5 Important Reasons Why You Should Pay Off Your Mortgage Sooner Than Later

Pay Off Mortgage EarlyPaying off a mortgage loan takes a very long time, especially if it’s a 30 year or longer loan, so you might want to pay it off earlier than that. While paying off a mortgage sooner than its term has its disadvantages, like being left without savings or not being able to invest the money instead, it can also be very beneficial for most borrowers. The peace of mind and savings in interest that paying off your loan sooner bring can far outweigh the negatives (Read: Should You Pay for You Home In Cash Upfront?).

A mortgage payment is most people’s highest monthly bill, so getting rid of it will free up a significant amount of money each month. That money can make your life a lot easier. You can afford to pay off other debt, take out another loan, or use it to live better. Unfortunately, in order to pay off a mortgage earlier, you will have to come up with a large sum of money if you want to pay everything all at once, or more money each month if you decide to pay it off by making extra mortgage payments. Unless you have significant savings, inherit a large sum of money, or receive a pay increase from work, you are facing some difficult financial times until the debt is paid.

Ways to Pay Off Your Mortgage Early

There are several ways in which you can take care of a mortgage loan earlier than its term. Some methods are quicker than others, or require a larger sacrifice, but all of them will help you get rid of your mortgage quicker than the loan’s original term. Here are the most popular ways of paying off your mortgage early.

  • Pay more each month or make extra payments. You can add an extra amount to each monthly payment each month in order to pay off the loan early. Alternatively, you can choose to make a mortgage payment every two weeks instead of each month, which will result in 26 mortgage payments made each year, instead of only 12.
  • Pay a large part or your entire mortgage at once. You can use money from your savings, investments, bonuses or an inheritance to pay off a portion of your mortgage or even all of it.
  • Refinance into a shorter term. Refinancing your mortgage loan into a loan with a shorter term will make your monthly payments larger, but, if you can afford it, it will help you save significantly in interest (Read: Things to Remember Before Refinancing a Mortgage).

Reasons Why Paying off a Mortgage Sooner is Beneficial

Depending on several factors, paying off your mortgage sooner than later can be to your advantage (read more here). Generally, the benefits outweigh the downsides, but taking this step is not something that many home owners can afford to do. Unless your interest rate is really low, you should do your best to try and pay off your mortgage loan early. Here are some of the reasons why this is a good choice.

  1. Peace of mind. Like most people, you probably have a lot on your mind. Taking care of your largest monthly bill will surely relieve a significant amount of stress, and make your life and your family’s life much easier. Truly owning a home is a great feeling, and you shouldn’t wait until you are old to experience it (Read: Are You a Twenty-Something Wanting to Buy a Home? Here’s What to Know). Not having to pay a mortgage anymore also means that you have other possibilities of investing and you are more in charge of your financial life.
  2. Savings in interest. With a 30-year mortgage loan you pay almost as much on interest as you do on the principal. Paying the principal early means that you will save tens of thousands in interest. Making just an extra mortgage payment per year can save you thousands of dollars.
  3. Improve your credit score. As long as you have a large debt, you are considered a large risk, and your credit score will reflect that. Once you get rid of your mortgage, your credit score improves, and you will be able to qualify for more credit. You can get new loans, for buying a car or even a new home, because your cash flow will be larger (Read: Top 10 Components for Maintaining a Good Credit Score).
  4. Avoid the risk of losing the home. Investing money while you still have a mortgage is riskier because, if something goes wrong with your investments, you risk losing your home as well. Also, losing a job or having large medical bills will increase the risk of losing your home. If your mortgage is paid off, the home is yours and you don’t risk losing it to foreclosure anymore.
  5. Most times it makes sense financially. Some people will argue that you lose the tax break, or you could earn more if you invest the money. That may be true is some cases, but the tax deduction argument is often exaggerated, and you are probably saving more in interest than you would make on an investment. To read more click here.

