Mortgage 101: This Is How Mortgage Refinancing Works, in Plain and Simple Terms

Mortgage 101: This Is How Mortgage Refinancing Works, in Plain and Simple TermsThere are so many unfamiliar terms involved in the real estate market that it can be easy to be confused by the jargon. However, some words are more important to learn than others if they can end up benefiting you in the long run. Whether or not you’ve heard of mortgage refinancing, here are the basics on what this may mean for your home and whether or not it’s an option you should consider.

Acquiring A Lower Rate

If you’re new to refinancing, the primary reason that most homeowners choose this option is to get a lower interest rate and pay less on the overall cost of their mortgage. Because a lower interest rate means that a higher amount is paid on the principal each month, you may be able to pay off your mortgage at a quicker rate. While this may sound ideal, you’ll need a certain percentage decrease in your interest rate in order to make this option financially beneficial.

A Shorter Loan Term

While refinancing doesn’t necessarily mean that you’ll be paying less on your mortgage payment each month, it does mean that you may be able to take advantage of a shorter loan term. Since the overall amount you pay on your mortgage may be lowered with refinancing, you may be able to pay off your mortgage more quickly without it bumping up the amount of your monthly payment significantly. There may be a slight difference, but the benefits can definitely outweigh the drawbacks when it comes to paying less over time.

Weighing The Refinancing Option

The decision to refinance may very well end up being a boon for your financial well-being, but it’s important to consider the pros and cons ahead of time in order to make an educated decision. You’ll also want to make sure you’ll be staying in your home a while to reap the benefits of your equity. Because there will be fees associated with utilizing this mortgage option, like closing costs and application fees, it’s important to look over the numbers and ensure that it works out in your favor at the end of the day.

Refinancing your home to acquire a lower interest rate can be a great financial decision, but it’s important to determine whether or not the price is right before you move forward with this option. If you’re currently considering refinancing your mortgage, contact one of our mortgage professionals for more information.

Refinancing This Spring? How to Choose Between Variable and Fixed Interest Rates

Refinancing This Spring? How to Choose Between Variable and Fixed Interest RatesFrom choosing a real estate agent to finding the right home, the process of getting a mortgage is rife with many different choices. If you’re investing down the road, it’s likely that you’ve heard about variable and fixed interest rates and are wondering about the differences between the two and how they can benefit you. While what will work best for you depends on your financial flexibility and market knowledge, here are some basics that will help you make a decision.

The Details on Fixed Rates

For many homeowners new to the market, the stability of a fixed rate is comforting because the interest rate will be set for the length of the loan period. This means your monthly mortgage payment will be the same and you will not be required to adjust your budget each month. While knowing your rate can offer financial security in a fluctuating market, it may actually end up costing more money down the road depending on what the rates are like over time.

All About Variable Rates

A fixed rate can provide security, but a variable rate is much like it sounds and will fluctuate with the market interest rate. This means that your monthly mortgage payment will not be fixed and in the event of market increases or decreases, your mortgage payment may change markedly. While the benefit of variable rates is that they can actually end up costing less down the road, they can be a burden for those who do not have market knowledge and are going to feel the stress of changing rates.

Choosing Between The Two

While it’s expected that interest rates will rise in the coming years, there are still no guarantees that variable rates will end up costing more than a fixed rate. This means that if you are comfortable with the fluctuations, a variable rate may be better, but if it’s consistency you’re looking for, you may want to choose a fixed rate. If you are struggling with financial stability month-to-month, a variable rate may be more economical over time, but a fixed rate will offer the security of knowing your costs.

There are benefits associated with fixed and variable rates, but it’s important to determine how comfortable you are with the real estate market and your finances before making a decision. If you’re currently in the market for a new home, contact your trusted mortgage professionals for more information.

Thinking About Refinancing Your Mortgage? 4 Ways to Ensure It’s Worth Your Time

Thinking About Refinancing Your Mortgage? 4 Ways to Ensure It's Worth Your TimeIf you’re familiar with the real estate market, you’ve likely heard the term ‘refinancing’ and may be wondering what this can mean for your mortgage and your financial well-being. While refinancing can be a great benefit for those who are looking for a lower interest rate or a different mortgage type, here are the details on what it can offer and whether or not it will work for you.

Acquiring A Lower Interest Rate

The most common reason people consider refinancing their home is to take advantage of a lowered interest rate. While it might seem like a minimal savings each month, a lower interest rate can add up to considerable savings over time and help you pay off your home loan more quickly. It’s just important to ensure that you’re aware of all the associated costs with refinancing before pursuing this option.

Limiting Your Loan Term

Refinancing also offers homeowners the opportunity to change the term of their loan, which can offer improved financial stability much sooner than expected. Many homeowners may avoid this option because it can bump up their monthly payment, but the difference in cost can be relatively insignificant while still offering financial freedom in less time.

