Is Refinancing Your Mortgage a Good Idea?

Refinancing is worth considering if it lowers your current interest rate by at least 0.5%. Learn more about its benefits & costs here.

Is Refinancing Your Mortgage a Good Idea?

Refinancing your mortgage can be a great way to save money, build equity, and pay off your loan faster. It's best to do this if you can lower your interest rate by at least half to three-quarters of a percentage point and plan to stay in your home for a while. Refinancing can also help you change the terms of your loan, consolidate debt, or access your home equity. It might be a good idea if it saves you money or makes it easier to pay your monthly bills. Some experts say that you should only refinance when you can lower your interest rate, shorten the term of your loan, or both.

But there are other reasons to consider refinancing as well. For example, you may need short-term relief with a lower monthly payment, even if that means starting over with a new 30-year loan. Refinancing could also help you access your home equity or get rid of an FHA loan along with its monthly mortgage insurance premiums. When you refinance, you get a new mortgage to pay off your current mortgage. The process is similar to getting a mortgage to buy a house, but without the stress of buying and moving.

Plus, you usually have until midnight on the third business day after the closing of your loan to cancel the transaction. Be sure to factor in closing costs when evaluating your options. These could include the opening fee, the appraisal fee, the title insurance rate, and the credit report fee. You can generally expect to pay between 2% and 6% of the loan amount in closing costs. When market interest rates fall, refinancing to get a lower interest rate can lower your monthly payment, lower your total interest payments, or both. Most of your monthly payments go to interest at the start of a 30-year loan.

You'll have little home equity for many years unless you can build it up faster by appreciating the home price or paying additional capital. Refinancing a 15-year mortgage helps you build up capital faster, but it can increase your monthly payment. For some people, getting a lower monthly payment is the most important reason to refinance. It may not be an ideal long-term plan to re-commit to 30 years of payments, but it may be essential to keep your home and pay your bills in the short term. If things get better later on, you can pay off your capital faster to save money or even refinance again. Then see the amortization table for that calculation and see what your current total interest will be during the life of the loan. How much will you save in the long term by refinancing? The reason for refinancing is that small changes in monthly payments and interest costs can lead to big savings over time.

However, if you're planning to sell your house in just a year or two, it might not make sense to pay the costs related to refinancing. Refinancing can change your monthly payment and make it higher or lower depending on the terms you choose. If you desperately need a little breathing space in your monthly budget, it might make sense to refinance and pay a lower monthly rate as long as you use the cash you've released to meet your goals. Many lenders offer refinancing with no closing cost which means that your closing costs will be incorporated into the principal amount of your loan. While this may save you money up front, keep in mind that you could end up with a higher monthly payment and a higher interest rate. The process of eliminating a co-signer without refinancing your mortgage can be complex so it might be a good idea to consult an attorney for help. The most immediate benefit of refinancing is that it helps cash-strapped borrowers find space within their monthly budget. This could be advantageous if you expect your cost of living to rise (maybe you are having a baby) or if your income has declined (due to loss of work or decreased working hours).

If your main reason is to lower your monthly payment it makes sense to refinance it with another mortgage of 30. Depending on the interest rate you qualify for this could change your monthly budget only slightly and help you pay off your loan faster. An adjustable rate mortgage (ARM) generally offers borrowers a lower interest rate at the start of the loan. In this case, you'll usually have to wait six months after getting your main mortgage before you can refinance. To get an idea of how a refinance could affect your monthly mortgage payment it's best to use a refinance calculator. If you refinance with cash out you may be charged a higher interest rate on the new mortgage than on a rate-and-term refinance where you don't withdraw money. Everyone's situation is different but there are many financial questions that refinancing can answer.

Interest savings from a shorter loan term can be especially beneficial if you're not going to include the mortgage interest deduction on your tax return. To refinance your mortgage, you'll need to provide identification information, income verification, and credit information.

Mortgage refinancing

is probably worth considering if you can lower your current interest rate by at least 0.5%.

Rosanne Axtell
Rosanne Axtell

An animal lover. Infuriatingly humble pop culture aficionado. Incurable social media advocate. Unapologetic web expert.

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