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Should I Refinance My Mortgage Loan Now?

February 2, 2009

by Brandon Cornett

You’ve probably heard a lot about mortgage refinancing on the news lately. In fact, if you’re a homeowner you’ve probably received a few offers in the mail from lenders as well.

The reason you hear so much about this topic lately has a lot to do with the mortgage / foreclosure crisis we are seeing right now. Many homeowners are in situations similar to those they have heard about on the news, having an adjustable rate mortgage set to adjust in the near future … and facing a possible spike in mortgage payments as a result. So, these homeowners naturally look into refinancing as a way to avoid such payment hikes.

The question is — when should you refinance your mortgage loan, and when should you avoid it? This question is high on the list of many homeowners, so I will do my best to shed some light on the subject.

When Refinancing Makes Sense

There are some general rules you can use to determine whether or not a refi makes sense for your situation. Bear in mind, however, that these are just general rules of thumb. So don’t make any financial decisions based on these “rules” alone. Do some further research into the subject and seek the advice of a financial professional.

With that being said, here’s a basic guide on when to refinance a home loan, from a financial standpoint:

Switching from an ARM to a fixed rate — This is a common reason why homeowners pursue a refi in the first place, especially with all the negative press the adjustable rate mortgage (ARM) loan has been getting lately. Eventually, an ARM will adjust to a higher interest rate that catches a lot of homeowners off guard. So many people use refinancing as a way to move to a more predictable fixed-rate mortgage.

Capitalizing on Lower Interest Rates — This is another common reason why people refinance their home loans. When the rates are low, homeowners in certain situations can refi to a lower interest rate, and thus reduce their overall monthly mortgage payment.

The goal of both of these strategies is the same … to either (A) lower the interest rate on the loan, or (B) prevent the interest rate from rising through a mortgage adjustment. In both cases, the goal is to pay less money each month on the mortgage payment.

It’s Not Always a Good Idea

Now is a good time to point out that a mortgage refi is not always a good idea. And I can illustrate this through another rule of thumb: If the money you pay to refinance the loan (closing costs) exceeds the amount of money you save over the term of the new loan (lower interest rates), then it doesn’t make sense to pursue it. After all, nobody wants to pay more than they save in a financial transaction.

The key here is to do the proper research to find out what you would pay, as well as what you would save by refinancing. Once you’ve determined those numbers, you will have a much easier time deciding if a refi is right for you.

About the Author: Brandon Cornett publishes a blog about refinancing success as well as several other real estate websites. Visit the author online at http://www.mortgage-refinance-advice.com/blog

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