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What is APR?

APR, or annual percentage rate, is a measure of the cost of borrowing money expressed as a percentage. When it comes to home buying, APR is a critical metric that helps buyers understand the total cost of their mortgage, including the interest rate and other fees.

In simple terms, APR is the total amount of interest and fees charged by a lender over the life of a loan, expressed as a percentage of the loan amount. It is a crucial metric because it provides a more comprehensive view of the cost of borrowing money than just the interest rate.

The APR includes several costs associated with obtaining a mortgage. Some of the most significant components of APR for home buyers include:

  1. Interest rate: The interest rate is the percentage of the loan amount charged by the lender for borrowing money. It is the most significant factor contributing to the APR and can vary depending on the loan type and term.

  2. Discount points: Discount points are upfront fees paid by the borrower to lower the interest rate on their mortgage. Each point is equal to one percent of the loan amount, and the more points paid, the lower the interest rate. Discount points can help borrowers save money over the life of their loan, but they also increase the upfront costs of obtaining a mortgage.

  3. Origination fees: Origination fees are charged by the lender to process a mortgage application. They typically include administrative costs and are expressed as a percentage of the loan amount. Origination fees can vary depending on the lender and the loan type.

  4. Closing costs: Closing costs are fees paid by the borrower to complete a mortgage transaction. They include appraisal fees, title insurance, and other expenses associated with closing the loan. Closing costs can vary depending on the location and the lender.

  5. Mortgage insurance: Mortgage insurance is a type of insurance that protects the lender in case the borrower defaults on their loan. It is typically required for borrowers who put down less than 20% of the purchase price of the home. Mortgage insurance can be a significant expense, and it is included in the APR.

When evaluating different mortgage options, it's essential to consider the APR, as it provides a more complete picture of the costs associated with borrowing money. A lower interest rate may seem attractive, but if the loan includes higher origination fees, discount points, or closing costs, the APR may be higher.

In summary, APR is an essential metric for home buyers because it provides a comprehensive view of the cost of borrowing money. It includes the interest rate and other fees associated with obtaining a mortgage, such as origination fees, discount points, closing costs, and mortgage insurance. By understanding the components of APR, home buyers can make more informed decisions when evaluating different mortgage options.


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