After tiptoeing the record line for the past six weeks, mortgage rates set a new record low this week. Credit it to whatever you want: President Obama winning the election, Jay Cutler getting concussed, or Thanksgiving coming around the corner. The fact of the matter is that the nationwide average for mortgage rates across the country has never been lower according to Freddie Mac’s weekly Primary Mortgage Market Survey.
There are times when it makes sense to refinance your mortgage. It’s important to have a clear financial objective in mind so that you’re more able to choose the most appropriate loan. Ultimately, the decision is up to you to decide when it’s best for you to refinance, based on your individual financial situation.
Refinance from an Adjustable Rate Mortgage (ARM) to a Fixed-Rate
It’s important to consider what mortgage rates are doing. Are mortgage rates rising or falling? If you have an adjustable rate mortgage (ARM), it may adjust to a rate that’s higher than a fixed-rate mortgage. Now might be a good time to consider refinancing to a fixed-rate loan.
However, you must also consider the amount of time you plan on being in your home. If you’re only going to be in your home for a few more years, it may make sense not to refinance out of your ARM. If you’re going to be in your home longer than seven years, it might be a smart move to refinance to a fixed-rate mortgage.
Refinance from a Fixed-Rate Mortgage to an ARM
Again, you need to consider how long you plan on being in your home. Many people move within nine years so it may not make sense to pay a higher interest rate for a 30-year fixed-rate mortgage when you’re not going to be in the home that long. Doing so may be costing you money. Consider refinancing to an ARM instead – you’ll get a lower rate and lower your monthly mortgage payment.
Lower Your Monthly Mortgage Payment
A drop of just one half to three quarters of a percentage point in interest can lower your monthly payment. If you don’t refinance, you may be paying too much every month for your loan, and that’s never a good financial move. There are a few different ways you can lower your monthly mortgage payment.
First, you can simply refinance to a lower interest rate. A lower rate generally means a lower monthly payment.
Second, you can change the term of your mortgage. For instance, if you have a 15-year mortgage, you can lengthen the term to 30 years. Since the balance of your mortgage is spread out over a longer period of time, your payment is lower. However, if you have a 30-year mortgage and one of your financial goals is long-term savings, you may want to consider shortening your term to 20 or even 15 years. Your payment will be higher, but you will pay much less in interest over the life of the loan, saving you thousands of dollars in the long run.
The third way to lower your payment is to refinance to an interest-only loan. Basically, with an interest-only loan, the minimum amount you are required to pay is the amount of interest for a certain period of time, though you can pay as much principal as you like. But you get the flexibility to pay less if you need or want to divert your money elsewhere, such as contributing to your 401k or saving for your child’s college tuition.
Use our refinance calculator to see how you could lower your monthly mortgage payment. Or, if you’re already in an FHA loan, find out if you could benefit from the new FHA Streamline refinance loan by answering a few questions online now.
Getting Cash from Your Home
The equity you have in your home can act like a savings account that you could access through a home equity loan or a cash-out refinance. This is usually done when you want to finance an important home improvement, pay for college or pay off high-interest credit card debt. Whatever your reason, this may be the right option for you.
Consolidating High-Interest Credit Card Debt
The difference between credit card debt and a mortgage can, financially speaking, mean thousands of dollars. Why? Because unlike your mortgage, the interest you pay on a credit card is not tax-deductible and you pay a higher rate than you would on your mortgage. Because of this, credit card debt is often referred to as “bad debt” whereas your mortgage is considered “good debt.” Using your home equity to pay off your high-interest credit card debt can save you money in the long run. Using your home equity, rather than your credit cards, to finance expensive purchases can also be a smart move. Be sure to consult your tax advisor. Trust us on this. Don’t deduct and just cross your fingers for good luck. Know what you are doing before you mess with your taxes!
Deciding on when to refinance your mortgage will depend on the circumstances of your situation: how long you’ll be in the home, what your financial goals are, whether interest rates are dropping, etc. It’s up to you to decide if it’s right for you.
If you still have questions, please call us at (800) 251-9080 to talk to a refinance expert today. We can help you determine which refinancing option is best for your situation.