Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Benefits Of Refinancing Your Mortgage

Benefits Of Refinancing Your Mortgage

When you refinance a mortgage, you are converting the mortgage you already have into a new loan. The new loan usually has more favorable terms, such as a lower interest rate, that make refinancing worthwhile. Refinancing can have several important benefits, most of which add up to money saved over the life of the loan.

Refinancing helps you save money

Most people who refinance do so because the new mortgage will save money, usually because refinancing will allow them to lock in a lower interest rate than the one they currently have. Refinancing can help you save a significant amount of money over the life of the loan, even if the interest rate reduction is small. If you have a mortgage of several hundred thousand dollars, even a small interest rate reduction can save you thousands of dollars in interest. In fact, reducing your interest rate by just one point could save you around $5,000 on a fifteen year mortgage.

Refinancing can save you money in other ways, too, even if you are not able to lock in a lower interest rate. If your current mortgage is sub-prime because your credit rating was poor when you took out the loan, for example, refinancing could save a considerable amount of money if you’ve built up a better credit rating.

Refinancing can reduce the term of your mortgage

The potential to save a significant amount of money is the most obvious advantage of refinancing, but there is another important benefit that is often overlooked. This is the ability to refinance to a mortgage with reduced terms. For example, if you are able to refinance from a 30 year to a 20 or even 15 year mortgage, you’ll own your home outright in much less time.

Don’t forget, however, that reducing the terms of your mortgage mean your monthly payments increase. If you’re refinancing for this reason, it is important that you know your finances will remain secure enough that you can continue to meet the higher monthly repayments. The good news is refinancing for this reason is actually another way you can save money on your mortgage. Even though your monthly repayments are higher, reducing the term means you’ll pay significantly less money in interest over the life of the loan.

Refinancing lets you switch mortgage types

One of the main reasons many people refinance is to switch to a different mortgage type, for example from an adjustable rate mortgage to a fixed rate mortgage. Taking out an adjustable rate mortgage is an attractive option, especially for first time home buyers, since securing a low interest rate means lower repayments. However, many homeowners later feel that they would prefer the security of a fixed rate mortgage. Refinancing means that it’s possible to switch from an adjustable to a fixed interest rate, or vice versa, to ensure you have the mortgage that most benefits you. When is a good time to switch? It depends on many things, including your current financial situation, the state of the economy, and how long you plan to live in the home.

Refinancing can free up equity in your home

As you make mortgage payments over the months and years of the loan, you build up equity in your home. Every payment you make means you own a little bit more of the equity, and sometimes, it can be financially beneficial to tap into that equity. If you want to make improvements to increase the value of your home, fund college for your kids, or consolidate debts, for example, equity release can provide the necessary cash.

If you can get a lower interest rate when you are accessing the equity, so much the better – this will help compensate for the fact that removing some of the equity extends the life of the loan.

Time to Refinance?

Most homeowners will refinance a mortgage at least once, and statistics say that the average homeowner refinances their home every four years. That might seem a little high, but given that refinancing has so many benefits, it’s not difficult to see why refinancing is a popular option.

So when is refinancing a good idea? Look to the above list to determine when is the right time to refinance. If you can benefit by lowering your interest rate, reducing the terms of your mortgage, or switching to a more favorable mortgage type, or if you need to access some of the equity you’ve built up in your home, refinancing could be a good option.

These are not the only points to consider, of course, but they are a good starting point to think about if you are wondering whether refinancing will work for you.

By: Rachel Jackson2

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