Even though there are reasons why paying off a mortgage early is not recommended, most of the times the benefits of doing it are far greater than the alternative. Sure, having cash on hand for emergencies and making other investments makes sense, but so does avoiding paying tens of thousands in interest. But probably the biggest advantage of paying off your debt sooner is the peace of mind that it gives you. Living with the knowledge that you can lose your home if you come across financial problems is very stressful, so paying off your mortgage early not only saves you money, but also allows you to enjoy life better.

Mortgage Refinancing Loan Terms – Are 10 or 15 Year Terms Better?

10 Year Vs. 15 Year MortgagesThere is a lot of decision making involved in refinancing a mortgage loan. Before applying for a mortgage, you should figure out what your budget is, so you will know how much you can spend on fees, down payment, and the mortgage itself. Also, it is very important to come to a conclusion regarding what your future plans are, like how long you want to live in the home that you are buying. All these factors will help you better determine what kind of term you are looking for in a mortgage.

Why You Should Opt for Shorter Terms

Paying off a mortgage in 30 years is very common, and will probably work for you as well. Even if your interest rate will be slightly higher, your monthly mortgage payments will be lower, so you will have an easier time paying it off. That sounds great, but taking pretty much half your life to pay off a mortgage sounds a bit daunting. A good alternative is to get a 15, or even 10, year mortgage loan, which will have a lower interest rate but larger monthly payment. However, even though comparing a 15-year mortgage to a 10-year mortgage seems much easier than comparing a 15 and a 30-year, there are some things that you need to keep in mind before deciding on either one (Read: Home Refinancing Objectives: The Basics).

Differences between a 10-Year and a 15-Year Mortgage

Usually, paying off a mortgage loan in less years means that you will pay less in interest. The difference in interest may seem very small, less than 1 percent, for example, but that means thousands of dollars over time (even tens of thousands of dollars) depending on how large your mortgage loan is. The difference in interest between a 15-year mortgage and a 10-year mortgage will probably be even less than .50 percent, but it will still be a huge difference in the interest that you will be paying during the loan repayment period.

The downside is that, the shorter the loan term, the larger your monthly mortgage payments will be. Depending on your budget and plans, this might only be a small disadvantage. If you can afford the monthly payments and plan on paying off your mortgage as soon as possible, getting a mortgage with a lower term is the way to go.

If you are unable to make a larger mortgage payment each month, paying off your loan in 15 years instead of 10 is a good alternative. Your monthly payments will be lower, but your interest rate will be higher, so you will spend more overall than if you paid off your mortgage in 10 years. However, you have the option of making additional principal payments which will result in paying off the debt in the same amount of time as a 10-year mortgage, and also give you the option of skipping a principal payment if money is tight in any particular month.

The amount of years that you need to pay off a mortgage loan can make a large difference in how much you spend on your mortgage. Longer terms mean that you pay more overall, but you can do it much easier, shorter terms mean that you pay less overall, but at the cost of having to come up with more money each month. Ultimately, deciding between refinancing into a 10-year or a 15-year mortgage depends on how much you are willing to spend on your mortgage each month and your future plans.

Mortgage Refinancing: The Overlooked Mistakes You Want to Avoid!

Mortgage Refinancing-The Overlooked Mistakes You Want to Avoid- 150x150Mortgage refinancing can be a true life saver when done correctly and at the right time. Making your monthly mortgage payment smaller will free up cash that can be used for other monthly expenses or be put in savings. But before you are lured by the smaller mortgage payments and interest rates, you must be sure that you understand how refinancing works. Understanding this process is the only way in which you can make sure that you avoid making mistakes that will cost you time and money.

Refinancing is expensive and it comes with considerable risk, especially for those who are first time home owners and for those that are refinancing for the first time. The most important thing when refinancing is finding out if the new loan is truly saving you money. Taking refinancing costs into consideration is very important when comparing your current loan to the new loan. Another important thing to consider is how long you plan on living in your home. In order to cover the cost of refinancing, you will have to live in your home for two or more years.

