Sub-prime mortgages don�t mean you have to pay excessively high interest rates to buy a home. By taking time to do some research and pick the right terms, you can save thousands on your mortgage. The following five tips will help you get low rates with the right subprime lender.

Compare Lenders

The number one way to lower your interest rates on your sub-prime mortgage is to compare lenders before you apply. It sounds so simple, but too many homebuyers skip this step, costing them thousands.

Plan on taking at least a day to explore your options. The easiest way to look at financing packages is to request quotes online. While you are requesting quotes, take a look at conventional lenders as well. They often offer good rates and terms for those with adverse credit histories.

Pick An ARM

Adjustable rate mortgages (ARM) offer lower rates and are easier to qualify for than fixed rate mortgages. The drawback is that ARM rates can increase over the years. But if you are planning to move soon or just want to buy a home, then an ARM probably is your best choice.

You can also convert your ARM when your credit score improves. As property prices increase and your equity builds, you will also be able to get better terms in the future.

Increase Your Down Payment

By increasing your down payment, you can knock off up to a percentage point. Zero or little down financing is great for those short on cash, but rates are significantly higher. Ideally, you want to put down 25% to get the best rates. Just leave enough cash reserves to financing moving expenses.

Pay A Point Or Two

Points paid upfront can also lower your interest rate. You want to be sure though that you recoup the upfront costs. If you plan to move or refinance in a couple of years, you will not see the savings of lower rates.

You may also find that your money would be better spent on increasing your down payment than on paying points. With this type of decision, you will want to do some math with a mortgage calculator.

Bulk Up Cash Reserves

By increasing your cash reserves, you can also improve your credit score to qualify you for lower rates. Take advantage of tax refunds or cash bonuses by putting them into your savings. Lenders look at saving accounts, money markets, and CDs as cash reserves, not stocks or other volatile assets.

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