The cash-out refinance loan has been one of the most popular mortgage products for over three decades and the level of interest continues to surge this year. If you’re flush with equity in your home after rising home values in recent times, you aren’t alone. It’s estimated in some circles that homeowners have trillions of dollars of new equity in their homes in 2024.

In a cash-out refinance transaction, you take out a new mortgage for an amount greater than your previous mortgage balance, and the difference is paid to you in cash. Typically, a cash-out refinance comes with a higher interest rate or more points compared to a rate-and-term refinance, where the mortgage amount remains unchanged.

With homes continuing to soar in value and some states seeing a housing shortage, it’s understandable that many homeowners want to do a cash-out refinance to lower their rate and grab some cash in the form of home equity.

You can use that equity for whatever you like, but renovating the home makes a lot of sense. It’s usually tax deductible and adds to your home’s value. If you are thinking about a cash-out refinance loan this year, here’s some critical information to consider.

How Cash-Out Refinancing Works

cash out refinances

A cash-out refinance lets you tap some of your home equity while also lowering your interest rate.

This may be a good choice if the current interest rates are at least .5% lower than your current rate, and if you have considerable equity you want to pull out.

If you pull the trigger on the refinance, your new loan will have a lower rate and a larger balance, which is from pulling out some equity.

Before you do a refinance, there are some basic facts to know:

  • Cash-out refi rates are always a bit higher than rates for rate and term only refinances.
  • There is a higher risk to the lender when you pull out cash and this is reflected with a higher rate.
  • Your refinance interest rate depends on your credit score and debt load.
  • You can usually take out up to 80% of your loan’s value.
  • The new loan will be bigger than the old one, even if the rate is lower. So, you will pay more interest over time.
  • Cash-out refinance rates are usually lower than personal loan and credit card rates, so it may make more sense to use your equity for major expenses.
  • You can use the equity for anything, but only can tax-deduct the interest if it’s being used for home renovations on your primary residence.

Cash-Out Refinance Mortgage Example

Let’s say your home has risen in value to $350,000. You have a mortgage balance of $250,000 and want to pull out $30,000. The new balance will be $280,000, but you will also have closing costs that are about 3-5% of the loan amount. But you can roll the closing costs into the new loan.

As far as how much money you can pull out, most lenders limit you to 80% of the home value, which includes what your current balance is and how much you want to take out. Homeowners could once pull out 90% or 100% of a home’s value, but this led to too many people defaulting on their home loans a decade ago.

Say your home is worth $400,000, so 80% of the value is $320,000. You owe $250,000 so the most you can pull out is $70,000. By leaving some equity in the home, statistics show you’re less likely to default.

How to Qualify for a Cash-Out Refinance Loan

To qualify for the new loan, you need to qualify based on credit, income, and debt load. Also important is the value of the property and how much equity you have.

Exact qualifications vary, but you can generally expect the following:

  • At least 20% equity in the home
  • New appraisal to check the home value
  • A 620 credit score
  • DTI of 43% or lower
  • LTV of less than 80%
  • Check on employment and income

These standards apply to most cash-out refinances from conventional lenders. If you have an FHA loan, you may need only a 600-credit score to qualify.

How the Cash-Out Refinance Closing Works

Doing a cash-out refinance is similar to getting a regular loan:

  • You should verify rates from several lenders to find out which can give you the best terms and rates.
  • Choose the best lender and do their mortgage application.
  • Offer documents to support your application, such as tax returns and W-2s.
  • Have an updated home appraisal
  • The underwriter will check your application and documents to decide
  • Sign the closing documents and get your cash at closing

If your home is worth enough to secure the new loan, you should be able to get cash and a lower interest rate. But what if you already have a low rate on your mortgage? You probably don’t want to take out a new loan and replace the old one.

That’s when you should look at second mortgages, including a home equity loan and home equity line of credit. These loans have higher rates than a first mortgage, but they’re still lower than personal loans.

A second-mortgage lets you take out cash, too, while keeping the first mortgage in place. You should carefully check current mortgage rates to find out if it’s worthwhile to replace your first mortgage with a new one. Compare the loan terms and  read more on Home Equity Loan vs. Cash Out Refinance.

Thinking About a Cash-Out Refinance in 2024? Act Soon!

