What is one thing people should know about refinancing?
To help homeowners with refinancing, we asked home builders and finance specialists this question for their best mortgage advice. From surveying the market to keeping your credit score in check, there are several key recommendations to help you refinance your home in the current market and beyond.
Here are seven expert tips for refinancing your home:
- Survey the Market
- Account for Interest in Fees
- Set a Clear Time Goal
- Address the Root Issue
- Keep Credit Score in Check
- Stay Alert on Interest Rates
- Maintain Positive Cash Flow
Survey the Market
With rising real estate values and historically low interest rates, it’s a great opportunity to secure a lower interest loan and perhaps pull out some equity to use for other purposes. The unique combination of factors creating this current environment will not last. The sheer volume of consumers seeking to refinance their homes overwhelmed the lending industry a few months ago, and for a good reason!
— Rod Cullum, Cullum Homes
Account for Interest in Fees
Given the historically low interest rates, refinancing may look appealing. However, it’s important to run the math to figure out if refinancing makes sense for you or if you’d be better off making extra mortgage payments each year to pay off your balance further. That’s because you have closing costs, including title fees, inspection fees, origination fees, buying points to lower the interest, etc. Yes, you can roll over these fees into your total mortgage balance when refinancing, but then you’re paying interest on those fees, so the math has to make sense.
A few things to consider — how much time do you have left on your mortgage loan, what is your current interest rate vs. new rate, how much would you save, what is the estimated out of pocket cost, and how long would it take you to recoup these costs based on monthly mortgage payment savings?
— Andrea Woroch, Consumer Savings & Finance Expert
Set a Clear Time Goal
Your financial priorities will govern what loan terms are best for you. When refinancing with a debt consolidation loan, you will need to pick one of two financial priorities: I want to save money and pay less on my loan in the long term, or I want a lower monthly payment in the short term.
To save money and pay less for your loan long-term, look for a debt consolidation loan with a lower interest rate, shorter repayment term, and higher monthly payment that will help you pay off the loan faster. Lower interest rates and higher monthly payments ensure more of your money goes toward paying down the principal balance.
For a lower monthly payment, find a loan with a lower interest rate and a longer repayment term that can significantly lower your monthly payment amount. In this instance, you may not save as much money on the debt, but the loan terms can make it easier for you to manage right now. This frees up cash flow for your other financial obligations.
— Anna Caldwell, Beyond Finance
Address the Root Issue
Refinancing is definitely a good option for people who are trying to bring their debt under control. This is because taking advantage of the lower interest rate that comes with refinancing can save you thousands of dollars in repayments over the term of your loan. At the same time, it’s not going to be the ultimate solution to your debt woes, especially if you carry high-interest debt that you’re struggling to pay off.
Instead, it’s important to consider how you got to that point and what you can do to avoid doing the same in the future. Perhaps you’re spending beyond your means, or maybe you just let your credit card use get a bit out of hand. Whatever it is, while refinancing may be a good solution in the short term, it’s just as important to address the root causes as well.
— Anna Barker, LogicalDollar
Keep Credit Score in Check
Mortgage rates can go up or down depending on how much existing debt you have. It’s important to make sure that your credit history is in good standing. If you have a lower credit score from when you first bought real estate property, the rates might be significantly higher.
— Jacob Dayan, Community Tax
Stay Alert on Interest Rates
One thing people should know about refinancing is that it comes with lending costs, which reduce your savings from refinancing. Sometimes, these costs can be so high that the actual savings are negligible. The change of interest rate, and the size of the loan are the main determinants of the lending costs you will have to pay when you do decide to refinance your debt.
— Carol Tompkins, AccountsPortal
Maintain Positive Cash Flow
Refinancing doesn’t change the principal amount to pay off. It only restructures the distribution of the payments over time. Because of that, it is a solution that can be comfortable but doesn’t remove the necessity of sustaining positive cash flow.
— Michael Sena, Senacea