Changing Your Mortgage Type

There are benefits and drawbacks of adjustable-rate and fixed-rate mortgages, and that’s why many people make the decision to refinance and opt out of their rate profile. While fixed-rate mortgages offer stability since you’ll know what you’re paying, an adjustable-rate will move with the market and can actually mean more savings at the end of the day. The option that will work best for you is dependent upon how comfortable you feel with the market.

Consolidating Your Debt

For homeowners who have a high debt load, refinancing can be a means of paying less in order to pay down debt at a more rapid rate. However, it’s important before choosing this option to determine a budget plan you can stick with, as refinancing to consolidate your debt does not necessarily mean you’ll be successful at paying it down. Ensure you weigh your options and potential savings carefully before making a decision.

Refinancing may seem like a good financial decision, but there are costs that go along with this mortgage option so it’s important to crunch the numbers to ensure it will work in your favor. If you’re currently considering refinancing, contact one of our mortgage professionals for more information.

Refinancing Your Mortgage: How To Get The Most Out of Your Home Equity

Refinancing Your Mortgage: How To Get The Most Out of Your Home EquityWith interest rates on the rise following the 2016 election, it’s possible that you’re now considering your options for refinancing your current mortgage. It can sometimes be hard to know all of the ins and outs of making this choice, though, and it’s important to know what’s involved. If you’re trying to determine if refinancing will work for you, here are some of the basics on this option and what it can mean for your equity.

Acquiring A Lower Interest Rate

One of the most common reasons for re-financing is to get a lower interest rate on a mortgage in times of a fluctuating market. While it may seem like this is more hassle than its worth, if you are able to get an improved rate, this can add up to considerable savings over time. While the once suggested percentage for refinancing was 2%, with economic times changing it can be worth looking at the numbers to determine if this option is financially viable for you.

Building More Equity

The great thing about negotiating a better interest rate for your mortgage is that it will not only lower your monthly mortgage payment, it can be a greater financial benefit over time. For example, if you have an 8% interest rate on a $250,000 home, adjusting your rate to 6% per month will mean a decrease in your monthly expenditures. Since you’ll be paying less interest overall, you can up your monthly payment and pay off the principal even more quickly.

Will Refinancing Benefit You?

While refinancing can be a great option if you’re able to get a better rate and are planning on staying in your home to reap the benefits, there are things to consider when making this choice. If you’re refinancing in order to make a big expense or renovate, these may be financially beneficial choices, but they can also be bad for the bank if budgeting isn’t kept in mind. It’s also worth realizing that there will be fees associated with refinancing, from the appraisal to the application, so ensure the new rate makes up for these costs.

There are many benefits associated with refinancing your mortgage, but it’s important to be aware of the costs involved and the financial benefit to you in the long term before making a decision. If you’re currently reconsidering your mortgage, contact one of our local mortgage professionals for more information.

Refinancing Your Mortgage? Know These Key Terms Before You Sign Your Paperwork

Refinancing Your Mortgage? Know These Key Terms Before You Sign Your PaperworkWhen it comes to your mortgage, there are a lot of key terms that are important for every homebuyer to know, and this is no less true than when it comes to refinancing your most important investment. Instead of leaving what’s unknown up to chance, it’s important to be aware of exactly what you’re looking at so you can get the best mortgage product available. If you’re currently considering refinancing and don’t want to get snared by unknown terminology, here are some terms you’ll need to watch out for.

Cash-Out Refinance

This type of refinance is a transaction where the home’s mortgage amount is higher than the existing mortgage amount, and cash-out refers to the extraction of equity from the homeowner’s home. While this type of refinancing can be a means of tapping into extra cash to help you with monthly expenses, it also means that the cash you take out of your equity will be added to the balance you already owe on your home.

Rate-and-Term Refinance

This type of mortgage transaction involves the refinancing of an existing mortgage so that you can take advantage of a different interest rate. While this type of change will not alter the amount of your home loan, it will adjust the interest which means that your monthly payments may be lowered and your may have a shorter amortization period due to overall reduced costs. These types of loans can often come with lower interest rates than cash-out refinances.

Streamline Refinancing

This type of refinancing is offered by the Federal Housing Administration (FHA) and the Department of Veterans Affairs, and it is also offered by certain financial institutions. While this type of refinancing has its own set of stipulations, it is directed at those who want to take advantage of low interest rates or get out of an adjustable rate mortgage (ARM). While you may need to have a financial appraisal done in order to qualify for this option, it’s also possible that this will not be required to qualify.

There are a lot of key terms that go along with having a mortgage and refinancing it, but if you’re considering your options it’s very important to know what all of them mean so you can be sure you’re making the best decision. If you’re currently considering refinancing your home and need helpful advice, contact your trusted mortgage professional for more information.

