Utah is one of the nine states rated AAA — the highest rating — of all three major credit rating companies in the country. This means that the state has conservative fiscal and debt management policies currently in effect. The state’s residents pay significantly lower mortgage and mortgage refinance rates as compared to other states in the US because of this.

Mortgage rates, however, still depend on your current credit score and on your chosen mortgage lender. Engage in these four easy steps to lower your monthly mortgage rates and get the best deals out of your investment.

1. Improve your credit score.

As of 2017, the national average of credit scores in Utah is 683. Residents living in the state have generally good credit scores, thus paying lower taxes. A good credit score lets lenders know that you’re a reliable client who pays his bills on time. If your credit score falls lower than the national average, you can still improve it.

As a general rule, don’t close older credit lines after paying them off. If you paid those on time, lenders can still include that in calculating your credit score. You should pay all bills and credit transactions on time. Delayed payment of outstanding credit reflects negatively on your credit report and lowers your score. Lastly, review your current credit report and correct any potential errors. There might be loans left open even though you’ve paid it years ago.

2. Pay a hefty down payment.

down payment

One of the best ways to lower your monthly mortgage rates is to pay a hefty sum as your down payment. Saving up to 20 percent or more of the total cost of your home and paying that upfront guarantee lower mortgage rates. Put down 20 percent or more, and you won’t have to pay extra mortgage insurance. With lower interest rates, you’d save more money by paying less in the long run.

3. Pick a rate that works for you.

You can choose between fixed or adjustable rate mortgages. Adjustable rate mortgages work best in your advantage if you plan to sell your home after a few years of living in it. The interest rate starts lower and only increases after a set amount of years alongside the current market rates in your state. You can pay off the lower mortgage rates within the first few years, and if you plan to sell it off, you won’t have to deal with the rate increase.

Fixed rate mortgages on the other hand start with a higher interest rate, but stay the same no matter the state of the current market rates in your area.

4. Have a record of employment.

Aside from a positive credit score, lenders also take note of your record of employment. A work history of more than two years lets them know that you won’t be a risky client to take in. Your steady source of income lets them know you can pay them back, which may lower your mortgage rate.

Real estate is a smart but costly investment. Buying a new home entails mortgage loans you’ll have to pay off every month. By following the steps above, lenders will likely give you a lower monthly mortgage rate, saving you thousands off your debt.