When it’s time to think about your mortgage refinance options, what should you know and how do you make the correct decisions? It’s more than guesswork and you can greatly increase the odds that you’ll refinance (or not) at the right time if you take time to consider some specific points. Start by knowing your current mortgage interest rate. You can find this listed on your loan papers or your lender should be able to tell you. If you have a variable rate mortgage, you won’t have a set interest rate, but that’s also an important piece of information. Next, find out the rate you’ll be offered if you get your mortgage refinanced. A word of caution – don’t simply take a look at the interest rates being offered and assume you’re going to get those rates.
Ask about your specific situation. Lock a lender into a particular rate before you start the process. Many lenders advertise a very low rate, but you may find that you don’t qualify for that rate. Be especially careful if you’re being asked for any fees up front. Compare the rate of your current mortgage with that you’re being offered, but also consider the terms of the loan.
For example, if you have a variable rate loan, you may find the benefits of having a fixed rate mortgage are sufficient to warrant a mortgage refinance, even if the rates you’re paying aren’t that much different from what you’re being offered. Most financial people recommend that you save at least one and a half full points on your interest rate before you consider a mortgage refinance. Why? You’re likely going to be paying closing costs, appraisal fees and other costs associated with the refinance loan. If you’re not saving at least one and a half full points, it will take you several years to save the amount of money you’re spending on the closing. Again, this doesn’t apply if you’re getting significantly better terms that in themselves warrant following through with a new loan. As a final point, consider your future plans. Are you expecting to move in the next few years? Are you looking for a change in job status that could create the need to change your location? Is your family growing and in need of more space? If you aren’t going to stay in your current house at least two more years, a mortgage refinance probably isn’t a good option because of the time it takes to recover the cost of the closing.