Most Americans Can’t Properly Define Mortgage Rate, Other Real Estate Terms

By Kelly Leighton | Aug. 30, 2022 | 2 min. read

Most Americans struggle to define the most common homebuying terms.

MoneyWise recently surveyed more than 1,000 adults, and 56% failed the homebuying term quiz. More than three-quarters of Generation Z failed the quiz, as did 58% of millennials. There wasn’t a single term that more than half of Generation Z could define correctly. Overall, while 62% of Americans couldn’t define mortgage rate, another 50% couldn’t define interest and 48% couldn’t define offer. Nearly half (48%) couldn’t define down payment, while 46% couldn’t define appreciation and 42% couldn’t define mortgage.

Where are most people getting their real estate information? According to results, 61% said friends and family, while 58% rely on real estate experts and 47% turn to the internet. Baby boomers were the most likely to turn to an agent, followed by millennials.

There was also a divide between non-homeowners and homeowners on opinions. For homeowners, they saved around $66,400 before making a down payment, while non-owners plan to have about $39,400 saved. The majority of homeowners (78%) put down more than 20% as a down payment, while only 19% of non-homeowners plan to do the same. Most non-owners (60%) plan to put down between 6% and 19%.

For those who have bought already, home loans caused regrets for some. The biggest regret was an adjustable mortgage, said 78%, while 71% regretted a government-insured loan and 70% wish they had not taken a jumbo loan. Most (71%) reported regretting having a 15-year loan, while 27% of those with a 30-year loan regretted it. The majority of homeowners (55%) said they rushed their homebuying process because of perceived market pressure, with that number rising to nearly 70% for those who purchased from 2019 to now.

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