Cash-out refinance rates are still reasonable in 2024, but there’s no question rates are trending higher. As of Feb. 2, 2023, the rate for a 30-year fixed rate refinance is 6.25%, and it was at least .5% lower just a year earlier.

It’s always hard to say why and when mortgage rates will rise. But we know there are inflation pressures in the US, and some believe the Federal Reserve will act in 2022 to raise rates.

We suggest that you talk to your tax consultant about the cash out refinance rules for tax deductions.

If you have enjoyed a rise in your home’s equity recently, you may want to think about refinancing for cash out soon. We can’t say what rates will be for refinancing in a few months. But we can say for certain refinance rates are up almost .5% from a month ago.  That’s quite a jump.

Now that you know everything about a cash-out refinance, you can decide if it makes sense for your financial situation. Remember that rates are rising in 2022, and now may be the last chance you have.

Everything You Need to Know About Cash Out Refinancing and How to Qualify for these Loans

Has your home’s value taken off this year? See more of your neighbors selling their homes for top dollar? This is happening across the US, and especially in the hottest housing markets.

But maybe you’re not interested in selling your home, so how about a cash-out refinance to make home improvements? It’s estimated that homeowners have trillions in equity in their homes, so pulling out cash and fixing up the home can greatly increase your property value.

Typically, mortgage lenders cap the amount you can withdraw at no more than 80% of your home’s value, although this threshold can fluctuate among lenders and might hinge on individual factors. However, there’s a notable exception to this 80% limit with VA cash-out refinances, allowing you to access the full 100% of your current equity.

Below is everything you need to know about cash-out refinancing in the current market and how to qualify.

Cash-Out Loan Perspective

A cash-out refinance is a popular loan option where the homeowner takes out cash from the equity that has built up in the home. The equity can come from paying down the mortgage, increasing property values, or both.

Most mortgage lenders let you take out up to 80% of the property’s equity. After closing, you get the difference in cash and use it any way you like. Many people improve the home, but you can use it for college tuition or to pay off credit cards.

For instance, say you own a home worth $300,000 and you owe $100,000 on your home loan. You have $200,000 in equity and your lender lets you take out up to 80% of the home’s value. So, 80% of $200,000 is $140,000, which you can take out in cash.

The idea behind a cash-out refinance is simple: You refinance your mortgage to a lower rate and pull-out equity at the same time. While you have a larger mortgage, you also have a lower interest rate.

If you already have a low interest rate and can’t beat it with current rates, you may want to do a home equity loan or home equity line of credit instead.

Cash-Out Refinance Benefits

Taking cash out of your home and refinancing can be a fantastic financial move. Below are some of the benefits to consider:

Pay Off Debt When Refinancing

One of the most popular reasons people pull out cash from their homes is to pay off high-interest debt on credit cards. These days, personal credit card rates can be 20% or even 30%. Imagine how many hundreds or thousands of dollars in interest you may pay!

On the other hand, you may get a refinance interest rate on your mortgage around 3% or 3.5%. You can pay so much less in interest so it’s easy to understand why so many homeowners are flocking to refinance while rates are still low.

Make Home Improvements

When property values are rising like in 2023 and 2024, you can take advantage without selling your home by doing upgrades and repairs. For example, say you pull $25,000 out with a cash-out refinance and rehab your kitchen. You may be able to sell the home for as much as $25,000 or $30,000 more with the rehab.

In that sense, pulling out the equity can pay for itself when you sell the home. Other popular home improvements include expanding the family room, renovating the master bath, and adding solar panels. If you do bit want to refinance your house to get the money, consider a second mortgage to finance home renovations.

Reduce Your Taxes

With a cash-out refinance, you may be able to take a discount on your taxes! After the tax reform law in 2017, you only can take a tax deduction on the mortgage interest on your equity if you are using the funds to remodel the home.

However, you should talk to your tax advisor about this subject before pulling out cash. You can’t get the tax break anymore if you use the money for anything except home renovations.

