While mortgage rates have dropped to record lows, they have been constantly changing because of the mortgage crisis and the resulting government intervention. Thus, when a would-be home buyer shops for a mortgage, it would be worthwhile to watch the rates closely because they can change every day and in fact, the rates may even change several times during a day. As certain economic reports are made available during the day, the rates may change accordingly.

It would be advisable to contact the bank or broker about the prevailing mortgage rates. One should not be reluctant to inquire about the mortgage rate on a daily basis because the bank or broker is responsible for keeping the consumer informed. In fact, the mortgage rate quoted in the morning may not even be applicable in the afternoon of that same day. Thus, a home buyer can only be sure that a particular interest rate will be applied to his loan once he has locked it in.

Thus, during these times when mortgage rates are volatile, it is advisable to lock your mortgage rate, for a certain price. You may choose to lock the rate for 15 to 30 days, which is the average time needed to close a loan. If the processing of the loan extends beyond this period, you always extend the rate lock for a few more days. 

For those who have a debt-to-income ratio that is near the maximum, a rate lock before the loan is even submitted may be advisable. This will ensure that the required debt-to-income ratio will not be surpassed.

Moe Bedard
My name is Maurice "Moe" Bedard. I am the founder of America's #1 Mortgage Forum, LoanSafe.org. My online work has been featured in the New York Times, LA Times, Fox Business, and many other media publications.