Are You Considering Re-Financing? Homeowners who are considering re-financing their home may have a wealth of options available to them. However, these same homeowners may find themselves feeling overwhelmed by this wealth of options. This process doesn’t have to be so difficult though.
Homeowners can greatly assist themselves in the process by taking a few simple steps. First the homeowner should determine his refinancing goals. Next the homeowner should consult with a re-financing expert and finally the homeowner should be aware that re-financing is not always the best solution. Determine Your Goals for Re-Financing The first step in any re-financing process should be for the homeowner to determine his goals and why he is considering re-financing. There are many different answers to this question and none of the answers are necessarily right or wrong. The most important thing is that the homeowner is making a decision which helps him achieve his financial goals. While there are no right or wrong answer to why re-financing should be considered there are, however, certain reasons for re-financing which are very common. These reasons include: * Reducing monthly mortgage payments * Consolidating existing debts * Reducing the amount of interest paid over the course of the loan * Repaying the loan quicker * Gaining equity quicker Although the reasons listed above are not the only reason homeowners might consider re-financing, they are some of the most popular reasons. They are included in this article for the purpose of getting the reader thinking. The reader may find their mortgage re-financing strategy fits into one of the above goals or they may have a completely different reason for wanting to re-finance. The reason for wanting to re-finance is not as important as determining this reason. This is because a homeowner, or even a financial advisor, will have a difficult time determining the best re-financing option for a homeowner if he does not know the goals of the homeowner. Consult with a Re-Financing Expert Once a homeowner has figured out why they want to re-finance, the homeowner should consider meeting with a re-financing expert to determine the best refinancing strategy. This will likely be a strategy which is financially sound but is also still geared to meeting the needs of the homeowner. Homeowners who feel as though they are particularly well versed in the subject of re-financing might consider skipping the option of consulting with a re-financing expert. However, this is not recommended because even the most educated homeowner may not be aware of the newest re-financing options being offered by lenders. While not understanding all the options may not seem like a big deal, it can have a significant impact. Homeowners may not even be aware of mistakes they are making but they may here of friends who re-financed under similar conditions and receive more favorable terms. Hearing these scenarios can be quite disheartening for some homeowners especially if they could have saved considerably more while re-financing. Consider Not Re-Financing as a Viable Option Homeowners who are considering re-financing may realize the importance of evaluating a number of different re-financing options to determine which option is best but these same homeowners may not realize they should also carefully consider not re-financing as an option. This is often referred to as the “do nothing” option because it refers to the conditions which will exist if the homeowner does not make a change in their mortgage situation. For each re-financing option considered, the homeowner should determine the estimated monthly payment, amount of interest paid during the course of the loan, year in which the loan will be fully repaid and the amount of time the homeowner will have to remain in the home to recoup closing costs associated with re-financing. Homeowners should also determine these values for the current mortgage. This can be very helpful for comparison purposes. Homeowners can compare these results and often the best option is quite clear from these numeric calculations. However, if the analysis does not yield a clear cut answer, the homeowner may have to evaluate secondary characteristics to make the best possible decision. Word count 677
Benefits of Re-Financing There are a number of benefits which may be associated with re-financing a home. While there are some situations where re-financing is not the right decision, there are a host of benefits which can be gained from re-financing under favorable conditions. Some of these benefits include lower monthly payments, debt consolidation and the ability to utilize the existing equity in the home. Homeowners who are considering re-financing should consider each of these options with their current financial situation to determine whether or not they wish to re-finance their home. Lower Monthly Payments For many homeowners the possibility of lower monthly payments is a very appealing benefit of re-financing. Many homeowners live paycheck to paycheck and for these homeowners finding an opportunity to increase their savings can be a monumental feat. Homeowners who are able to negotiate lower interest rates when they re-finance their home will likely see the benefit of lower monthly mortgage payments resulting from the decision to re-finance. Each month homeowners submit a mortgage payment. This payment is typically used to repay a portion of the interest as well as a portion of the principle on the loan. Homeowners who are able to refinance their loan at a lower interest rate may see a decrease in the amount they are paying in both interest and principle. This may be due to the lower interest rate as well as the lower remaining balance. When a home is re-financed, a second mortgage is taken out to repay the first mortgage. If the existing mortgage was already a few years old, it is likely the homeowner already had some equity