Refinancing your mortgage is something most homeowners consider at least once throughout the lifespan of their home loan. It allows you to pay off your previous loan by applying for a new one that has better financial advantages. While there are many good reasons to refinance, here are five common ones.
- Securing a lower interest rate. The number one reason homeowners decide to refinance is to secure a lower interest rate on their mortgage. Historically, the rule of thumb is that refinancing is a good idea if you can reduce your interest rate by at least 2%. However, many lenders say 1% savings is enough of an incentive to refinance. Not only does this save you money in the long run and decrease your monthly payment, but you can start building equity in your home sooner.
- Using an improved credit score. Even if interest rates have not dropped in the market, if you’ve improved your credit score over the last few years, you may be able to reduce your mortgage rate. - Shortening the loan’s term. If interest rates are decreasing, there is a chance you may be able to get a shorter loan term with little to no change in your monthly payment, allowing you to pay off your loan sooner.
- Switching from an adjustable-rate to a fixed rate. If you chose an adjustable-rate mortgage with great introductory rates when you initially financed your home, that rate may increase significantly over the years. By switching to a fixed rate while interest rates are low, you can protect yourself from future increases.
- Cashing out home equity. If there is a big purchase or payment on the horizon, such as funding a wedding or going back to school, your best option may be to use the equity you’ve built in your home to borrow money at a lower cost.
Refinancing can be a great financial move if it reduces your mortgage payment, shortens the term of your loan, or helps you build equity more quickly. When used carefully, it can also be a valuable tool for bringing debt under control. Before you refinance, take a careful look at your financial situation and ask yourself: How long do I plan to continue living in the house? How much money will I save by refinancing?
Keep in mind that refinancing will come with a cost, ensure you are fully aware of the amount of those fees. It takes years to recoup that cost with the savings generated by a lower interest rate or a shorter term. So, if you are not planning to stay in the home for more than a few years, the cost of refinancing may negate any of the potential savings.
It also pays to remember that a savvy homeowner is always looking for ways to reduce debt, build equity, save money, and eliminate their mortgage payment. Taking cash out of your equity when you refinance does not help to achieve any of those goals.