Many of my clients are looking at the pros and cons of refinancing their current home loans due to rate and program changes in the past several years. There is potential to lower their rate or payment on their current mortgage. In the long run, refinancing can be very beneficial. There are many reasons why people will consider a refinance, so I will break it down into the top 4 reasons that I have had experience with.
Changing from an Adjustable Rate to a Fixed Rate Mortgage: Some homebuyers initially go for a low rate adjustable rate mortgage (ARM). This program allows for a fixed set interest rate for a period of time, typically 3, 5 or 7 years and when that time is up the mortgage will re-adjust based on the terms set forth in the initial note. The fixed interest rate allows buyers to refinance and lock in a similar monthly payment for the life of the loan.
Interest Rate or Monthly Payment: The most common reason to refinance is to lower your interest rate or drop mortgage insurance and in turn lower your monthly payment. For example, if you are five years into an existing 30-year mortgage and refinance for a brand new 30-year fixed loan, you are able to re-set the time clock back to 30 years. This extends the amount of time you have to pay off your loan and will possibly lower your monthly payments. If you have sufficient equity in your home you may also be able to refinance out of your current loan program that may have mortgage insurance.
Shorter Term to Amortize the Loan Faster: Some homeowners use the lower interest rates to pay down their mortgages faster. A basic example would be a homeowner with 20-25 years left to pay on a 30-year mortgage. By refinancing, they can move to a 15-year fixed rate or 20 year with usually only a modest change in their monthly payment. This would allow the homeowner to pay off their loan in a shorter time frame and lower the amount of interest they will pay overall.
Equity: Homeowners may want to use the equity that they have accumulated based on improving home values and do a cash out refinance. This money can be used for many things, from paying off other debt to doing home improvements.
Take some time and talk to a mortgage professional to figure out the best option for you. Some things you should think about are:
– Credit score (at least 620 or higher)
– Steady income for at least the past 6 months to 2 years
– Amount of equity in your home (at least 20% preferably)
– Will this make significant change?
– How long do you plan on staying in the home?
Each homeowner has their own special situation and should take the time to weigh the pros and cons of a refinance. Your mortgage professional is there to help you through this decision. For questions or suggestion please feel free to email me at Ingrid.Quinn@cobaltmortgage.com or visit me at http://www.scottsdalemortgageexpert.com or http://www.cobaltmortgage.com/ingridquinn