Making a mistake when refinancing is very easy and you will end up regretting making the decision to refinance. But do everything by the book and refinancing will prove to be exactly what you needed to make your life easier. Here is a list of the mistakes that you want to avoid making when refinancing.

Mistake #1: Refinancing Multiple Times

In rare cases, refinancing multiple times makes sense, especially if it is done over the course of a few years. But most of the time, if done very often, refinancing multiple times will result in losing money instead of saving it. Low interest rates are attractive for everyone, and most home owners will give refinancing a thought when interest rates are near record lows. Home owners who have recently refinanced might get the idea that they will save even more money if they refinance again, because the rates are so low.

Unfortunately, refinancing is expensive, costing up to 6 percent of the loan amount. Saving enough in interest for the closing costs to be covered is unlikely if you recently did another refinance. This means that your loan balance will increase, negating the savings that refinancing should bring, making you lose money. It is recommended that you don’t refinance before recuperating the closing costs from your last refinance.

Mistake #2: Not Shopping Around for a Lender

Lenders are always competing with each other, so shopping around for a refinance is a smart thing to do. Even if the first loan that you are offered has a low interest rate, good terms, and seems like exactly what you’re looking for, you still have the option of contacting other lenders. By comparing mortgage lenders and what they are offering, you could save thousands of dollars.

If you have a good relationship with your current mortgage lender, he might offer you a good deal on refinancing. Even if that is the case, it doesn’t hurt to take a look at what other lenders are offering.

Mistake #3: Ignoring Some of the Costs of Refinancing

If you are planning on refinancing your mortgage, you need to find out if the savings outweigh the cost of refinancing. Refinancing closing costs involve several fees, some high and some low. Not taking into consideration some of these fees, like the origination fee, which can be a few thousand dollars, can make refinancing more appealing, but there is no way of avoiding this fee. You might think that you are saving money by refinancing when in fact the closing costs will be much higher than the savings you are making by taking out a loan with a lower interest rate.

Mistake #4: Not Locking In Your Interest Rate

Not locking in your interest rate is like gambling. You hope that the interest rates will go lower before closing, and you end up with a more advantageous rate, but you are aware that there’s a risk that the interest rate will increase, making your payments higher than you anticipated.

Not locking in your interest rate is especially dangerous with refinancing, because you have to make sure that refinancing will actually help you save money. If you come to the conclusion that you are, indeed, saving money with the interest rate that your lender is offering, but don’t lock in and the interest rate increases, the whole refinance could become just a waste of time and money (Read: Mortgage Refinancing Guidelines).

Mistake #5: Extending Your Mortgage Loan’s Term

When refinancing, you are basically resetting the term on your mortgage loan. Your monthly payments will be lower, but you will be paying more in interest, especially because most of the payments go towards the interest when taking out a new mortgage loan.

Extending your mortgage loan’s term would be a mistake, and you should aim towards taking out a loan with a term close to what has remained on your current mortgage, or even shorter.

Taking precautions before refinancing will help you find out if refinancing is the right step for you, and make sure that the whole process goes smoothly. Your goal is to save money on your mortgage, so avoiding these mistakes should be your top priority when refinancing your mortgage.

How to Take the Headache Out of Cash-In Refinancing

How to Take the Headache Out of Cash-In Refinancing-150x150You have probably heard of cash-out refinancing, which allows the borrower to leave the closing with a little extra money. This type of refinancing was very popular a few years ago, before the housing market crashed. The United States Housing market is currently still recovering, so cash-out refinancing is not so popular anymore.

A type of refinancing that is pretty much the opposite of cash-out refinancing is cash-in refinancing. With a cash-in refinancing, the borrower makes cash payment when refinancing, instead of receiving a cash payment. This type of refinancing is used by more and more borrowers because it helps them meet the lender’s requirements. The borrower makes a payment towards his or her mortgage balance, and then takes out a new loan for a much smaller amount. Most people who choose to do a cash-in refinance have money sitting in savings accounts that yield low returns, and would like to put that money to better use.

