Meet 4 criteria for best mortgage rates

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Q: We keep hearing everywhere that interest rates are "historically low," but no one I know seems to be able to qualify to get the 4.4 percent we keep hearing and reading about. How do you qualify to get the lowest rates? What do you advise a financially fit person to do to increase her credit score or make herself a more attractive buyer?

A: As I write this, 30-year fixed-rate mortgages are right around 4.44 percent. Last week, the Fed announced that it plans to keep the rates at which it lends money to the banks at nearly zero for the near term, so banks will keep mortgage and other lending rates very low, encouraging consumers to buy homes and make other major purchases.