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When Is Home Refinancing The Right Decision?

May 24, 2008
Homeowners it seems are forever on the lookout for ways to cut down on their bills. And home refinancing has become the method of choice for many. But be careful before you jump into any deal. There are times when refinancing can end up costing you more than you save on your monthly bills. Let's begin by examining when a new loan makes sense.

Clearly the first thing to look at is your current mortgage. If you have an adjustable rate, a fixed rate loan at a low rate can normally save you money in the long run. Adjustable rate mortgages are good if you get your loan when rates are high, but in current rate environment they just don't make sense. If you can lock in a low rate, you will clearly save money over the length of the loan. When rates go back up, and they always do, you'll still have a great rate on your loan.

Another good time to refinance is if you have a balloon payment that will be due soon, and you simply don't have the funds available. Finally, if your current mortgage has a rate higher than the current market, then seriously look into refinancing. Even a savings of 0.25% can make a huge difference over the course of a 30 year loan.

With all the potential good things refinancing can provide, there are some things you need to look at carefully before you go ahead with the deal. Refinancing costs money up front, and some of the closing costs can be pretty hefty. Once you know those costs, you need to see how long it will take you to get them back from the savings on your monthly bill.

Why is this important? Well if you plan on moving in the near future, refinancing may end up costing you money. Be sure you are going to stay in your home long enough to make up the difference, otherwise you're just throwing money away.

Most newly refinanced loans will also come with pre-payment penalties. These can be quite costly, with an average cost of 2-5 years. If you want to pay off the loan early, you're also stuck paying the penalties. And again, if you might move and need a new loan while paying off your old one, the penalties may apply. These penalties must be measured against your monthly savings.

Finally, and perhaps most importantly, you'll want to look at your monthly payment. This is especially true if you're planning on taking advantage of a cash out option. The cash out option will give you spending money now, but it will also increase the balance on your loan. If your new interest rate is not significantly lower than what you are currently paying, your monthly payment could go up just because the balance is higher. You want a rate low enough that your payments will go down, in spite of the fact that your balance increases.

The bottom line is that home refinancing can be extremely beneficial to your bank account, but it can also jeopardize your financial health if you make a deal under the wrong conditions or at the wrong time. Weigh out the fees, costs and potential penalties against your monthly savings. If you see this will work, then begin shopping for a lender. Don't just take the first offer you get because there are a wide variety of terms and rates available. And be sure to get recommendations from friends and relatives as well. They've been through the process and can let you know if their lender is easy to work with.

Good decisions can be extremely beneficial to your financial well being.
About the Author
To find out more about home refinance go to Home-Mortgage-Refinancing-Loan.com. You'll get tips to help you get a new loan, and uncover how a home equity refinance can put cash in your pocket.
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