Is Cash-In Refinancing a Good Idea?

Paying off your mortgage easier or earlier is a great feeling, but you might be asking yourself if that money would be put to better use if you invested it in something else. You could be investing the thousands of dollars that you are using in a cash-in refinance elsewhere, but this type of refinance can also be considered a good investment. Reducing your mortgage debt will get you a lower interest rate, which would bring you some large savings and possibly be more than the return that some investments would generate.

Cash-in refinancing is a great opportunity for home owners whose homes have declined in value. If the home is appraised for a low amount, the equity in it might not be enough to meet the lender’s minimum lending requirements, so making a large payment will certainly help you qualify for a refinance much easier. Making that payment required in a cash-in refinancing will also help you avoid having to pay for Private Mortgage Insurance.

You might want to reduce your mortgage term, from 30 years to 15 years for example, but you wouldn’t be able to afford the much larger monthly payment. By doing a cash-in refinance, you lower the mortgage balance, making it much easier for you to reduce the term of your mortgage loan and afford the new monthly payment.

Of course, like with any type of refinancing, there will be a couple of years or more until the amount of money that you used to pay the closing costs with will be recovered by the savings from refinancing (Read: Refinance Loan Types and Closing Costs).

Another downside is that you have to come up with a large amount of money for the required cash payment, which may cause you some trouble if you are taking it from a 401k, for example. Taking money from a 401k will attract some penalties, such as recovery or repayment costs. Obtaining the money by selling stocks could result in having to pay a capital gains tax.

The thought of saving thousands of dollars by doing a cash-in refinancing is very appealing, but, like with any type of refinancing, you must consider all the risks as well. Your financial situation and future plans should be the most important factors affecting the decision to refinance. If you come to the conclusion that doing a cash-in refinance will save you money and make your life easier, then you shouldn’t encounter any problems as long as you have done your homework and understand what it involves.

Divorcing and Have an Underwater Mortgage? Options Here!

Divorcing and Have an Underwater Mortgage-Here's What to Do- 150x150Divorce is an unfortunate situation to be in, and you probably want to get it over with as soon as possible. Unfortunately, if there’s also a home with an underwater mortgage involved, things can get even messier. Statistics say that around 50 percent of all marriages in the United States end in divorce, and more than 20 percent of all homes are underwater, so divorcing when you have an underwater mortgage is a pretty widespread problem.

Normally, when a couple divorces, the home is either sold and the money split evenly, or one of the spouses keeps the house and the equity in it will count toward their share of the assets. This is what happens when there is equity in the home, meaning that the home is worth more than when it was purchased. In case of an underwater mortgage, the home is worth less than when it was purchased, and the home has negative equity. This means that the home is not an asset anymore, but a liability, and it is much harder to decide who gets the home or how the debt will be split. Here are some solutions to divorcing when you have an underwater mortgage.

Refinancing

Refinancing is expensive and there’s a chance that you will be denied in your situation, but, thanks to government programs, such as the Home Affordable Refinance Program (HARP), you still have a chance to refinance your home, even if your mortgage is underwater. The best way to take advantage of this program is to refinance the mortgage under the name of only one of the spouses, then making changes to other aspects of the divorce in order to reflect the financial liability that the spouse who is refinancing is taking.

Lenders are reticent when it comes to refinancing if one of the borrowers is taken off the mortgage, even if it’s through the Home Affordable Refinance Program. You will have to make sure that the spouse who refinances has enough income to continue paying the mortgage by himself or herself.

Foreclosure

This is the easiest way of dealing with an underwater mortgage when divorcing, but it’s also the solution that will leave the biggest black spot on your credit report. Typically, a foreclosure will stay on your credit report for up to 7 years, making it hard for you to get another mortgage loan. The foreclosure process also takes a long time, which means that it will take that much longer to repair your credit score.

If you remarry after your divorce, and your new spouse has a good credit score, you could get a new home using their credit, but you will most likely be unable to contribute to paying the mortgage with your income.

