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Time to Refinance?


When Is a Good Time to Refinance? Is Now the Time?

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News reports and talk about interest rates being lower or going lower always sparks a lot of interest for people who are looking to get out from under the higher rates they may now be paying. Although rate drops are appetizing to homeowners with higher interest rates, and buyers waiting to lock in lower rates, there is always a lot to consider and research. Do not be confused by the simple fact the rates appear to be lower so therefore you can get a better situation arranged for yourself.

In Response to Some Commonly Asked Questions, Here Are Seven Points to Consider:

  1. If I Wait a Bit Will the Rates Drop Even Further and Offer Me an Even Greater Advantage? Nobody can predict what will happen to the rates, there are just too many variables influencing the economy and the mortgage industry. One thing you can count on though is this; when they do go up they will at a much faster pace then when they were going down. If the rates that are currently available offer you a good position then take advantage of them while you can. If they dramatically drop again you can always refinance for the new lower rate if it is another great savings for you. All of this is on a case-by-case basis and you will need to be diligent about your research and understanding at every turn in the road. Do not let anyone tell you that they can predict what is going to happen, that is irresponsible and dangerous to your financial security, not theirs.

  2. Why Can't I Ever Get Quoted Rates as Good as the Ones Talked About on the TV and in the Press? That is most usually not the complete rate because rates are reported in two parts. The interest charged and the points paid. Most news reports only report on the interest portion of the rate and not on the points that a borrower will have to pay to secure a good rate. When reporting the national average they often times do not mention that borrowers may have to pay about one point for that rate. If you opt-out to not pay points then the rate will be higher.
  3. Should I Believe Them When I am Told That It Will Only Cost About $1,000 for the Closing Costs? Once again, every situation is unique and you will need to fully discuss it, do all of your calculations and check all of the agreements before proceeding. A good average to count on however is 2% of the purchase price of your prospective property. Most of the time there will be included in the closing costs a prepaid interest payment that covers the time between when you close and the first mortgage payment is made. In addition to some areas of the country requiring that property taxes be paid up front, this interest payment needs to be considered

    Note: Keep in mind that you are refinancing and you should have money in escrow from the former mortgage that can be used to cover the costs of the refi. So knowing that you will receive these funds, after transfer, should help matters.

  4. Is There Any Way to Avoid Any of These Closing Costs? Ask your lender if the appraisal and credit reports from your last mortgage can be used again. If a lot of time has not transpired between the two purchases this can be an option. Some times these documents can be re-certified for a fee that is less that having new ones drawn up.

  5. Do I need to Be Wary of Offers That Tout the Absence of Closing Costs Altogether? Again, if it is too good to be true, it's probably too good to be true. What they are saying is that the costs and fees associated with refinancing will be included in the overall price of the property and incorporated into the loan agreement itself, or the lender will pick up these fees and in turn raise the interest you will be expected to pay. So you see, it is not free at all, and it will ultimately cost you something. If increasing your mortgage a degree or two is acceptable to you, keep your eyes open, look at your option and only then proceed.

  6. Will I Benefit Significantly By Paying for Points? Specifically, when refinancing, points may not be such a good choice. The tax deductions for points are incremental and, if for example, you are getting points on a thirty-year mortgage, you will only be allowed to deduct 1/30th a year, thus taking many years before you actually do benefit from a lower interest rate that is the result of buying points.

  7. Do You Advise Switching From an ARM (adjustable rate mortgage) to a FRM (fixed rate mortgage) at This Time? Interest Rates are now at an all time low and that makes this a good time to get out of the ARM and back into a FRM. This will greatly limit your exposure when the rates do finally start to turn upwards again. Then, after some stability is regained in the mortgage market, you can look into getting back into an ARM.

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