If you’re holding some properties and are thinking of selling some of your portfolio or even if you’re thinking of adding to what you already have, you’ve likely heard how low rates are right now. In fact, we mention it here frequently when it makes news. Lower rates mean more people can afford to buyInterest Rates Really Represent and buy houses they may not have qualified for say just one year ago.

Real estate investors can also benefit from lower rates for a multitude of reasons. But paying too close attention to interest rates can mean lost opportunities. How so?

Don’t get me wrong. Interest rates matter. But paying attention to the rate and not what the rate really represents is a mistake. Take loan officers for instance. They live and breathe interest rates. They subscribe to all sorts of interest rate analysis publications in an attempt to prepare for future rate moves. Loan officers can have a database of clients that could refinance if rates moved just another 0.25% and they get paid on each and every closed loan. They look at rate sheets several times a day and pay lots of money to mortgage bond services that alert them to imminent rate moves.

Consumers can get too involved with interest rate chatter and sometimes they do so at their own peril. Okay, so rates move up another 0.25%. To a lender, that’s a lot, especially if you’re sitting on $10 million in mortgage applications in the pipeline. But what’s the real difference?

Say you prepare to buy a $200,000 single family home, put 25% down and borrow $150,000. Rates suddenly move from 3.75% to 4.00%. Should you scuttle the deal? While 0.25% is a lot in a lender’s eyes, it’s really no more than a $22 bump as the payment on a 30 year loan at 3.75% and 4.00% is $694 and $716 respectively. That’s not a lot of money. You can’t even buy a large pizza for that. But if consumers pay more attention to a rate and not the payment, there is opportunity lost when it doesn’t have to be so.