Short Sale

In order to sell your home for less than what you owe on your mortgage, you will have to convince the lender to allow a short sale. Lenders usually agree to a short sale when it is clear that the borrower is unable to keep making mortgage payments, which may be the case if the income from both spouses was used to make mortgage payments.

The lender might not agree to a short sale, and hold both spouses liable even if they are divorced. Also, a short sale will have a significant negative impact on both of your credit scores, and it will most likely take several years until you will be able to recover from this hit and have a good credit score again.

Deed in Lieu of Foreclosure

Another option would be to simply return the home to the lender, if they agree. You lose the home, but won’t be held liable, like you would with a short sale. This is a win-win situation, because your credit score won’t take such a big hit from a deed in lieu of foreclosure, and your lender avoids the high cost of foreclosing your home.

Another option would be to continue living in the same home with your spouse while still divorcing. This is often a bad idea for both parties involved, but if you can pull it off until you can refinance or sell your home without losing money, then you should take it into consideration. Divorce is a bad experience, and adding an underwater mortgage to that will make it even more of a mess, but there are ways of dealing with this situation that will help keep more money in your pocket.

Top 10 Refinance Lenders for Borrowers with Bad Credit

Top 10 Refinance Lenders for Borrowers with Bad Credit-150x150Getting a mortgage loan with bad credit is difficult, but doable. Lenders typically regard people with bad credit as a high default risk, but they are willing to help every borrower as much as their lending requirements permit them. The same applies to refinancing, where borrowers might want to take out a new loan and possibly receive a better interest rate. Unfortunately, getting a smaller interest rate than your current mortgage loan is not very common if you have bad credit.

Refinancing is an expensive process and, even if you are able to get a loan with a lower interest rate, it might not be worth it, due to the higher overall cost of the new mortgage. Everyone’s financial situation is different, and you might very well be able to refinance with bad credit, get a lower interest rate and end up saving money. The only way in which you can find out if refinancing with bad credit is a good choice is by talking to several lenders about your situation, carefully look at what they’re offering, and decide if refinancing is to your advantage. Here is a list of the top refinance lenders for bad credit:

Top Refinance Lenders for Bad Credit Borrowers

  1. Wells Fargo. One of the largest financial services providers in the U.S., Wells Fargo, started its business in 1852. Since then, it has expanded in more than 35 countries, and currently has more than 270,000 team members. Wells Fargo specializes in mortgage, business banking, consumer and commercial finance, as well as wholesale banking.
  2.  JP Morgan Chase. The acquisitions and mergers of more than 1200 banking institution helped JP Morgan Chase become one of the largest banking institutions in the country and in the world. Some of the most important mergers were with J.P. Morgan, Chase Manhattan, First Chicago and Chemical. Chase serves millions of clients in the U.S., and offers services such as consumer banking, loans, private banking, asset management and mortgages.
  3. Flagstar Bank. Headquartered in Troy, MI, and founded in 1987, Flagstar Bank is one of the country’s top mortgage originators. They deliver award-winning services such as residential lending, retail banking and government banking.
  4. Fifth Third Bank. As of this year, Fifth Third Bank has assets of $318 billion, and is one of the largest banking institutions in the Midwest. Fifth Third Bank offers its customers four main services: consumer lending, branch banking, commercial banking and investment advising.
  5. SunTrust Bank. The Atlanta-based bank has more than 1,500 branches throughout the states of Georgia, Florida, South Carolina, North Carolina, Tennessee, Maryland, West Virginia, Virginia and the DC.  SunTrust Inc. and its subsidiaries offer a wide range of services to its retail and business clients, including banking, mortgage, asset management and securities brokerage.
  6. Nationwide Direct Mortgage. Nationwide Direct Mortgage was founded in 2009 and is one of the best-know online direct lenders in the country. This means that customers can borrow funds directly from Nationwide Direct Mortgage, without dealing with a broker or a third party agent. Nationwide Direct Mortgage provides customers an online mortgage application process, which can be tracked by applicants, who will obtain an approval or decision in less than a week.
  7. CapWest Mortgage. Founded in 1971, CapWest Mortgage is a division of Farmers Bank and Trust, a family owned bank since 1907. CapWest is approved by Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae, and is a Costco Preferred Lender. CapWest can originate loans in all 50 states, and also offers saving accounts, Certificates of Deposit and home equity lines of credit.
  8. Cole Taylor Bank. Named the sixth largest bank in Chicago by Crain’s Chicago Business, Cole Taylor Bank has assets of $5.8 billion, and can originate mortgages in 33 states. The bank was founded more than 80 years ago, and can offer a wide range of financial services, including residential mortgage lending and personal banking.
  9. First Financial Services, Inc. FFSI specializes in residential home financing and commercial lending. The company, known for their excellent rates, was founded in 1991 in North Carolina, and is also licensed in South Carolina, DC, Maryland, Virginia, Texas, Florida and Georgia.
  10. Amerisave Mortgage. Amerisave is one of the nation’s largest mortgage lenders, and offers clients all mortgage products, such as refinance loans, FHA, VA mortgages or reverse mortgages. Amerisave operates in all US states, and has more than 1,500 employees. The company guarantees an on-time closing, and they have excellent prices and offer great service.

