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Should You Refinance Your Home Mortgage?

Should You Refinance Your Home Mortgage?

Housing costs are one of the largest components of most household budgets. With interest rates changing so frequently, you should periodically determine whether refinancing at current interest rates would save you money.

To determine whether you should consider refinancing, you need to compare the costs of obtaining a new mortgage with the savings you could enjoy with a reduced interest rate. You may also want to consider refinancing to a different type of mortgage, such as switching from a 5-year balloon to a 15-year fixed rate mortgage.

Here is an example and a worksheet that will help you determine if refinancing makes sense for you. You may want to print this article and use the worksheets. Rick and Carol have a home they bought 3 years ago for \$300,000 and they have 5 years remaining on balloon mortgage of \$200,000 with an interest rate of 6.25%. Their monthly payments are \$1231.43. They intend to live in their home for several years and would like to lock in a 30-year mortgage with a 4.375% fixed rate.

Rick and Carol's Example
 New Mortgage Costs Discount points (in \$) \$ - Origination points (if any) \$ 1500 Application fee \$ 475 Credit check fee \$ - Attorney fees (yours) \$ - Attorney fees (lender's) \$ - Title search fee \$ - Title insurance fee \$ - Appraisal fee \$ - Inspections \$ - Local fees (taxes, transfers) \$ - Other fees \$ 360 Total cost of new mortgage \$ 2335
 Calculating the Savings Monthly payment on current mortgage \$1231.43 Monthly payment on new mortgage \$998.57 Difference between two mortgage payments \$232.86 Divide total fees on new mortgage by monthly savings - This is the number of months to recover your costs. 10 months

In this example, Rick and Carol would save over \$2800 annually in mortgage payments and lock in a 30-year fixed rate mortgage. Over the course of the mortgage they would pay about \$83,000 less in total interest.

Worksheets for your use
 New Mortgage Costs Discount points (in \$) \$ Origination points (if any) \$ Application fee \$ Credit check fee \$ Attorney fees (yours) \$ Attorney fees (lender's) \$ Title search fee \$ Title insurance fee \$ Appraisal fee \$ Inspections \$ Local fees (taxes, transfers) \$ Other fees \$ Total cost of new mortgage \$
 Calculating Your Savings Monthly payment on current mortgage \$ Monthly payment on new mortgage \$ Difference between two mortgage payments \$ Divide total fees on new mortgage by monthly savings - This is the number of months to recover your costs.

There is a mortgage refinancing calculator as part of this website that can make the calculation easier. There is also a mortgage payment calculator that will calculate your monthly mortgage payment for any size mortgage with any interest rate.

Other considerations
When reviewing the feasibility of refinancing, you may also wish to consider refinancing a larger or smaller amount than the current balance of your mortgage. If you have excess funds available and believe you will have a hard time earning a return greater than the mortgage rate, you may want to pay down your mortgage and get a new mortgage that is smaller. If you have other liquidity needs, you may want to refinance a larger amount to free up some of the equity in your home.

Under the new tax law, mortgage interest is tax deductible up to a \$750,000 balance if you itemize your deductions on your tax return. Consult your tax advisor to see how this may apply to your situation.

Final thoughts
No interest rate environment lasts forever. Unfortunately, there is no crystal ball that will tell you when rates have reached their lowest level. Acting now to evaluate whether refinancing now makes economic sense and evaluating the type of mortgage you want can help you be in control of one of your largest household expenses.

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