The majority of mortgage loan applications over the past several years have been for refinancing due to historically low interest rates. People refinance for a variety of reasons including changing from an adjustable-rate to a fixed-rate mortgage, shortening or lengthening the term of the loan, home renovations, getting a loan with better terms and debt consolidation.
While refinancing could make a significant difference in the amount you pay each month, there are other costs you should consider (such as finance charges over the life of the loan). Refinancing a mortgage is similar to when you applied for your loan initially. You must have a relatively good credit score, pay closing costs and fees, and may even have a cursory home inspection.
If you are considering refinancing be sure to do your research. Focus on long-term costs and benefits based on the equity in your home, the terms of the new and existing loans, and the break-even point at which you will recover your costs. Here are a few reasons why refinancing might be right for you:
Lock in lower monthly payments
Interest rates could be lower now than when you first closed. A lower rate could reduce your monthly payment – and help you save over the life of the loan.
Pay off your home sooner
Shorten the number of years left on your loan to clear mortgage debt faster and build equity quicker.
Tap into your home equity
Get up to 80% of your home’s value in cash to cover big costs like paying off high-interest debts or college expenses. Improving your home to boost its value could also be a smart use of cash-out funds.
Change up your loan type
If you originally secured an adjustable-rate mortgage (ARM), you could refinance to a fixed-rate loan to protect yourself from future rate hikes.
Remove private mortgage insurance (PMI)
Homeowners with at least 20% home equity could refinance to remove PMI and lower their monthly payments.
Renovate with a refi
Fix up the home you love and refinance with a renovation loan like HomeStyle or FHA 203(k). Both options let you roll the costs of eligible improvements into one convenient mortgage.