Refinancing could be a great option for you and may save money for you in the long run, but it’s important to weigh in on the pros and cons before you make a decision to proceed. There is a high chance, especially for those borrowers with bad credit, for refinancing to cost more upfront then it will save you eventually, making it pointless for you to refinance. However, with this list of the top 10 lenders, you have the best chance of getting a better interest rate and saving money.

What is the True Cost of Refinancing? The Truth is Revealed Here!

What is the True Cost of Refinancing- The Truth is Revealed Here- 150x150Refinancing your home involves getting a new mortgage loan, and it’s a practice that can be very beneficial and save you a nice amount of money, or it can prove to be very expensive and cost you a lot of money. The main goal of refinancing is to save money on your mortgage by replacing your original mortgage loan with one that features a lower interest rate (Read: Major Motivations to Refinance a Mortgage).

Usually, refinancing costs the average home owner between 3 and 6 percent of the home loan’s value. For example, if you are refinancing a $200,000 home, refinancing will cost you between $6,000 and $12,000. Paying such a high price for refinancing should make you wonder if you should do it and get a new loan with a lower interest rate, or keep your old loan with the higher interest rate. The only way to find out if refinancing is worth the hassle and cost is by putting everything on paper and calculating if the lower interest rate of the new loan will bring greater savings than you will be spending on closing costs.

Closing Costs

All the fees associated with refinancing should be included in the Good Faith Estimate. This document will reveal how much your lender is charging you for each item. If you do your homework, you will be able to tell which fees are necessary and which ones are unnecessary and can be lowered or even waived by your lender.

Costs such as the origination fee or the lender fee are paid directly to the lender and can be easily negotiated, and sometimes even waived. The lending officer normally works on commission, and will prefer to lower these fees, than to lose a customer and get no commission at all.

When doing mortgage refinancing, you can purchase “points”, which will lower the interest rate on your mortgage. They are essentially a form of prepaid interest and each point is worth 1 percent of the loan amount. You should take into consideration the amount of time that you will be spending in the home and how long it takes you to break even on the cost when purchasing points.

Determining the True Cost of Refinancing

Lowering your interest is very attractive and the main reason why people refinance, but it’s not the only factor you should look at when deciding whether to refinance or not. The new lower interest rate should play a big part in your decision, but what you should really be looking at is whether the savings that you get from refinancing your mortgage are bigger than the cost of refinancing. Many times, borrowers will be blinded by the lower interest rates, and refinance without realizing that the high cost of refinancing will actually cause them to lose money.