and had paid off some of the previous principle balance. This enables the homeowner to take out a smaller mortgage when they re-finance their home because they are repaying a smaller debt than the original purchase price of the home. Debt Consolidation Some homeowners begin to investigate re-financing for the purpose of debt consolidation. This is especially true for homeowners who have high interest debts such as credit card debts. A debt consolidation loan enables the homeowner to use the existing equity in their home as collateral to secure a low interest loan which is large enough to repay the existing balance on the home as well as a number of other debts such as credit card debt, car loans, student loans or any other debts the homeowner may have. When re-financing is done of the purpose of debt consolidation there is not always an overall increase in savings. Those who are seeking to consolidate their debts are often struggling with their monthly payments and are seeking an option which makes it easier for the homeowner to manage their monthly bills. Additionally, debt consolidation can also simplify the process of paying monthly bills. Homeowners who are apprehensive about participating in monthly bill pay programs may be overwhelmed by the amount of bills they have to pay each month. Even if the value of these bills is not worrisome just the act of writing several checks each month and ensuring they are sent, on time, to the correct location can be overwhelming. For this reason, many homeowners often re-finance their mortgage to minimize the amount of payments they are making each month. Using the Existing Equity in the Home Another popular reason for re-financing is to use the existing equity in the home. Homeowners who have a considerable amount of equity in their home may find they are able to cash out some of this equity for other purposes. This may include making improvements to the home, starting a business, taking a dream vacation or pursuing a higher degree of education. The homeowner is not limited in how they can use the equity in their home and may re-finance a home equity line of credit which can be used for any purpose imaginable. A home equity line of credit is different from a loan because the funds are not disbursed all at once. Rather the funds are made available to the homeowner and the homeowner can withdraw these finds at anytime during the draw period. Word count 686
Checking Mortgage Rates Online Homeowners who are planning to re-finance their home may find the Internet to be a very worthwhile resource. The Internet is useful because it can give the homeowner a wealth of information as well as the ability to compare different rates from different lenders at their convenience. While these options have made re-financing a more convenient process there is more potential for danger. However, homeowners who exercise a small amount of common sense in using the Internet for re-financing often find they are not at any additional risk. Comparison Shop at Your Convenience One of the most popular advantages to researching re-financing online is the ability to comparison shop at the homeowner’s convenience. This is important because many homeowners work long hours and often find they are not able to meet with lenders during regular business hours because of job restraints. The Internet, however, is open 24 hours a day and allows homeowners to research their options, make important calculations or receive online quotes at any time of the day through the use of automated systems. Homeowners can also take their time comparing the quotes they receive from these lenders online instead of feeling pressured to provide an immediate response. While homeowners may have some additional time available to them, these same homeowners should realize they do need to act relatively quickly to lock in estimates they receive as interest rates are often time sensitive in nature and cannot be guaranteed for long periods of time. Use Only Reliable Resources Homeowners who are using the Internet to research re-financing options and obtain quotes should carefully consider their sources when making important decisions regarding the subject of re-financing. Homeowners who stick with well known lenders and established websites will not likely encounter problems but those who select a new lender may be surprised by the results of the re-financing attempt. Homeowners who are unsure about the reliability of a particular resource or lender should do additional research on the company. One of the easiest ways to do this is to consult the Better Business Bureau (BBB). The BBB may be able to provide the homeowner with valuable information regarding the number of previous complaints against the company. A company who has a large number of unresolved complaints should be considered an unreliable company. However, homeowners should not assume companies without a significant number of complaints are reputable unless the company has been in existence for a number of years and is a member of the BBB. Homeowners should also take care not to be fooled by fancy web design. A website which looks very professional is not necessarily a website which is accurate and informative. Many skilled website designers can create websites which are both attractive and professional looking. These website designers can also optimize a website for particular mortgage related keywords so users find the page easily when searching for these terms but this does not necessarily make the website designer knowledgeable about the subject to re-financing. Confirm Loan Terms in Person before Committing While shopping for re-financing options online is certainly easy and convenient, homeowners should consider completing the application process either in person or over the phone instead of relying on an automated system. While the Internet is good for research purposes, homeowners can take advantage of face to face meetings or telephone conferences to ask all of their relevant questions. Asking all of these questions will help the homeowner to ensure he fully understand the loan terms as well as all of his available options. Completing the re-financing process in person or over the phone can also prevent the homeowner from being surprised by any elements of the mortgage re-finance. This may include additional fees which are tacked on during the processing of the application, rates which are only available in certain situations or other elements of the re-financing agreement which could significantly impact the homeowner’s decision making process. Word count 656
