Monday, May 10, 2010

When to Refinance Your Home Mortgage

For many people, the ability to refinance your home may reduce monthly expenses and actually improve credit all at once. Contrary to what you might think, refinancing is still a viable option for many homeowners. Determine if it's a good idea to refinance your home with this quick quiz:

Should You Consider Mortgage Home Refinance?

  1. Are the current mortgage interest rates at least 1 point less than your existing mortgage interest? If so, refinancing your home mortgage might make sense. If interest rates are lower now by 2 points or more than when you bought your home, you should definitely look into refinancing.
  2. Do you currently have an adjustable rate mortgage, negative amortization or interest only loan that is due to reset or which isn't building equity? If so, today's historically low mortgage interest rates make it a great time to refinance a home loan and lock in low rates on a standard mortgage refinance loan with a fixed interest rate.
  3. Do you have at least 20 percent or more equity in your home? If so, you might benefit from refinancing by reducing or eliminating the Private Mortgage Insurance (PMI) that you are paying each month. PMI is a type of insurance that is required in many loans where the buyer didn't make a down payment. of 20% or more. In exchange for less money down, PMI provides additional insurance to lenders in the event of a default. But if you now owe 80% or less on your mortgage, you may be able to drop the PMI and that can reduce monthly payments by $70 to $150 or more.
  1. Is your debt to income ratio nearing the maximum? If you refinance your home, you may actually improve your credit score by freeing up additional income and lowering the minimum monthly payment amounts of your basic bills. By keeping a solid credit score and low debt to income ratio, you will often qualify for lower interest rates on everything from credit cards to insurance… making this a strong strategic move toward lowering all of your bills at one time.
  2. Do you need to pay for a large one-time out of pocket expense like major medical bills or college tuition? If so, it is often more affordable to take out money when you refinance your home rather than securing additional loans. Just keep in mind, you could be refinancing for up to 30 years so the total cost may be substantially more in the long run. Take time to calculate the cost versus savings for yourself before making a final decision.If you answered "yes" to any of the above questions then you might benefit from speaking to a mortgage broker or lender to refinance your home. It could easily save hundreds of dollars per month. Be sure to consider the refinance closing costs and any other refinance fees in your decision. If refinance costs are nearly equal to what you would save by refinancing, then it may not be worth the trouble.


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