Factors to Consider Prior to Getting a Loan

Taking out a loan is not something that you do on a whim. There are a lot of factors to consider before putting yourself in an irreversible situation. You have to remember that once you put your signature on that contract, or at least after the usual 3 day grace period, there is no turning back. The consequences of not being able to pay your debt are grave and could affect your way of living.

The most common types of loans are the "Secured" and "Unsecured" loans. A secured loan is usually taken out against collateral. The process of acquiring this kind of loan is much quicker especially for those who have bad credit history and low credit rating. Since there is already a tangible asset that can be defaulted to if the loan remains unpaid, finance institutions give much lower interest rates for secured loans.

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There is, however, the risk of losing your property if you fail to pay. An unsecured loan on the other hand is usually given to people who have good credit history as well as high credit scores. Because of this, a lot of people often opt for secured loans.

When you have chosen what kind of loan you wish to avail, it is time to consider the important details about the loan.

Interest Rate: Even if this is one of the most important details governing our decisions, you should not be blinded by faulty advertising. A lower interest rate means that you will be paying for longer, and thus, not really saving a lot of money in the long run. If the interest rate is reasonable compared to the loan term, then go ahead and sign those papers.

Loan Term: A lot of loans have fixed terms, usually 15, 20, 25 or at most 30 years. Some lenders will enable you to change the term, if they think you can pay the whole debt off within half the time. However, most lenders will not let you do this even if you are capable. Ask your bank if they offer opportunities to pay them back earlier or later, and how the change will affect your interest rate as well as monthly payments.

Hidden Charges: You might want to take a look at the fine print before signing. There might be charges you are not aware of, especially for home equity mortgages. Ask about the late payment fees, penalties and other finance charges, and see if they are fair.

Floating or Fixed Rates: If you availed of a fixed rate loan, then you know exactly how much you will be paying every month. Chances are your parents had a fixed rate loan on their first mortgage, because it was the only one available to them during their time. However, with the growing need for versatility, floating rates were invented.

This is also called an adjustable or flexible loan in some cases, as the interest rates vary annually or quarterly, depending on the terms of the loan. Depending on the economy, you could be paying lower than most people this year, or more if the market is suffering.

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