Choosing a Fixed or ARM Option One of the most important decisions a homeowner will have to make when deciding to re-finance their home is whether they want to refinance with a fixed mortgage, an adjustable rate mortgage (ARM) or a hybrid loan which combines the two options. The names are pretty much self explanatory but basically a fixed rate mortgage is a mortgage where the interest rate remains constant and an ARM is a mortgage where the interest rate varies. The amount the interest rate varies is usually tied to an index such as the prime index. Additionally there are usually clauses which prevent the interest rate from rising or dropping dramatically during a specific period of time. This safety clause provides protection for both the homeowner and the lender. Advantages of a Fixed Option A fixed re-financing option is ideal for homeowners with good credit who are able to lock in a favorable interest rate. For these homeowners the interest rate they are able to retain makes it worthwhile for the homeowner to re-finance at the new interest rate. The major advantage to this type of re-financing options is stability. Homeowners who re-finance with a fixed mortgage rate do not have to be concerned about how their payments may vary during the course of the loan period. Disadvantages of a Fixed Option Although the ability to lock in a favorable interest rate is an advantage it can also be considered a disadvantage. This is because homeowners who re-finance to obtain a favorable interest rate will not be able to take advantage of subsequent interest rate drops unless they re-finance again in the future. This will result in the homeowner incurring additional closing costs when they re-finance again. Advantages of an ARM Option An ARM re-finance option is favorable in situations where the interest rate is expected to drop in the near future. Homeowners who are skilled at predicting trends in the economy and interest rates may consider re-financing with an ARM if they expect the rates to drop during the course of the loan period. However, interest rates are tied to a number of different factors and may rise unexpectedly at any time despite the predictions by industry experts. A homeowner who can predict the future would be able to determine whether or not an ARM is the best re-financing option. However, since this is not possible homeowners have to either rely on their instincts and hope for the best or select a less risky option such as a fixed interest rate. Disadvantages of an ARM Option The most obvious disadvantage to an ARM re-financing option is that the interest rate may rise significantly and unexpectedly. In these situations the homeowner may suddenly find themselves paying significantly more each month to compensate for the higher interest rates. While this is a disadvantage, there are some elements of protection for both the homeowner and the lender. This often comes in the form of a clause in the terms of the contract which prevents the interest rate from being raised or lowered by a certain percentage over a specific period of time. Consider a Hybrid Re-Financing Option Homeowners who are undecided and find certain aspects of fixed rate mortgages as well as certain aspects of ARMs to be appealing might consider a hybrid re-financing option. A hybrid loans is one which combines both fixed interest rates and adjustable interest rates. This is often done by offering a fixed interest rate for an introductory period and then converting the mortgage to an ARM. In this option, lenders typically offer introductory interest rates which are extremely enticing to encourage homeowners to choose this option. A hybrid loan may also work in the opposite way by offering an ARM for a certain amount of time and then converting the mortgage to a fixed rate mortgage. This version can be quite risky as the homeowner may find the interest rates at the conclusion of the introductory period are not favorable to the homeowner. Word count 669
Choosing a Lender Choosing a lender is a very important part of the process of re-financing a home. Understanding the different re-financing options and knowing how each of these options work is very important but none of this matters at all if the homeowner is unable to find a lender who is willing to offer them the rates and terms they are seeking. Choosing a lender can be a long and difficult process but there are some ways to make it easier. One simple way to make it easier is to ask for advice from friends or family members who recently re-financed. Additionally, homeowners can do their own research to determine which lenders are able to offer them the best rate. Finally the homeowner should determine whether or not the finances should be the governing factor in choosing a lender. Surprisingly enough, in most cases it is not. Ask for Advice from Friends and Family Members Friends and family members who recently refinanced can be a homeowner’s most valuable resource in the process of selecting a lender. These friends and family members are so valuable because they will most likely be willing to offer you a quite candid opinion of the lender they used. This opinion may be either positive or negative but in either case it is useful to the homeowner. If the