How to Refinance Your Mortgage

Toddler girl walking in the front door of a brick single family home

The Ultimate Mortgage Refinancing Guide

Mortgage refinancing lets you save money or tap equity. Set your home refinance goal, then compare rates and fees.

Are you looking for ways to save money on your monthly mortgage payments? Or are you interested in tapping into the equity you’ve built up in your home? If so, mortgage refinancing may be right for you.

There are a variety of reasons why people choose to refinance their mortgages. Maybe you’re looking for a lower interest rate, or maybe you want to shorten the length of your mortgage. Whatever your goal, refinancing can help you achieve it.

Mortgage refinance definition

A mortgage refinance is when you take out a new home loan to replace your current one. The reason people usually refinance their mortgage is either to get a lower interest rate, reduce monthly payments, or access equity in their home. Some people also refinace to pay off the loan faster, get rid of FHA insurance, or switch from an adjustable-rate loan to a fixed-rate one.

However, before you refinance, there are a few things you should know. First, make sure you understand all the costs involved in refinancing. These can include closing costs, application fees and pre-payment penalties. Second, be sure that refinancing makes financial sense for you. Compare the interest rate on your current mortgage to the rates available on new mortgages. If you can save money by refinancing, it may be worth your time and effort.

How does refinancing work?

When you buy a home, the lender provides you with a mortgage to pay for it. The money from the lender goes directly to the seller of the home. However, when refinancing a home,

you get what is essentially a new mortgage. This new mortgage pays off any remaining balance on your old loan instead of going towards the purchase of another property as it would normally do.

If you want to refinance your mortgage, you’ll need to meet the same requirements as when you got your original loan. You fill out an application and go through underwriting before heading to closing.

When you should refinance a home, and why you should consider it

Before you start the process of refinancing your home loan, think about why you want to do so in the first place. Your goal should direct how you approach this from start to finish.

  • Reduce the monthly payment by refinancing into a loan with a lower interest rate.
  • Tap into equity by refinancing to borrow more than you owe on your current loan.
  • Pay off the loan faster by refinancing from a 30-year mortgage into a 15-year loan.
  • Get rid of FHA mortgage insurance premiums by refinancing to a conventional home loan.
  • Switch from an adjustable- to a fixed-rate loan to ensure stable payments.

Prepare to refinance

Before you refinancing your mortgage, thoroughly research whether or not it is the best move for you and your finances. You will want to have all of the following information gathered:

Review your current mortgage.

It’s unwise to move forward with a refinance without first comprehending your current mortgage terms. You’ll need to evaluate if the savings accrued would be enough to justify refinancing. For example, it might not make sense financially if you plan on relocating in the next couple years. Additionally, some mortgages come with a pre-payment penalty; should that be the case for your loan and you’re only a few years into repayment, then you must factor that cost when making the decision to proceed with refinancing or not.

Review your credit report to identify any errors or discrepancies.

It goes without saying that your credit report must be clean of any errors or anomalies. With borrowers held to higher standards now than in the past, don’t put your loan approval in jeopardy by failing to take care of something small that could have been easily fixed beforehand.

You can visit for a free credit report. If you come across any errors or issues, take care of them straight away and then carry on with your application process. There are programs available today for many different types of borrowers, but the higher your credit score is, the more options you’ll have open to you in terms of lenders and loan rates.

See how much debt you currently have.

Outstanding debt can play a role in being approved for certain loans and products, as well as the interest rates you’re offered. Lenders will commonly look at both your front-end ratio (the difference between income and the mortgage loan) and back-end ration (monthly income to debt), which together give them an idea of whether your overall debt is too high.

Lenders usually prefer to see your front-end ratio below 30% and the back-end ratio lower than 40%. Even though, with the federal Home Affordable Refinancing Program, some of these regulations have been lessened.

Make sure you have the money to pay for closing costs.

Depending on which bank, lender, or broker you use for your mortgage, the closing costs will differ. It’s important to be aware of these fees from the start.

Always factor in how long it would take you to make up for the closing costs through your monthly savings when deciding whether or not to refinance. If recouping those funds would take a few years and you’re looking at possibly moving within the next five, then maybe refinancing now isn’t the smartest idea.

In short, if you plan to live in the home for more than ten years and will recover your closing costs within two, then this would be a beneficial move with considerable long-term savings.

