ATLANTA — People looking to buy a house are bracing for another interest rate hike this week as the Fed is considering increasing rates for the third time this year. This continues to put homeownership out of reach for many people with prices already high and inventory low.
However, there's a tip that could save people thousands.
Maria Czarnecki, a real estate agent with Solid Source Realty, is capitalizing on the opportunity.
"It's inside the perimeter, great location, close to everything," she said of a home she has on the market.
But now that rates are likely to rise again, she's starting to advertise a hidden feature of the home.
"A lot of buyers agents have contacted me about the assumable mortgage on this house and they aren't familiar with it, or they don't know how to handle it," she said.
The house has what's called an assumable mortgage meaning whoever buys it can take over the existing mortgage with the interest rate already locked in place.
"I think this is really going to be more and more popular. If someone has an FHA loan or a VA loan, it is assumable and people should be putting it out there for people who want to buy that property," said Lou Sarris, the Vice President of Northpoint Mortgage.
He explained the seller has to have a government-secured loan – that includes Federal Housing Administration Loans or VA loans for those who have served in the military.
But the borrower can pass that on to any buyer.
"People have the ability to assume a sub 3% mortgage interest rate, this house being a 2.25%. Amazing," Sarris said.
Assumable mortgages have been around for decades, but interest rates have been so low for the past 30 years, buyers haven't heard much about them. Now as buyers struggle with rising rates, Czarnecki thinks it's time for a comeback.
"When mortgage rates were 10%, 11%, 12% in the '80s, assumable mortgage rates were really popular. And then rates came down so much and stabilized and you didn’t hear anything about it. But there are a lot of people who have renewed interest which is smart," she said.
So how would a buyer know if the house they're looking at has an assumable mortgage?
Some sellers might advertise it when they put their homes on the market. Also, real estate agents should be able to specifically search for homes in the area that offer it.