opinion is negative the homeowner can remove this lender from their list of lenders to consider. Conversely if the lender comes highly recommended, the homeowner may consider this lender more carefully. Comparison Shop Homeowners who want to know which lender is offering them the best interest rate and financial terms should do a great deal of comparison shopping. The homeowner may even consider requesting quotes from each and every lender. This should make it perfectly clear which lenders are willing to offer the homeowner more favorable rates. When comparing these quotes all of the factors should be considered to ensure the quotes are being compared fairly. For example each quote should be broken down to determine the monthly savings, total savings, etc. All of this statistical data will make it much easier for the homeowner to make a wise decision when the time comes. Consider More than Finances Finally, while interest rates, loan terms and other financial matters are all certainly important none of these are more important than being treated fairly by the lender. For this reason, the homeowner should carefully consider all of their lenders and should determine whether or not they feel as though the lender is responsive to his needs. For example, a lender who does not return calls in a timely fashion or answer questions truthfully and accurately may not be the ideal lender for a homeowner even if he is the lender who is offering the most favorable rates. Additionally, homeowners should trust their instincts regarding their trust in the lender. Some lenders simply do not appear to know what they are talking about. Homeowners might be inclined to avoid these individuals because they may end up doing more harm than good during the re-financing process. Conversely some homeowners may be immediately impressed by the honesty and intelligence of another lender. In most cases, the homeowner would likely choose the second lender as long as the rates offered by each lender were comparable. Word count 553
Comparison Shopping When Re-Financing Homeowners who are re-financing their home for the first or even the second or third time should thoroughly research all of the available options to ensure the best possible interest rate and terms are secured. Homeowners are sometimes lazy when it comes to re-financing. There may a large drop in interest rates or a change in the financial situation which warrants a re-finance. Although the homeowner may be aware that a re-finance is warranted, the homeowner may not be aware that it sometimes takes a great deal of work to find the best possible rates and terms. Homeowners are often inclined to re-finance with the same lender who granted the original mortgage or with the same lender who handled prior re-finances. The theory behind this reasoning is along the same lines as, “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.” These homeowners figure their current mortgage is adequate and they are happy with the current lender so there is no need to investigate further options. However, this cavalier attitude can be quite costly for the homeowners. Try All the Options Homeowners who are considering re-financing their home should contact a number of lenders and obtain rate quotes from each of them. When soliciting quotes the homeowners should consider all of their available options but should limit these options to established lender. While a newer lender may be offering fantastic rates and loan terms it is considered quite risky to go with this type of lender as opposed to a more established lender. Homeowners who wish to further investigate smaller lenders who do not have an established history should proceed with caution. Unless the lender has trusted friends or family members who are willing to vouch for the lender, the homeowner should investigate these smaller lenders carefully. Visiting a website address is not the best way to ensure credibility. Designing a professional looking website is a fairly simple process. Most website designers could design and upload such a website in less than a day. Friendly Competition When comparison shopping for the most favorable rates, homeowners should make it well known that they are shopping around for rate quotes and are not making a decision immediately. Lenders who know they have some competition may be more likely to offer a lower interest rate than they would if they did not think the homeowner was considering other options. Although this may not seem quite fair to the lender, the business of re-financing is a competitive business. Just like a plumber might offer his most competitive rate if he knows the homeowner is seeking estimates from a number of different plumbers, lenders are apt to do the same. They make their money from homeowners and having a homeowner re-finance their mortgage does not help them out at all financially. Some lenders may think the homeowner is bluffing and may not offer the best rate initially. However, if the homeowner rejects the offer and states they have a better offer with another lender, the first lender may be enticed to offer an even lower interest rate just to see if they can sway the homeowners. While cost is certainly important, it is not the only factor to consider. Some homeowners might re-finance with a lender who offers slightly higher rates if the homeowner feels as though this lender is more responsive to his needs. Word count 562
Does It Pay to Re-Finance? This is a question many homeowners may have when they are considering re-financing their home. Unfortunately the answer to this question is a rather complex one and the answer is not always the same. There are some standard situations where a homeowner might investigate the possibility of re-financing. These situations include when interest rates drop, when the homeowner’s credit score improves and when the homeowner has a significant change in their financial situation.