Get in touch with different lenders and compare their offers.

Like any significant investment, be sure to explore your options and compare different offers. Speak with a variety of lenders, even if you have used their services in the past, so that you can ensure you’re getting the best rate possible.

Beware of anyone who only mentions additional fees without explaining what they are for. Also, watch out for any hidden costs that may be included in your loan. Always make sure you understand the quotes you are getting. If you have questions, don’t hesitate to ask for clear explanations.

Exploring the Different Mortgage Options

With the overwhelming number of loan companies, it can be tough to pick the best one for your needs. A lower interest rate may not always be your smartest decision. Be sure to understand all available options before making any final choices.

Fixed-Rate Mortgages

Fixed-rate mortgages are among the most popular because they offer a consistent interest rate over the life of the loan. These loans are typically available in 30-, 20- and 15-year terms, and some even come with a cash-out option that allows you to access the equity in your home.

If you’re looking to stay in your current home for a longer period of time and have enough equity saved up, opting for a 30-year fixed rate is probably the best choice. Although monthly payments are typically lower with this option, it’s important to keep in mind that you’ll end up paying more interest over time.

If you choose a 20-year fixed rate, you can spread your payments out over a shorter time period and save interest by repaying your loan 10 years sooner.

Your monthly payments will be higher with a 15-year fixed rate mortgage, but you’ll pay less interest and build equity more quickly.

With an interest-only loan, you’ll initially pay only the interest of the loan. After paying off the interest, you’ll then start make payments towards the principal. These loans aren’t recommended for most borrowers; however, if your goal is low monthly payments and don’t mind moving in a few years or having your income grow, then this type of loan may be best suited for you.

Adjustable-rate mortgages (ARM)

The 30-year ARM has a lower initial interest rate than fixed-rate loans, making it an attractive option for buyers who think they may sell their home before the mortgage adjusts. The fully indexed rate is usually reached after 5, 7 or 10 years.

Government Programs

Various mortgage loans dished out by the U.S. government are in place to help individuals become homeowners without putting them into unmanageable debt. These Loans are available to people with different backgrounds and financial standing.

FHA Loan

An FHA loan, which is insured by the Federal Housing Administration, can be a great option for borrowers who have poor credit or limited savings. The credit requirements are less stringent for an FHA loan; however, you will be required to buy private mortgage insurance if you do not have 20% equity in your home.

Streamline Refinance

An FHA Streamline Refinance may be a good option if you have a current FHA loan that is in good standing and you want to quickly lower your interest rate and monthly payment without an appraisal.

VA Loans

If you’re a veteran with a VA loan or are eligible for one, the Veteran’s Administration offers several refinancing options.

A cash-out VA refinance permits you to borrow up to 90% of your home’s present value if you want to use the equity in your home.

A rate-term refinance is a fixed-rate loan that allows you to finance up to 100% of the home’s value without mortgage insurance. If you currently have a conventional or ARM loan and want to switch to a VA loan, this would be an ideal option for you.

An Interest Rate Reduction Refinance Loan (IRRRL) enables VA loan holders to refinancing their home with lower interest rates and changed terms, without paying any out-of-pocket costs or needing an appraisal.

Steps for Refinancing a mortgage

Are you looking for a way to save money on your monthly mortgage payments? Refinancing your home loan could be the solution you’re looking for! Here are some helpful tips and steps to take if you’re considering refinancing your mortgage:

  • Set your goal: Reduced monthly payments, shorter loan term, or getting rid of FHA mortgage insurance?
  • Shop around for the best rate – don’t forget to look at fees, too!
  • Submit applications to 3-5 lenders within 2 weeks to minimize impact on your credit score.
  • Compare Loan Estimate documents from each lender before choosing one.
  • Lock in your interest rate.
  • Close on the loan and pay closing costs.

Refinancing your mortgage can be a great way to save money and reach your financial goals. Follow these steps to get the best results while refinancing!

Ultimately, refinancing your mortgage can be a smart move for any homeowner looking to save money and reduce their monthly payments. With the right rate and loan terms, you could significantly lower your monthly payment or shorten the length of your loan.

By taking the time to do your homework, you can make sure that you are selecting the best refinancing option for your needs and budget. Don’t wait – see if refinancing could be a beneficial move for you by contacting Option Financial today!