Why Do Refinance?
There are many great reasons to refinance. With lower cost, adjustable rate, and 0-down options, traditional loan programs like 30-year or 15-year fixed rate mortgages don’t always allow us to meet our financial goals. Today, even reducing your mortgage interest rate a little can save you big over the life of your home loan. Take a look below at great reasons to refinance.
Lower Your Monthly Payment
If you plan to live in your home for a few years, it may make sense to pay a point or two to decrease your interest rate and overall payment. Over the long run, you will have paid for the cost of the mortgage refinance with the monthly savings. On the other hand, if you plan on moving in the near future, you may not be in your home long enough to recover the refinancing costs. Calculating the break-even point before you decide to refinance can help determine whether it makes sense.
Switch From an Adjustable Rate to a Fixed Rate Mortgage
Adjustable rate mortgages (ARMs) can provide lower initial monthly payments for those who are willing to risk upward market adjustments. They’re also ideal if you don’t plan to own your property for more than a few years. However, if you have made your house a permanent home, you may want to swap your adjustable rate for a 15-, 20- or 30-year fixed rate mortgage. Your interest may be higher than with an ARM, but you have the confidence of knowing what your payment will be every month for the rest of your loan term.
Escape Balloon Payment Programs
Like adjustable rate mortgage programs, balloon programs are great when you want lower rates and lower initial monthly payments. However, if you still own the property at the end of the fixed rate term (usually 5 or 7 years), the entire balance of your mortgage is due to the lender. If you are in a balloon program, you can easily switch over into a new adjustable rate mortgage or fixed rate mortgage.
Remove Private Mortgage Insurance (PMI)
Zero or Low down payment options allow homeowners to purchase homes with less than 20% down. Unfortunately, they also usually require private mortgage insurance, which is designed to protect the lender from loan default. As the value of your home increases and the balance on your home decreases, you may be eligible to remove your PMI with a mortgage refinance loan.
Cash In on Your Home’s Equity
Your home is a great resource for extra cash. Like most homes, yours has probably increased in value, and that gives you the ability to take some of that cash and put it to good use. Pay off credit cards, make home improvements, pay tuition, replace your current car, or even take a long-overdue vacation. With a cash-out mortgage refinance transaction, it’s easy. And it’s even tax deductible.
How to Avoid Refinance Mistakes
Whenever interest rates drop, a refinancing frenzy naturally follows. Whether you’re looking to trim your mortgage payments, eliminate credit-card debt or pay off your car loan, experts say you should fully understand all of the options available to you before deciding to refinance.
Credit counseling educate consumers on the realities behind new home loans.
Not saving enough to justify refinancing. It’s best to decrease your rate by at least .75 percent to 1 percent. This will save you about $100 a month on a $150,000 mortgage.
Not knowing your closing costs up front. By law, closing costs must be disclosed within three days of the loan application. However, there are different approaches to calculating them. Until the details of your loan are clear, the closing costs quoted to you are only estimates. Plan for the worst-case scenario.
Not fully understanding your reasons for refinancing. Besides reducing your interest rate, there are other legitimate reasons to refinance, such as debt consolidation, home improvements or major purchases. In some cases, you may be able to deduct your interest payments on your tax return. Always consult an accountant or tax attorney before making these types of decisions.
Not being aware of APR "teaser rates." Some mortgage brokers use annual percentage rates to get your attention, but it may actually end up costing you more. APRs often are derived by using a 30-year mortgage coupled with an accelerated payment plan. Make sure you know the actual interest rate you will be paying throughout the life of the loan.
Not weighing the pros and cons of adjustable rate mortgages. ARMs can minimize your monthly payment, but not if additional refinancing occurs. In this case, they can cost more in the long run.
Not being aware of the service you should expect from a mortgage broker. The process of refinancing should be hassle-free and accomplished quickly. Ask your mortgage broker to provide details of its service plan and performance guarantees.
Not knowing to ask the mortgage broker about all available loan products, terms and rates. Subtle differences can save or cost you thousands of dollars.