Is a Refinance right for you?
Is a Refinance Right for You?
When you refinance, you replace your current home loan with a new one. Mortgage refinancing requires you to qualify for the loan, just as you had to meet the lender’s requirements for the original mortgage. You file an application, go through the underwriting process and go to closing, as you did when you initially purchased the home mortgage.
The Mortgage Refinancing Process
First, take care of any issues with your credit so that your credit score is as high as possible and you qualify for the lowest interest rates. Have a rough idea of the rates and other terms you desire in your new loan. Remember: These terms should represent an improvement on the terms of your existing loan.
Next, shop around to find a qualified broker with the best terms. Don’t just choose your current lender; get at least three or four quotes from competitors before inquiring with your current lender about what it is willing to offer.
Don’t open any new credit during the refinancing process; it could hinder the loan. Before signing the new loan, carefully review the new loan terms and all associated fees so that you know what to expect financially when it’s time to make payments.
As you go through this process, keep an eye on the closing costs. Also, watch out for things like prepayment penalties, which can cause problems down the road if you pay off the mortgage early or refinance again.
Reasons to Refinance
- Lowering your monthly payment – when your goal is to pay less every month, you can either refinance into a loan with a lower interest rate or a longer loan term. However, extending the term means that you pay more interest in the long run.
- Paying off the loan faster – you can switch to a mortgage with a shorter term and, as a result, pay less interest over the life of the loan. One downside to this is that your monthly payments will probably go up.
- Getting rid of FHA mortgage insurance – whereas private mortgage insurance (PMI) on conventional home loans can be canceled, you can only get rid of FHA mortgage insurance premiums by selling your home or refinancing when you have accumulated enough equity (equity can be calculated by estimating the value of your home, then subtracting your mortgage balance from that number).
- Cashing out – if you have significant equity in your home, you may be able to cash out a portion of it with a refinance to pay bills, finance a large purchase, or buy out an ex-spouse in a divorce.
- Switching from an adjustable rate to a fixed rate loan – interest rates on adjustable rate mortgages (ARMs) can increase over time, while the ones on fixed rate loans stay the same. If you’re looking for more of a sense of financial stability and would prefer making steady payments on your loan, then you might want to consider refinancing.
- Consolidating debts – if you have multiple loans, it might make sense to consolidate them into a single loan; it’s easier to keep track of payments that way.
Ready to Start?
Let’s get you pre-qualified, ready for a loan, and finally cleared to close.