7 Things to Verify When Shopping the Best Refinance Mortgage Rates
#1 Verify Potential New Payments with a Mortgage Calculator
Starting your research about mortgage refinancing with a good online mortgage calculator is always a smart move. Before you even think about refinancing, you should run several potential mortgage rate and term scenarios to see how much you might save in the short, medium and long term.
For example, you might run three refinance scenarios such as these:
- 6.5% interest rate for 30 years
- 5.875% interest rate for 15 years
- 6.125% interest rate for 10 year ARM
Your new payment could be many different things depending upon the final, locked in interest rate and whether you choose a 15 year or 30 year mortgage, among many other variables. It is important to verify early on what you may save in the short-to-long-term on a refinance, so you know if it is really worth it in the end. Whether it is or not will depend upon many factors, and not just the rate and monthly payment.
For instance, if you plan to move in three years, the $200 per month you are saving in a lower payment could be eaten up by your closing costs to refinance. So, verifying potential refinance scenarios with an online mortgage calculator will tell you if it is even worth to refinance at all.
#2 Check What Your New Loan Term Will Be
There are valid reasons to get a 30 year mortgage and a 15 year mortgage. It depends upon your other financial goals and your general financial situation. If you have $25,000 in credit card debt and have no money saved up for college for your child, you could want to get a 30 year refinance loan. This will keep your payments lower.
However, if you want to get your loan paid off faster so that you are free and clear on your home for retirement, getting a 15 year refinance mortgage might be the way to go. It is very important to verify which loan term is best for your personal financial situation. Check the current mortgage refinance rates now.
#3 Make Sure You Are Talking To 3+ Lenders
Mortgage rates and terms vary widely among refinance mortgage lenders. It is smart to talk to one of each of these:
- Credit Union
- Your community bank
- Direct lending company
- Mortgage broker
Some lenders may have portfolio loans available that they keep rather than resell. These may offer more flexible terms.
Experts also advise finding a lender who you know and trust, and does not just offer the lowest rate. More than a few people go with the lowest rate they can find, and discover that there are many problems during the underwriting process because the loan officer makes mistakes or does not communicate well. The Federal Trade Commission posted various tips for consumers when they are shopping mortgage lenders online.
#4 Verify Refinance Types Available
There are hundreds of mortgage refinance products out there to consider, including government-backed options, such as FHA (which you can consider if you are already in an FHA loan). Make sure you decide whether you are applying for a rate and term or cash-out loan. If you simply want a lower interest rate or better term, than in most cases you will find the refinance rate to be .25 of a point lower than if you were seeking cash back in the proposed refinance loan. If you are happy with your current interest rate and just need cash out for repairs, consider a 2nd mortgage for home improvements and then you can leave your present mortgage alone.
You should use a lender who has access to many types of loan products so that he or she can give you the best possible terms for your situation.
#5 Verify If There Is a Pre-Payment Penalty
There are some loans out there that will charge you a penalty if you pay off the loan early and/or refinance it. This guarantees a certain profit for the investor but is a raw deal for the home owner usually. Make sure that you mortgage-refinance loan does not have a prepayment penalty.
#6 Verify All Mortgage Rates and Refinance Fees
Your lender might entice you with that super low advertised ‘teaser’ rate. But it might be based upon you paying ‘points’ on your mortgage, which means you are paying a 1% of the loan being offered for the ability to get a lower rate.
For example, if you are taking out a new $200,000 loan, the lender might charge you one point for an interest rate ¼ of a point lower. This would amount to $2,000. Whether this is worth it or not bears careful analysis, but you just need to be sure that you are verifying all of the fees and costs in your mortgage. Be sure that you find the best refinance online and make sure that home refinancing is financially worth it.
Experts say that it is critical to verify the following to be sure what your loan will cost:
- Interest rate
- Points paid
- Loan origination fee
You also should independently check the interest rate yourself that your mortgage lender quotes you on the day you are locking in your rate. Those refinance rates bounce around a good deal from day to day and you want to be sure you are getting what was promised.