In order to find out how long it will take you to start saving money after refinancing your mortgage, you should subtract your new monthly payment from your old monthly payment, and divide the cost of refinancing by the monthly savings. The number that will result from this will be the number of months it will take to break even. Refinancing if you plan on living in a home for longer than it will take you to break even is a great choice. Here are a few tips to help you understand how much will refinancing cost you and decide if it will save you money:

  • Find out what your new interest rate will be. Many times, lenders will only advertise the lowest interest rate that they can give, but that doesn’t mean you will qualify for it. Depending on your credit score and how many points you purchase, you can end up paying a much higher interest rate, which will make refinancing look less appealing than it did when it first crossed your mind to refinance.
  • Find out how much refinancing will cost you. You will, most likely, have to pay several good thousands in closing costs when refinancing, so finding out exactly how much this will cost you is a great way of determining if refinancing is a good choice. Mortgage application, origination, document preparation, appraisal, title and many other fees can add up and cost you an arm and a leg.
  • Decide if refinancing is worth the hassle. Besides the high closing cost, refinancing is also a time consuming process. Before talking to a lender, you should consult an online mortgage refinancing calculator. Online calculators won’t be 100 percent precise, but you should make sure that you provide the most accurate information when calculating your costs and savings.

Refinancing is a costly process, but you shouldn’t let that scare you. You should also not let the low interest rates advertised by

Even with Fixed-Rate Mortgages So Low, Don’t Overlook Adjustable Rates!

Even with Fixed-Rate Mortgages So Low, Don't Overlook Adjustable Rates- 150x150Refinancing has become very popular ever since interest rates started to fall a few years ago. Home owners who found that refinancing is the way to go in order to reduce their mortgages may even refinance multiple times in the past few years. However, most borrowers choose to refinance into a fixed-rate mortgage, not realizing that adjustable-rate mortgages also have their advantages and may even be more beneficial for them.

Adjustable-rate mortgages have gotten a bad reputation over the past few years, being blamed in part for the large number of foreclosures. This made fixed-rate mortgages more popular than ever and the go-to mortgage for most people who refinanced. Interest rates on fixed-rate mortgages are, indeed, near record lows, but home owners who are considering refinancing should take a look at adjustable-rate mortgages as well.

What Are Adjustable-Rate Mortgages and How Do They Work?

Adjustable-rate mortgage loans start out, like fixed-rate mortgages, with a fixed interest rate period, which usually lasts for one to seven years. During this fixed-rate period, adjustable-rate mortgages are essentially fixed-rate loans. After this period ends, the interest rate is adjusted according to the mortgage loan terms.

Interest rates on an adjustable-rate mortgage are lower during the fixed-rate period than home mortgage rates on a fixed rate mortgage loan, making them ideal for home buyers who don’t wish to live in their home for a long period of time. Compared to fixed-rates mortgages, an ARM can save you several thousands of dollars during the fixed-rate period.

The Advantage of Refinancing Into an Adjustable-Rate Mortgage

The largest advantage of refinancing into an adjustable-rate mortgage is that you can take advantage of some of the lowest interest rates available in the fixed-rate period. The interest rate for that initial period will be lower than the interest rate on a fixed-rate mortgage.

Adjustable-rate mortgages are especially valuable for home buyers who plan on refinancing or moving after only a few years before the fixed-rate period comes to an end. They are also a good choice for those who expect the economy to make a good recovery and their financial situation to improve.

The Risk of Refinancing Into an Adjustable-Rate Mortgage

The biggest risk of refinancing into an adjustable-rate mortgage is that the interest rates on your loan might increase dramatically once the initial period is over. Interest rates are still very low right now, and it looks like there is no place that they can go but up. But a lot can happen during the fixed-rate period, so you might end up with an even lower interest rate once the adjustable-rate period starts. Alternatively, you can refinance or pay off your loan before the adjustable-rate period begins, and you won’t have to worry about a large increase in interest rates.

