with EBX, making all of the essential execution data elements accessible with the click of a button. Read the latest press release or join MCT’s upcoming webinar to learn more about their latest innovation.

Events and Training

A good place for longer term conference planning is to start is here, and click on “Conference List” for in-person events in the future. Yes, there’s plenty ahead in April, but I thought for travel planning purposes it would be to glance ahead to May as vendors and lenders take a critical look at travel & entertainment budgets.

National MI University’s May Webinars: Leading With Style ​​with Andrew Oxley – May 7th at 2pm ET. Income Analysis for Conventional Loans with Marianne Collins – May 9th at 1pm ET.

How to Make Accountability Cool and KPIs Fun Again ​​​​​with Dr. Bruce Lund – May 14th at 2pm ET. Screen Savvy: Mastering Virtual Influence for Lenders with Julie Hansen – May 15th at 2pm ET. Understanding the Personalities of Your Clients and Partners ​​​​​with Rebecca Lorenz – May 16th at 1pm ET. Your Event Playbook to Network and Form Referral Partnerships with Kendra Lee – May 21st at 1pm ET.

Great things are happening around the 2024 Fair Lending Forum, April 29 – May 1 in Charlotte, NC! Asurity is thrilled to announce that Josh Stein, North Carolina Attorney General, will be joining us! He will share his perspectives on fair lending during a fireside chat with our Founder and CEO, Andy Sandler titled The Role of State Attorney Generals in Fair Lending Enforcement. Other prominent speakers are Bob Broeksmit, President and CEO of MBA; Lindsey Johnson, President and CEO of CBA: Grovetta Gardineer, Sr. Deputy Comptroller for Bank Supervision Policy, OCC; Ben Olson, Senior Associate Director for Consumer Protection & Supervision, FRB; Varda Hussain, Principal Deputy Chief for Fair Lending in the Civil Rights Division, Housing and Civil Enforcement Section, DOJ; and Frank Vespa-Papaleo, Principal Deputy Director of Fair Lending, CFPB. Register at

If you’re in Minnesota on May 1st, 10:00am – 12:00pm and a Loan Originator, are you interested in creating and building strong realtor relationships? If so, register and attend the “Mastering the Realtor Referral Relationship” presented by Steven Ross, Author of Doors Open When You Knock.

Join Northern Michigan Luncheon, Tuesday, May 2, 11:30 AM – 1:00 PM at Silver Spruce Brewing Company, to hear from a panel of VA Loan Experts and they dive into the specifics of this loan type, any changes that are coming on VA loans and much more. They’ll also be discussing the pending NAR settlement, and what changes that brings to VA loans, sales, and associated realtor fees.

Don’t miss this opportunity to connect with industry peers, gain valuable insights, and elevate your mortgage business. Attend the MMBBA Annual Conference on Thursday, May 2, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. in Queenstown.

The Maryland Mortgage Bankers and Brokers Association Annual Conference is scheduled for Thursday, May 2, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. in the picturesque setting of Queenstown, MD. Featuring speaker, Edward Seiler, PhD, Executive Director of the Research Institute for Housing America and Associate VP of Housing Economics at the Mortgage Bankers Association. Edward will provide invaluable insights into the housing market and economic trends.

This year’s OMBA Annual Convention will delve deep into the dynamics of the mortgage industry and explore the current market trends. Whether you’re a seasoned professional or just stepping into the mortgage world, this event on Monday, May 6 – Tuesday, May 7 promises valuable insights to navigate the industry’s landscape.

The AEI Housing Center will host five convenings in the week of May 6 in Denver, Colorado; San Francisco, California; Los Angeles, California; Orange County, California; and San Diego, California. These convenings will share insights on using light-touch density (LTD), also known as middle housing, to craft solutions to America’s growing housing supply crisis. Registration is free. Los Angeles is the only location that will offer a livestream.

Register for NALHFA Annual Conference 2024, May 1-4 in Las Vegas. Experience education and connection at NALHFA 2024 with an Affordable Housing Bus Tour, Women in Finance Luncheon & Roundtable, Speaker Sessions, and Networking Opportunities.