The Major Keys to Understanding When It’s Time to Refinance Your Mortgage

The Major Keys to Understanding When It's Time to Refinance Your MortgageAs a homeowner, you may have heard the term re-financing without being aware of exactly what it means, but there are a lot of pros and cons associated with what it can do for your financial situation. While getting a different new loan for your mortgage can be a good financial decision in certain situations, here are some things you should consider before you decide that this is the right choice for you.

Getting A Lower Rate

One of the main reasons that re-financing can be a popular option for many homeowners is that it can provide the opportunity for considerable money savings. Since you will be acquiring a new loan with a lower interest rate, this will be an opportunity to reduce your monthly payments, increase your equity at a faster rate and invest the extra funds into something else. While a lower rate can definitely mean money savings, it’s important to consult with a mortgage professional so you’re aware of any associated fees and can make a decision that will be financially beneficial.

Consolidating Your Debt

It is often the case that people will choose to refinance their mortgage with a lower-interest rate in the hopes of paying off the debt they’ve accumulated, but with the cost of refinancing this is not necessarily the best financial decision. While consolidating debt can be great if you go into it with a budget that you plan on sticking too, if you’re leaning too much on the idea of a lower interest rate meaning instant savings, it may be a good idea to take a look at the numbers.

Investing In Your Home

For many people, re-financing their mortgage is a good opportunity to renovate their home and increase its value. However, while renovating your home can be a good idea for resale, there are many home renovations that will not necessarily increase the value of your home and make up for the amount you’ve invested. If you’re making forward-thinking renovations, refinancing is one thing, but ensure you’ve seriously considered what will add value.

There can be a number of financial benefits when it comes to refinancing your mortgage, but it’s important to work out your tentative budget and crunch the numbers before you make a final decision. If you’re currently looking into re-financing your home and are curious about what it entails, contact your local mortgage professional for more information.

Are You Ready to Refinance Your Mortgage? Learn How to Do a Quick Refinancing Self-Assessment

Are You Ready to Refinance Your Mortgage? Learn How to Do a Quick Refinancing Self-AssessmentWhether you’ve decided to renovate your home or you would like to consolidate your debt, refinancing your mortgage can be an option in times of money trouble; however, it’s important to know whether or not this is the right step for you. If you’ve been considering refinancing recently and are wondering how to come to a decision, here are some questions you should ask yourself before wading into the water.

Do You Have The Extra Time?

It may sound silly, but looking into the details of financing your mortgage can take up a lot of time, and if it’s going to be stressful or tax your abilities too much, you may want to hold off until things change. Because there are so many details associated with refinancing, and the security of your largest investment hangs in the balance, it’s important to have the time to research and understand all the small stuff so you don’t fall victim to a bad loan or confusing mortgage terms.

What’s My Interest Rate?

It’s entirely possible that refinancing may not be worth it if you can’t get the interest rate you’re expecting, so don’t be taken in by low rates you may have come across. Because many unreliable lenders will offer the lowest rate to get your business, it’s a good idea to do the research and go with someone you can trust. Your credit score and financial standing will have a lot to do with the rate you qualify for, but if the interest isn’t as low as you’ve calculated, it may not be a beneficial financial decision in the end.

Will This Help My Financial Situation?

No one decides to move forward with a mortgage refinancing without thinking that it’s a good financial decision, and that’s why it’s so important to carefully weigh all of the variables before deciding refinancing is for you. From a job loss to a home relocation, there are many things that come up in life that we are not always financially prepared for, so make sure to consider as many possible pros and cons as you can before moving forward with this option.

Many people think that refinancing their mortgage will improve their financial situation and eliminate their debt, but it’s important to consider all of the outcomes of this choice before coming to any final decision. If you’re currently considering refinancing, you contact your local mortgage professional for more information.

Thinking about Refinancing? 3 Ways That You Can Boost Your Home’s Assessed Value First

Thinking about Refinancing? 3 Ways That You Can Boost Your Home's Assessed Value FirstIn an effort to boost the value of their property, many homeowners invest in renovations that will help them sell at a higher price. However, with all of the renovation options, it can be hard to know what kind of fix-ups are really worth investing time and money into. If you’re looking at all of your options for home improvements, here are some surefire fixes that won’t stress the bank and will probably bump up the offering price.

Add In Stainless Steel

The look and functionality of the kitchen is one of the deciding factors for many homebuyers, and this means that if you have old appliances or an outdated look, you should definitely spend some money on a little upgrading. Since kitchen renovations can be a significant expense when it comes to knocking out walls and adding an island, you may want to stick with smaller stuff like a stainless steel appliance replacement or even renovating your cabinets for a more up-to-date look.

Increase Energy Efficiency

With the push towards reducing overall housing costs and being environmentally sustainable, making your home more energy efficient can be a huge selling feature for the kind of buyers who will be able to save money as a result of renos. While there are many financially taxing overhauls that can seriously bust the bank, try simple fixes like adding extra insulation where drafts exist, and installing LED lights for lowered energy costs and longer light bulb expectancy.