Besides refinancing or paying off your mortgage loan before the fixed-rate period ends, you can also plan for an increase in interest rates. By choosing an adjustable-rate mortgage over a fixed-rate mortgage, you will have a lower interest rate for the first repayment period, meaning that you could save or invest the difference. Having savings once that adjustable-rate period begins will help you significantly if the interest rates increase, giving you time to refinance.

Adjustable-rate mortgages should not be overlooked when refinancing. Depending on several factors, they can be quite beneficial and save you money. It is up to each home buyer to take a close look at his or her financial situation and future plans and decide which type of mortgage to refinance into. Just because adjustable-rate mortgages are seen as riskier than fixed-rate mortgages doesn’t mean that you will be unable to make them work to your advantage.

When is the Right Time to Refinance?

When is the Right Time to Refinance- 150x150For most homeowners faced with the constant ups and downs of the housing and credit markets, knowing exactly when to consider refinancing existing mortgages can seem much like a roll of the dice. Crunching a few numbers into online mortgage calculators is a good way to get a sense of where things stand on a preliminary basis, but examination of the long-term effects need to be evaluated. Factoring each of the motivations behind the decision involves weighing both sides of the equation – the potential savings and the realistic expenses – to determine the feasibility of the refinancing plan.

Closing Costs Vs. Monthly Savings

Common sense dictates current interest rates are the primary factor behind most refinancing decisions. Usually, when the prevailing rate drops by at least one percent, most mortgage advice will steer homeowners towards refinancing as it is worth the effort. The bottom line is best evaluated in regards to what effect the refinancing formula has on the monthly payment when compared to the associated mortgage closing costs. By performing a simple comparison, and using an average closing cost of around $3,000 for a typical home loan, assume the monthly repayment figure to be in the neighborhood of $1,800. Refinancing may reduce this number by approximately $200 each month, which appears to be acceptable, especially when applied to budget savings.

Up-Front Cost Vs. Long-Term Gain

However, the real benefit can only be factored in by determining the length of time the homeowner plans on staying in the residence. If the refinancing option has any value, it is advisable to take the numbers one step further. Use the $3,000 closing cost, and divide it by the projected monthly mortgage savings estimate of $200. The answer yields a 15 month duration before the effect of refinancing produces a positive influence on the result. If the homeowner relocates before the 15 months is up, there is no monetary benefit to the refinancing decision. Only if the homeowner stays in the residence beyond this ‘cut-off’ date will refinancing options begin to make any economic sense.

Refinancing Loan Types and Closing Costs

Refinancing Loan Types and Closing Costs- 150x150With the economy having a favorable effect on interest rates, many homeowners are considering the viability of refinancing existing mortgages to take full advantage of this downward trend. Depending on which type of mortgage program the original loan was (fixed-rate loan, adjustable-rate, interest-only, or hybrid ARM), refinancing is proving to be a favorable option. Careful consideration needs to be applied to the feasibility of refinancing because each has an array of advantages and disadvantages. Whether the focus is on extending the loan term, cutting down on monthly payment amounts, or accessing the equity, there are both short-term and long-term benefits and consequences to be evaluated.

 

Lengthening the Term and Lowering Payments

Lowering the interest rate can be the primary focus, but it is not the only factor. It is important the borrower understands the complete package and ramifications of refinancing. This includes understanding that to extend a loan term means more overall interest is paid out in the long run and that the loan type chosen can decrease or increase monthly payments. There are other ‘hidden’ costs involved with refinancing as well, such as a reevaluation of tax liability, along with the property insurance coverage, and whether or not the new loan will require private mortgage insurance. Make use of online mortgage calculators to establish which refinancing scenario works best for your budget.

Factoring in Closing Costs

Another consideration are the refinancing closing costs. If a borrower is fortunate enough to refinance their old loan with the original lender by simply renegotiating loan terms, then the majority of closing costs may not be a factor. If that will not be the case, then the closing costs will become a major part of the equation. Typical closing costs can run from 3% to 5% of the loan value, which can be anywhere from $3,000 to $11,000 on a $200,000 loan, depending on how many points the lender chooses to apply to the loan package.