#7 Know Your Closing Costs and Points when Refinancing
Exactly how much you will pay to refinance will vary. Experts tell us that you will pay from 3-6% of your loan principal to refinance. For a $200,000 loan, this comes out to $6,000 to $12,000. If you are saving $200 per month in payments on the new loan, that is $2,400 per year. Now you need to ask yourself how long you intend to stay in the home.
If your mortgage refinance closing costs are $6,000 and you are moving out most likely in two years, you probably are going to lose money if you refinance. But if you plan to stay in your home for 10 years, you can usually justify paying closing costs for a refinance, if you are saving at least $75 to $100 per month. When comparing offers, consider a refinance loan without closing costs.
What Homeowners Need to Know Before Refinancing a Mortgage in 2024
Refinancing a mortgage is a significant financial decision that homeowners often contemplate to take advantage of lower interest rates, reduce monthly payments, or tap into their home’s equity. While refinancing can offer several benefits, it’s essential for homeowners to be well-informed and carefully consider various aspects before making this decision. In this article, we’ll discuss what homeowners need to know before refinancing their mortgage.
Evaluate Your Financial Goals: The first step in refinancing your mortgage is to clearly define your financial goals. What are you looking to achieve by refinancing? Common objectives include:
- Lowering monthly payments
- Reducing the interest rate
- Shortening the loan term
- Accessing home equity
- Switching from an adjustable-rate to a fixed-rate mortgage
Understanding your financial goals will help you choose the most suitable refinance option and make informed decisions throughout the process.
Review Your Credit Score: Your credit score plays a significant role in determining the terms of your refinanced mortgage. Lenders typically offer the best rates and terms to borrowers with higher credit scores. It’s crucial to review your credit report, identify any discrepancies, and work on improving your credit score if necessary before refinancing. I you have low fico scores, consider a refinance mortgage for bad credit as there are still a few lenders offering them this year.
Gather Financial Documents: Lenders will require you to provide various financial documents during the refinancing process. These documents typically include pay stubs, bank statements, tax returns, and more. Gathering these documents in advance will streamline the application process and help you qualify for better terms. If you are unable to document your income with pay-stubs and tax returns, request more information on alternative, such as a bank-statement loan.
Calculate Closing Costs: Just like when you initially bought your home, refinance mortgages come with closing costs. These costs may include appraisal fees, application fees, title search fees, and more. It’s essential to calculate these costs and determine if they align with your refinancing goals. In some cases, you can roll the closing costs into the new mortgage, but this may affect your overall loan terms. We also suggest weighing the pros and cons of a no closing cost mortgage refinance.
Understand Mortgage Insurance: If your original mortgage required private mortgage insurance (PMI) or mortgage insurance premiums (MIP), you should be aware of how these factors will impact your refinanced mortgage. Mortgage insurance requirements can vary depending on the loan program and the loan-to-value ratio, and they may affect your monthly payments.
Be Cautious of Scams: The mortgage industry, like any other, has its share of scams and fraudulent schemes. Beware of offers that sound too good to be true or refinance lenders who pressure you into making quick decisions. Always deal with reputable lenders and consult with a financial advisor or attorney if you have concerns.
Locking the Refinance Mortgage Rate: Interest rates can fluctuate, and the rate you’re quoted today may not be available when you’re ready to finalize the refinance. You can ask your lender to lock in the interest rate for a specific period, ensuring that the rate remains the same during the processing of your application. However, rate locks may come with certain conditions and fees, so it’s essential to understand the terms. Be aware as well that if you already have a low interest rate on your mortgage, that a home equity loan may be the best option.
The Reality of Shopping for a Mortgage Refinance Today
Refinancing is often a great idea as you will save money in many cases. It makes sense to speak with a few credible lending sources. Review all the lending disclosures, consider costs and verify all of the above to make sure you really are getting a great deal. Working with reputable refinance mortgage lenders and avoiding scams is crucial to ensuring a smooth and successful refinancing process. Remember, each homeowner’s situation is unique, so it’s essential to tailor your refinancing decisions to your specific needs and goals.