How to Know When to Refinance Your Mortgage

How to Know When to Refinance Your Mortgage
image: How to Know When to Refinance Your MortgageWhen interest rates drop, many homeowners wonder whether it’s worth the effort to go through the process of refinancing. The decision to refinance your mortgage depends on several key factors, including:

  • The current interest rate for which you can qualify
  • How long you plan to live there
  • How long it may take to recoup any closing costs
  • The reason you want to refinance (lower your payment/interest vs. consolidate debt or tap into home equity)

In many situations, refinancing is well worth the effort, as it can drop your monthly payment and reduce the amount of interest you’ll pay over the life of the loan. Refinancing is generally easier than securing financing for the property in the first place, and any equity you’ve built in the property aids in the refinancing process as well.

If you can qualify for an interest rate that is at least a full percentage point lower than what you currently have on the loan, it may be wise to refinance. It also makes sense if the refinance will allow you to eliminate private mortgage insurance (PMI) from your monthly payment.

As you decide whether you want to refinance your mortgage, consider any closing costs that you’ll have to pay. In most cases, the closing costs are between 3% and 6% of the loan value, so consider how long it would take to recoup the total costs based on your decreased monthly payment.

Some lenders offer to roll these into your loan as part of a refi, but you end up paying interest on the added cost over time. A “no-closing-cost” loan can also seem appealing, although this option is usually only available with a higher interest rate, which defeats the purpose of refinancing in the first place. As you consider these factors, you can make an informed decision as to whether a refi is worthwhile.

Sources: Nerd Wallet, Investopedia