Lower Interest Rates for Cash Out Refinancing

It’s common in 2024 to refinance to get a lower interest rate. For example, let’s say you have a 5% interest rate from a mortgage you took out a decade ago. You may be able to snare a 6.21% interest rate on a 30-year fixed rate refinance mortgage as of Nov. 8, 2023, if you qualify. (with a 1% origination fee and a 6.57% APR on a $425,000 loan amount)

Imagine: You might save hundreds of dollars per month on your payment! Refinancing when you can save 1% or more on the interest rate is a no-brainer.

How to Qualify for a Mortgage Refinance with Cash Back

Cash-out refinance rates are lower in 2024 than last year, but you can expect to pay about .5% higher when you take out cash.

But to get the lowest interest rate, you will need to qualify, and lenders are more stringent when the homeowner is puling out equity. Your lender will look at the following when qualifying you for a cash-out refinance:

  • Credit score: You will need a higher credit score when pulling out cash. Expect 640 to 680 to be the minimum required, but over 700 will snag you the lowest rates.
  • LTV: A lower loan-to-value ratio will lower the rate if you don’t take all of your equity in cash. For example, if you leave 10% of your equity in the home, you should get a lower rate.
  • Repayment period: A longer repayment period of 20 or 30 years has a higher rate than 15-year loans. But the latter has a higher payment.
  • Closing costs: Expect to pay 2-3% in closing costs, but you might be able to wrap it into your new mortgage.
  • Debt-to-income ratio: A higher DTI is a bigger risk for the lender. Many mortgage providers will want to see 36% or less DTI to get the best rates.

Should You Get a Cash-Out Refinance?

The rates for cash-out refinances in 2023 are finally turning around! And home prices are soaring throughout the United States. For many borrowers, a cash-out refinance can be an outstanding financial choice. You can use your equity to improve the home and theoretically increase its value. A renovated home has a higher price and is easier to sell, so it makes sense.

Doing a cash-out refinance loan also is smart if you have an older mortgage with a higher rate. You can save hundreds per month when you do a refinance at a 1% lower rate.

If you want to use the cash to pay off debt, this also can be a wise move. You will save a lot of money in interest every month. But you should make sure you don’t use the opportunity to run up the credit cards again.

For those with financial discipline, paying off consumer debt with equity can be a great move, too. The other reason you may want to pull out cash is pay for college tuition. For borrowers who only want to take out cash that will earn them money, this can be an attractive option.

For example, if you take out $100,000 in equity to fund your son’s college tuition that will net a $75,000 first year salary in engineering, this can be a wise financial move.

Does Cash-Out Refinancing Harm Your Credit?

If you’re thinking about a cash-out refinance, where you replace your old mortgage with a larger one, you could be increasing your debt load. This situation could negatively impact your FICO score.

What About a Home Equity Loan?

Borrowers who already have a low interest rate on their first mortgage probably shouldn’t refinance their mortgage. But you can still tap all that equity! A home equity loan is a second mortgage that gives you some of your equity in cash in a lump sum.

You still have your first mortgage, but now have a fixed-rate, 2nd mortgage, too. This option is smart if you have a low rate first mortgage but a lot of equity.

What About A HELOC?

Another option if you have a low rate on your first mortgage is a home equity line of credit or HELOC-loan. This also is a second mortgage that accesses your untapped equity.

Unlike a home equity loan, a HELOC is a credit line similar to a credit card. For example, your lender may give you a $50,000 HELOC. You can take out up to $50,000 but you only pay interest on the amount you take out.

Some homeowners want a HELOC to have cash available for periodic expenses, such as college tuition or a rehab. Others like the comfort of having a credit line available if there is a financial emergency. Compare a HELOC to a Home Equity Loan.

The Bottom Line on Cash Back Refinances

Being a homeowner doesn’t automatically qualify you for a cash-out refinance. Remember when you provided detailed financial information for your current mortgage? A cash-out refinance involves a similar process. The lender will thoroughly assess your cash flow and the condition of your property to determine if they are willing to extend the loan.

Doing a cash-out refinance mortgage may be just what you need to score a lower interest rate and pull out equity for a home renovation, consolidate debt, or pay for college tuition. Interest rates have been rising in 2023, but with inflation rising, the Federal Reserve may increase interest rates next year to slow down the economy. That could mean higher interest rates on cash refinances.

So, talk to your mortgage broker today because the low rates for a cash-out refinance may come to an end in 2024!