Record low mortgage rates can be difficult to obtain

Mortgage rates have declined to record lows in recent weeks. However, The Associated Press writes that many consumers are having trouble getting approved for them.

Experts told the news service while average rates are near 4 percent, those rates are just for people with very strong credit scores. One broker says the best rates are reserved for people with sufficient home equity and FICO scores of roughly 720 or higher. That grouping accounts for less than half of Americans.

"It's tough to refinance a loan these days," Mark Goldman, a Southern California mortgage broker, told the AP. "Only the select few can qualify."

In order to maximize their chances, consumers may want to review their credit reports for any unfair marks which could be negatively affecting their credit standing.

The savings from refinancing can be significant. A consumer with a $200,000 loan and a 6 percent interest rate would have monthly payments of roughly $1,200. However, reducing that rate to 4 percent would save them $245 per month.