The difference between APR and actual note rate is very confusing, especially for First-Time Home Buyers who haven’t been through the entire closing process before.
When shopping for a new mortgage loan, you may notice an Annual Percentage Rate (APR) advertised next to the note rate. The inclusion of an APR is actually mandated by federal law in order to help give borrowers a standard rule of measurement for comparing the total cost of each loan.
The APR is designed to represent the “true cost of a loan” to the borrower, expressed in the form of a yearly rate to prevent lenders from “hiding” fees and up-front costs behind low advertised rates.
According to Wikipedia:
The terms annual percentage of rate (APR) and nominal APR describe the interest rate for a whole year (annualized), rather than just a monthly fee/rate, as applied on a loan, mortgage, credit card, etc. It is a finance charge expressed as an annual rate.
- The nominal APR is the simple-interest rate (for a year).
- The effective APR is the fee+compound interest rate (calculated across a year)
The nominal APR is calculated as: the rate, for a payment period, multiplied by the number of payment periods in a year.
However, the exact legal definition of “effective APR” can vary greatly, depending on the type of fees included, such as participation fees, loan origination fees, monthly service charges, or late fees.
The effective APR has been called the “mathematically-true” interest rate for each year.The computation for the effective APR, as the fee+compound interest rate, can also vary depending on whether the up-front fees, such as origination or participation fees, are added to the entire amount, or treated as a short-term loan due in the first payment.