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Q&A: How can I find the best loan interest rate?

Q: How do I find the best loan interest rate?

A: All of the major lenders are now offering similarly great rates, although they jumped up quite recently. But to get the best information, you'll need to call several different types of lenders in your area, as well as searching online.

Call your real estate agent and ask for some referrals to great mortgage brokers. Talk to at least four or five different types of lenders, including a credit union (if you belong to one or can join one), a big box lender and a small local bank, and then compare loans, costs, fees and interest rates.

If you're searching the Internet for rates on home mortgages, you can take a look at the big box lender sites, along with aggregators or mortgage portals like BankRate.com or Zillow.com or QuickenLoans.com. These sites can be a guide for you, but remember that the rates on these sites might be stale by the time you call a local lender, mortgage broker or credit union, or you may not qualify for the best loan programs.

Finally, watch out for lenders that advertise mortgage interest rates that seem way below rates quoted elsewhere; it's possible that their rates are that low because you pay tons of other fees to get the loan. In effect, you get the lower rate, but you're paying up front for the privilege of getting that low rate. Make sure you shop, compare and become knowledgeable about the mortgage process.

Homeowners interested in refinancing need to understand that interest rates on home loans can fluctuate from day to day, and even several times in a day. On a recent Wednesday, the bond market experienced a massive selloff and mortgage interest rates jumped more than a quarter of a percent in a single day.

In general, if you have a great credit history and a high credit score, you'll get a lower interest rate than if your credit history and credit score are worse. When I quote an interest rate, it's generally the interest rate for those with the best credit history, sufficient cash and income, and a property with at least 20 percent in equity.

Ilyce R. Glink's latest book is "Buy, Close, Move In!" Distributed by Tribune Media Services

Need some advice? E-mail your question to realestate@newsday.com

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