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Refinancing Isn’t Just for Your Primary Mortgage

happy homeowners discussing refinancing mortgage with advisor

Refinancing your mortgage can be a game-changer when it comes to managing your finances and achieving your goals. Many homeowners are familiar with refinancing their initial purchase mortgage, but did you know that refinancing is not limited to just that?

In this comprehensive guide, we’ll explore the various options for refinancing different types of residential mortgage loans and discuss the considerations you need to keep in mind. Whether you have a home equity line of credit (HELOC), home equity loan, or reverse mortgage, refinancing could offer you significant benefits.

Refinancing different loan types

Let’s discuss each of the different type of popular home loan and what refinancing options you have available as a homeowner.

Refinancing a Purchase Mortgage

When interest rates drop, it’s a prime opportunity to consider refinancing your original purchase mortgage. By opting for a rate and term refinance, you can secure a lower interest rate, reduce your monthly payments, or change your mortgage terms to better align with your financial goals. But how much does the interest rate need to drop for a refinance to make sense? Generally, a rule of thumb is a reduction of 0.5% to 1% in interest rates to outweigh the costs associated with refinancing. It’s also worth considering refinancing from an adjustable-rate mortgage (ARM) to a fixed-rate mortgage to protect yourself from potential future interest rate increases.

Refinancing a Home Equity Line of Credit (HELOC)

If you have a HELOC, refinancing can bring several advantages. By refinancing your HELOC, you can convert to a fixed monthly payment and lock in a lower interest rate, extend the draw period, increase the available amount of equity you can use, or consolidate higher interest debt. This is particularly beneficial when your home has increased in value or interest rates have decreased.

Refinancing a Home Equity Loan

Similar to refinancing a HELOC, refinancing a home equity loan can offer benefits like securing a lower interest rate, changing the loan term, accessing additional cash, or consolidating other debt. This can help you streamline your financial obligations and potentially reduce your total monthly debt payments.

Refinancing a Reverse Mortgage

If your home’s value has significantly increased since taking out the reverse mortgage or if you want to add a spouse to the loan, refinancing could be beneficial. If your home’s value has increased or interest rates have dropped, refinancing a reverse mortgage allows you to access more of your home equity as a lump sum or receive additional monthly income — making retirement more comfortable! This can be especially valuable when you need funds for major expenses or want to enhance your income.

Considerations for any refinance

Several factors indicate when refinancing might be a wise decision. Keep an eye on interest rates and evaluate whether the current rates are significantly lower than what you’re paying on your existing mortgage. While the exact threshold may vary, a general guideline suggests that a reduction of 0.5 – 1% in interest rates is typically needed to make a meaningful difference and justify the costs of refinancing. Additionally, the remaining time on your loan, an approaching adjustment period for an ARM, or an increase in your property’s value can also be factors to consider. Finally, if your credit score has improved since obtaining your original mortgage, your home has increased in value, or your DTI (monthly debt payments, divided by gross income) has decreased, refinancing can be an opportunity to leverage your improved financial standing and potentially obtain better interest rates.

Qualifying for Refinancing

Before diving into the refinancing process, it’s important to understand the qualification criteria. Lenders typically assess factors such as credit score, debt-to-income ratio, employment history, and the amount of equity you have in your home (typically measured as loan-to-value ratio, or LTV). Ensure you meet the necessary requirements to increase your chances of approval and secure favorable terms.

Understanding the Costs of Refinancing

It’s crucial to be aware that refinancing any type of mortgage loan comes with costs. These may include appraisal fees, origination fees, closing costs, and other associated expenses. While the overall savings from refinancing can be substantial, it’s essential to factor in these costs and determine if the long-term benefits outweigh the upfront expenses, based on how long you expect to stay in your home.

Shopping Around for a Refinance

When considering refinancing, it’s crucial to shop around and compare loan offers from multiple lenders — luckily, House Numbers does exactly this! This step allows you to find the best terms, interest rates, and closing costs that suit your needs. Working with a mortgage professional like House Numbers can simplify the process and provide valuable insights and expertise. We can help you navigate the intricacies of refinancing and guide you towards lenders who offer competitive rates and favorable terms.

Refinancing more than your primary mortgage

In conclusion, refinancing isn’t just limited to your purchase mortgage. Whether you have a HELOC, home equity loan, or reverse mortgage, exploring refinancing options can help you reduce monthly payments, secure better interest rates, consolidate debt, or access more home equity. Consider your financial goals, evaluate the costs and benefits, and work with a mortgage professional to make informed decisions. Refinancing has the potential to enhance your financial well-being and put you on the path to achieving your dreams.

Disclaimer: The above is provided for informational purposes only and should not be considered tax, savings, financial, or legal advice. All information shown here is for illustrative purpose only and the author is not making a recommendation of any particular product over another. All views and opinions expressed in this post belong to the author.

Jeff Levinsohn

Written By Jeff Levinsohn

Jeff is the CEO of House Numbers and a home wealth management geek. He’s obsessed with tools and information that empower homeowners to save money, access their home equity, and build long-term wealth.