Register for the Maryland Mortgage Bankers and Brokers Association Annual Conference, scheduled for Thursday, May 2nd, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. in the picturesque setting of Queenstown. This year’s conference will delve deep into the dynamics of the mortgage industry and explore the current market trends. Whether you’re a seasoned professional or just stepping into the mortgage world, this event promises valuable insights to navigate the industry’s landscape.

In Birmingham, the MBA of Alabama will host its 38th Annual Convention on May 7 & 8.

Registration is open for ACUMA’s FOCALpoint workshops – Join ACUMA in Nashville May 9-10 or Denver June 11-12! Same amazing topics and content in each location – just pick the best city for you! The two-day subject-intensive workshops take deep dives into critical issues affecting the credit union mortgage lending industry. Sign up today! Register here for ACUMA workshops.

The MBA Georgia (MBAG) Conference is coming on May 12-15 at the One Ocean Resort, 1 Ocean Blvd, Atlantic Beach, Florida! For registration visit here.

The Single-Family Housing Guaranteed Loan Program (SFHGLP) Servicing Office in St. Louis, MO announced free, in-person training to lending partners, May 13-17 at the Charles F. Prevedel Federal Building. The training will offer multiple sessions to provide technical training on Loss Claims, Loss Mitigation, and Lender Reporting. USDA will not charge a registration fee. Attendees are responsible for all travel costs. USDA will not be blocking hotel rooms. Attendees may search for hotel accommodations near the training facility located at 9700 Page Ave, St. Louis MO 63132.

Capital Markets

A day after Fed Chair Powell threw cold water on expectations for rate cuts this year by admitting progress against inflation has stalled, Treasury and mortgage security prices rallied yesterday, dropping rates some, aided by excellent demand at a $13 billion 20-year Treasury bond reopening. Remember, even “a dead cat bounces.” There is some chatter out there that Fed Chair Powell’s tonal pivot last year is partly to blame for the lack of recent progress against inflation. Futures are now pricing in a maximum of two 25-basis point rate hikes in 2024, a far cry from the nearly 150-basis points of easing that fed fund futures had anticipated at the beginning of the year.

There was no top-tier data of note yesterday, but the Fed did release its April Beige Book, which noted that the economy has expanded at a slight pace since February. “Price increases were modest, on average,” it said. 10 of the 12 Federal Reserve Districts reported slight or modest growth while two reported no change. Consumer spending edged up slightly, though discretionary spending was pressured in some Districts. Tourism increased modestly but varied widely across the 12 Districts. Residential construction grew a little while nonresidential construction was flat. Employment rose at a slight pace while prices grew modestly, maintaining the pace seen in the last report.

We also learned that single-family home prices increased 7.4 percent from Q1 2023 to Q1 2024, up from the previous quarter’s revised annual growth rate of 6.6 percent, according to Fannie Mae’s latest Home Price Index reading. The national repeat-transaction home price index measures the average, quarterly price change for all single-family properties in the U.S., excluding condos. On a quarterly basis, home prices rose a seasonally adjusted 1.7 percent in Q1 2024, essentially the same as the growth in Q4 2023. On a non-seasonally adjusted basis, home prices also increased by 1.7 percent in Q1 2024.

Today’s economic calendar began with weekly jobless claims (212k, +1k from the prior week, continuing claims 1.812 million, so the labor market continues to do just fine) and Philadelphia Fed manufacturing (15.5, way up!). I did see an interesting report in Bloomberg yesterday that indicated cracks in a U.S. labor market that has been near historic strength for much of the past two years are forming. In five states (CA, CT, NV, NJ, WA), the ratio of jobless people per opening is one or more. Meanwhile Arizona and New York are nearing parity with a rate of 0.9, according to February data from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.

Later today brings March existing home sales and leading indicators, Freddie Mac’s Primary Mortgage Market Survey, and (once again) remarks from multiple Fed speakers. It’s also a busy day for the Treasury, which will both announce month-end supply consisting of $69 billion 2-year, $70 billion 5-year, $44 billion 7-year notes, and $32 billion 2-year FRNs and auction $23 billion 5-year TIPS. After the initial jobless claim’s news, we begin the day with Agency MBS prices marginally worse than Wednesday evening, the 10-year yielding 4.61 after closing yesterday at 4.59 percent, and the 2-year is at 4.95.


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