Helpful Tips

What Is APR?

November 17, 2009 by · Leave a Comment 

APR is an acronym for Annual Percentage Rate.  It’s a government-mandated calculation meant to simplify the comparison of mortgage options.

A loan’s APR can always be found in the top-left corner of the Federal Truth-In-Lending Disclosure.

Because APR is expressed as a percentage, many people confuse it for the loan’s interest rate.  It’s not.  APR represents the total cost of borrowing over the life of a loan.  “Interest rate” is the basis for monthly mortgage repayments.

The main advantage of APR is that it allows an “apples-to-apples” comparison between loan products. 

As an example, a 5.000 percent mortgage with origination points and fees will almost certainly have a higher APR than a 5.500 percent mortgage with zero fees.  In this sense, APR can help a borrower determine which loan is least costly long-term.

However, APR is not without its shortcomings.

First, different banks includes different fees into their APR calculations.  By definition, this spoils APR as a choose-between-lenders, apples-to-apples comparison method.

And, second, when calculating APR, “life of the loan” is assumed to be full-term.  When a 30-year mortgage pays off in 7 years or fewer – as most of them do – APR comparisons are rendered moot.

In other words, APR is just one metric to compare mortgages – it’s not the only metric.  The best way to compare your mortgage options is to review all the loan terms together and determine which is most suitable.

Need more expert advice? Ask the team of Certified Mortgage Planning Specialists at Benchmark Mortgage.

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James K Barath, CMPS®

James K Barath is a Certified Mortgage Planning Specialist®, Certified FICO® Professional, Certified Military Housing Specialist® and your FHA Home Loan Expert. He is also a graduate of Purdue University, The CMPS Institute, Dale Carnegie Human Relations Course & Napoleon Hill Foundation's PMA Science of Success Class. It's your home and your future. It's his profession and his passion. He is ready to work for your best interest. Contact James for your FREE Home Loan Approval !  His Motto: I Facilitate the American Dream Through Responsible Mortgage Lending and Financial Literacy!

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