20 Questions To Ask Before You Pick A Loan

By: Chris Navi

Find out what you need to know about payments, interest rates and more.

Rate, term and payment

The most fundamental questions about any loan concern how long you'll have to repay the amount you borrowed, how much interest you'll be charged and whether the interest rate and payments are fixed for the entire term or subject to periodic adjustments as market interest rates fluctuate.

Here are four questions to ask:

* 1. What is the term of this loan?
* 2. What is the initial interest rate?
* 3. Is that rate fixed or adjustable?
* 4. How much would my initial monthly payments be?

If the interest rate on the loan is adjustable, your monthly payment likely will change in the future and could be much higher than your initial payment.

Here are some questions to ask on this topic:

* 5. When can the interest rate be adjusted?
* 6. How will the interest rate be calculated?
* 7. What is the maximum interest rate increase for each adjustment period?
* 8. What is the maximum interest rate increase over the lifetime of the loan?
* 9. How much would my payment be today if the interest rate were calculated as it will be at the first adjustment period?
* 10. How much would my payment be at the maximum interest rate?
* 11. Could the amount I owe increase over time?

Costs and fees

Along with the interest rate and payment, you'll want to consider the upfront and ongoing fees and costs you'll be charged in connection with the loan.

Here are some questions to ask regarding costs and fees:

* 12. Can I see a Good Faith Estimate (GFE) for this loan?
* 13. Which of the costs on the GFE might change and by how much?
* 14. Are there any other costs that aren't on the GFE?
* 15. Does this loan have a prepayment penalty?
* 16. Would this loan require an escrow account for homeowner's insurance and property taxes?
* 17. Would I need to pay for mortgage insurance on this loan?

Needs and qualifications

Not all loan products are available to all borrowers, so you'll want to explore your options before you decide which loan would be right for you.

Here are three questions that may help:

* 18. What are the qualifications for this loan?
* 19. Why would you recommend this loan for my needs?
* 20. Which other loans might also meet my needs?

These 20 questions can help determine if a loan is right for you. Don't be afraid to ask your lender these and any other questions you may have. The more you know, the better equipped you'll be to choose your loan.

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