Wednesday, December 20, 2006

All About Mortgage Refinancing

Refinancing your home is essentially a second mortgage, and is often referred to as such.
People refinance their homes and take out second mortgages for many reasons: a lower interest rate on their home, large medical bills that need to be paid off, credit card balances, student loans and other high-interest debt. Refinancing can save hundreds of dollars a month that can be put towards other, pressing expenses.

Before refinancing, it's imperative that you shop around for the best deal possible. Research the market and find out what percentage the most current interest rates are at. If they are higher than or similar to your existing interest rate, wait until the market lowers to refinance. According to most mortgage experts, the best time to refinance is when the market percentage is at least 2 or 3% below the current interest rate on your home.
To put it into perspective, let's take an individual who has a 7% interest rate on their current mortgage, which is at $400, 000, payable over a term of twenty years; they are paying $3101 per month. Then the market drops to 3% and they refinance. They save $800 a month, and their total becomes only $2218 per month. The payment would be even lower ($1,686) if they extended the second mortgage to thirty years. From this example, you can see that refinancing your home can be an excellent way to save money and take a lot of stress off your pocketbook.
A couple of the most common rate options for refinancing your home are the fixed rate refinance loan and the adjustable rate mortgage loan. If you're looking for a steady, slower fixed rate, consider a fixed rate loan. A fixed interest rate is ideal if you plan on being a long-term homeowner. This loan is typically spread out over a period of fifteen to thirty years and comes with a fixed interest rate that never changes, making it ideal for a family or individual who plans on long term habitation.
However, if you plan on selling your home within five years or so, you may be best off choosing an adjustable rate mortgage. This entails paying off your house quicker, as well as higher house payments, but it also saves you more money in the long run because you're paying less interest than you would on a ten or twenty year loan. Keep in mind, though, that an adjustable interest rate does rise and fall with the market, so it entails somewhat more risk than a fixed rate loan. To this end, make sure you talk to your lender in depth about this option and the market trend in the next couple of years.
If you decide to refinance your home, use common sense and do your research. There are many good rates and many good lenders, so take the time and find the one that best suits your needs. A great place to look for lenders and compare rates is the internet; there are a number of helpful sites with tools like mortgage rate calculators to help you get an idea of your options. Most online lenders also offer a free consultation, so don't hesitate to get a bunch of numbers and call.



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