Prep For Paint

It may require a little bit of work to get the job done, but re-painting your home can be one of the best, and most economical, means for upping the value of your home. While painting can still be an economical option even with professional painters, a shiny new coat can take years off the look of your house and instantly improve its appearance. You just need to make sure you choose a neutral color and a high-quality paint for maximum effect.

While taking on home renovations will require a bit of spending, it can be a great idea if you’re re-financing your home and are looking to boost its value. The only thing to keep in mind is making sure you choose the kind of fixes that will be inexpensive and popular on the market. If you’re currently looking into your options for re-financing, contact your trusted mortgage professional for more information.

Refinancing to Pay for Renovations? Consider the VA’s Energy Efficient Mortgage Program

Refinancing to Pay for Renovations? Consider the VA's Energy Efficient Mortgage ProgramMaking renovations that are energy efficient is not just a great way to reduce energy output, but it’s also an effective way of decreasing monthly utility costs. It serves as a one-time investment that will save money in the long run.

However, renovations are costly and not everybody has the extra finances required to make energy efficient changes. This is where the VA’s energy efficient mortgage (or EEM) program comes into play.

The program is designed to allow veterans to apply for a new mortgage or refinance an existing one with extra funds to renovate the home to be up to energy efficient standards.

The Three Tiers Under The VA’s Energy Efficient Mortgage Program

The VA has three tiers for the cost of renovations to be done under the EEM program. The lowest, and easiest to be accepted for, is for improvements that will total under $3,000. A list of costs or a contractor’s quote may be required in the application process.

The second tier is for renovations that will cost between $3,001 and $6,000. This will require the homeowner or homebuyer to get a Home Energy Rating System report to detail how efficient a home is currently and what can be done to decrease its HERS rating.

The final tier is for any improvements to the home that will cost over $6,000. This is the most difficult tier to receive acceptance for as both the Department of Veterans Affairs and the private lender will need to approve the renovations.

Types Of Improvements Under The EEM Program

The program covers a variety of renovations for the home. These include: new insulation to walls, floors and ceilings, solar powered heating and cooling systems, thermal doors, thermal windows and new caulking and weather stripping.

There are also items that will not be covered by the program, including new roofing, vinyl siding and air conditioning units.

Using The EEM Program To Receive A Larger Loan

Any veteran or currently active military member looking to buy a brand new home can still benefit greatly from the energy efficient mortgage program. If a new home undergoes a HERS report and passes as being energy efficient, this can be applied to a VA mortgage to receive as much as $6,000 extra on the loan.

Speak with your local mortgage professional to go into more detail on the intricacies of refinancing under the EEM program and whether or not your home will qualify. 

The HARP Refinance Program Has Been Extended into 2016: Here’s How You Can Take Advantage

The HARP Refinance Program Has Been Extended into 2016: Here's How You Can Take AdvantageWith the Home Affordable Refinancing Program recently being extended until the last day of December, 2016, many homeowners who have found their assets in a challenging situation have been given a second chance to apply and receive an affordable mortgage.

By taking advantage of the HARP program, eligible borrowers can refinance to the current mortgage rates on their homes while avoiding paying for private mortgage insurance or putting down the principal.

A Quick Primer On The HARP Refinancing Program

With the economy in a strong downturn in 2008, the value of millions of American homes plunged and the owners found themselves owning property with negative equity.

The Home Affordable Refinancing Program was created by the government to assist people whose home values were lower than the outstanding balance on their mortgages. Previously it would have been impossible to refinance for a better interest rate on the current value of the home, so HARP was designed to help any of these borrowers stay above water.

Who Is Eligible For HARP Refinancing?

There is a certain set of criteria that needs to be met in order to qualify for the HARP refinancing program, but two major points stand out: The mortgage must have been granted earlier than May 31, 2009 and it must have been granted by either Fannie Mae or Freddie Mac.

It is important to point out that many banks do not back their own mortgages and work as a servicer, a middle-man to collect the mortgage that is actually backed by Fannie Mae or Freddie Mac. Many borrowers believe they do not qualify without double checking with their lender to see if the mortgage was granted by Fannie Mae or Freddie Mac, so it is imperative to contact the lender or check online to see who granted the mortgage.

There are also several disqualifiers that should be known. With certain exceptions, many borrowers who have previously refinanced their home under the HARP program are ineligible. The other major factor is that homes must have a loan-to-value ratio of 80% or higher.

What Is The Next Step For Eligible Borrowers?

The next step for anybody eligible for the HARP refinancing program is to check the current rates and see if refinancing would be beneficial. Your local mortgage professional will have experience with the HARP application process and will be able to confirm today’s rates to see if applying is the right move.