Would Refinancing Be Worth It?
Refinancing can be worth while, but it does not make good financial sense for everyone. A general rule is that refinancing becomes worth your while if the current interest rate on your mortgage is at least two percentage points higher than the prevailing market rate. this figure is generally accepted as the safe margin when balancing the costs of refinancing a mortgage against the savings.
There are other considerations, too, such as how long you plan to stay in the house. Most sources say that it takes at least three years to realize fully the savings from a lower interest rate, given the costs of the refinancing. (Depending on your loan amount and the particular circumstances, however, you might choose to refinance a loan that is only 1.5 percentage points higher then the current rate. You may even find you could recoup the refinancing costs in a shorter time.)Refinancing can be a good idea for homeowners who:
- Want to get out of a high interest rate loan to take advantage of lower rates. This is a good idea only if you intend to stay in the house long enough to make the additional fees worthwhile.
- Have an adjustable rate mortgage (ARM) and want a fixed rate loan to have the certainty of knowing exactly what the mortgage payment will be for the life of the loan.
- Want to convert to an ARM with a lower interest rate or more protective features (such as a better rate and payment caps) than the ARM they currently have.
- Want to build up equity more quickly by converting to a loan with a shorter term.
- Want to draw on the equity built up in their house to get cash for a major purchase or for their children's education.
If you decide that a refinancing is not worth the costs, ask your lender whether
you may be able to obtain all or some of the new terms you want by agreeing to a modification of your existing loan instead of a refinancing.
Should You Refinance Your ARM?In deciding whether to refinance an ARM you should consider these questions:
- Is the next interest rate adjustment on your existing loan likely to increase your monthly payments substantially? Will the new interest rate be two or three percentage points higher than the prevailing rates being offered for either fixed rate loans or other ARMs?
- If the current mortgage sets a cap on your monthly payments, are those payments large enough to pay off your loan by the end of the original term? Will refinancing a new ARM or a fixed rate enable you to pay your loan in full by the end of the term?
What Are The Costs of Refinancing?
The fees described below are the charges that you most likely to encounter in a refinancing.
This charge imposed by your lender covers the initial costs of processing you loan request and checking your credit report.
Title Search and Title Insurance
This charge will cover the cost of examining the public record to confirm ownership of the real estate. It also covers the cost of a policy, usually issued by a title insurance company, that insures the policy holder in a specific amount for any loss caused by discrepancies in the title to the property.
Be sure to ask the company carrying the present policy if it can re-issue your policy at a re-issue rate. You could save up to 70 percent of what it would cost you for a new policy.
Because costs may vary significantly from area to area and from lender to lender, the following are estimates only. Your actual closing costs may be higher or lower than the ranges indicated below.