Is Refinancing My Mortgage a Good Idea?

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Is Refinancing My Mortgage a Good Idea?

The choice to refinance your property is influenced by a number of variables, such as how long you want to stay in it, the current interest rates, and the time it will take to return your closing expenses. Refinancing makes sense in several situations. In other cases, it could not be financially advantageous.

Refinancing would probably be simpler than getting a loan as a first-time buyer since you already own the home. Additionally, refinancing will be simpler if you have owned your home or property for a long time and have accumulated a sizable amount of equity. Refinancing may lengthen the amount of time you will have to pay for your mortgage, which is not the best financial decision if you want to tap into that equity or consolidate debt.

Key Takeaways

  • If you can reduce your interest rate by 1% or more, it would be a good idea to refinance.
  • The length of time you want to live there should allow you to recuperate the expenses of refinancing.
  • One solid incentive to get a new mortgage is to do away with private mortgage insurance (PMI).

The Home Appraisal: Key To A Successful Refinance

Reasons to Refinance

So when does refinancing make sense? The general rule of thumb when deciding whether to refinance your mortgage is that if you can lower your current interest rate by 1% or more, it could be worthwhile due to the money you would save. You may immediately increase the equity in your house by refinancing to a cheaper mortgage rate. If interest rates have fallen enough, it would be feasible to refinance to decrease the loan term—for example, from a 30-year fixed-rate mortgage to a 15-year mortgage—without significantly altering the monthly payment.

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The same goes for switching from a fixed-rate mortgage (FRM) to an adjustable-rate mortgage (ARM), since an ARM’s periodic modifications should result in lower rates and reduced monthly payments. This tactic is less prudent financially in an economy with increasing mortgage rates. In fact, switching to a fixed-rate loan can be a smart move given the ARM modifications that raise your mortgage’s interest rate on a regular basis.

Consider Closing Costs

In each of these cases, closing expenses are a factor. Title insurance, legal expenses, an appraisal, taxes, and transfer fees are just a few of the costs you’ll have to pay. It may take years to recuperate these refinancing expenses, which may range from 3% to 6% of the loan’s principal and are nearly as expensive as the original mortgage payment.

Avoid lender-offered “no-closing-cost” refinancings if you want to lower your monthly payments. Even if there are no closing charges, a bank would probably make up for them by raising your interest rate, which would be the opposite of what you want.

Consider How Long You Plan to Stay in Your Home

You should estimate your monthly savings after the refinancing is complete before determining whether or not to proceed. Consider that you had a $200,000 mortgage loan with a 30-year term. Your interest rate was set at 6.5% when you originally took out the loan, and your payment was $1,257 per month. Your monthly payment might be reduced to $1,130 if interest rates drop to a fixed 5.5% level, saving you $127 per month or $1,524 yearly.

Should you decide to go through with the refinancing, your lender may determine your total closing expenses. If your expenditures total about $2,300, you may use that amount to calculate your break-even point by dividing it by your savings; in this scenario, refinancing would be beneficial after 1.5 years in the house [$2,300$1,524 = 1.5]. Refinancing makes sense if you intend to live in the house for at least two more years.

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The situation changes if you seek to refinance with a decrease of less than 1%, say 0.5%. The same example shows that your monthly payment would drop to $1,194, saving you $63 per month or $756 yearly [$2,300$756 = 3.0], meaning you would have to live in the house for three years. If your closing expenses were more, by $4,000 for example, the time frame would increase to about five and a half years.

You could have to pay PMI if your home’s equity is less than 20%, which would cut into any savings you would otherwise get by refinancing.

Consider Private Mortgage Insurance (PMI)

Many houses are valued for significantly less than they had previously been appraised during times when property values are declining. If this is the situation, and you are thinking about refinancing, the reduced property value may imply that you no longer have enough equity to cover a 20% down payment on the new mortgage.

You may need to carry PMI, which may eventually raise your monthly payment, or you may need to make a greater cash deposit than you had anticipated in order to refinance. It can imply that your actual savings would not amount to much, even with a decline in interest rates.

On the other hand, removing your PMI via a refinancing would save you money and would be worthwhile for that reason alone. You won’t have to pay PMI if your home has 20% or more equity unless you have an FHA mortgage loan or you are a high-risk borrower. You should refinance if you are presently paying PMI, have at least 20% equity, and your existing lender won’t eliminate the PMI.

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