While a re-finance may not necessarily be warranted in all of these situations, it is certainly worth at least investigating. Drops in the Interest Rate Drops in interest rates often send homeowners scrambling to re-finance. However the homeowner should carefully consider the rate drop before making the decision to re-finance. It is important to note that a homeowner pays closing costs each time they re-finance. These closings costs may include application fees, origination fees, appraisal fees and a variety of other costs and may add up quite quickly. Due to this fee, each homeowner should carefully evaluate their financial situation to determine whether or not the re-financing will be worthwhile. In general the closing fees should not exceed the overall savings and the amount of time the homeowner is required to retain the property to recoup these costs should not be longer than the homeowner plans to retain the property. Credit Score Improvements When the homeowner’s credit scores improve, considering re-financing is warranted. Lenders are in the business of making money and are more likely to offer favorable rates to those with good credit than they are to offer these rates to those with poor credit. As a result those with poor credit are likely to be offered terms such as high interest rates or adjustable rate mortgages. Homeowners who are dealing with these circumstances may investigate re-financing as their credit improves. The good thing about credit scores is mistakes and blemishes are eventually erased from the record. As a result, homeowners who make an honest effort to repair their credit by making payments in a timely fashion may find themselves in a position of improved credit in the future. When credit scores are higher, lenders are willing to offer lower interest rates. For this reason homeowners should consider the option or re-financing when their credit score begins to show marked improvement. During this process the homeowner can determine whether or not re-financing under these conditions is worthwhile. Changed Financial Situations Homeowners should also consider re-financing when there is a considerable change in their financial situation. This may include a large raise as well as the loss of a job or a change in careers resulting in a considerable loss of pay. In either case, re-financing may be a viable solution. Homeowners who are making considerably more money might consider re-financing to pay off their debts earlier. Conversely, those who find themselves unable to fulfill their monthly financial obligations might turn to re-financing as a way of extending the debt which will lower the monthly payments. This may result in the homeowner paying more money in the long run because they are stretching their debt over a longer pay period but it might be necessary in times of need. In these cases a lower monthly payment may be worth paying more in the long run. Word count 553
Finding Re-Financing Information Homeowners who are considering re-financing but are not knowledgeable about the subject have a number of options available to them for finding more accurate information regarding the types of re-financing options available as well as the ways to obtain the best available rates and tips for finding a reputable lender. This information can be obtained through a number of resources including published books, Internet websites and conversations with experts in the financial industry who specialize in the area of re-financing. All of these sources can be very helpful but there are also precautions homeowners must take when using each information source. Taking these precautions will help to ensure the homeowner is receiving accurate information. Using Books for Research Published books are often considered to be one of the most reliable resources for researching re-financing options. However, not all books on the subject are created useful. Readers may find some books provide a great deal of useful, current information while others books are filled with outdated information and information which is not 100% accurate. The best way to select a book or books when researching the subject of re-financing is to start the search with books that were only recently published. This is important because the financial industry is continually evolving and as a result books which were published only a few years ago may already be considered out of date. Homeowners should also seek out independent reviews when considering books on the subject of re-financing. This is important because books which consistently receive solid reviews from consumers are likely to be worthwhile. Conversely books which consistently receive negative reviews are likely to not be worthwhile. Homeowners should seek out highly recommended books while avoiding those that are not highly recommended. This may prevent the homeowner from wasting time reading books which are not informative and may even be inaccurate. Using the Internet for Research The Internet is another resource which can be very valuable for homeowners who are considering re-financing their home. The Internet is filled with valuable information but there is also a great deal of misinformation floating around on the Internet. Homeowners who are completely uninformed about the re-financing process may not be able to distinguish between the useful information and the misinformation. As a result these homeowners may be led astray by inaccurate information on the Internet. Homeowners who wish to avoid the potential for this problem should consider verifying the information they find online through an outside source such as a published book from a renowned author or by conferring with an expert in the subject of re-financing. Homeowners should also do the majority of their research on well established websites. This includes websites owned and operated by major lenders which have been in business for years. The information on these websites is likely to be much more up to date and accurate than websites which are created for profit by website owners. Consulting with Re-Financing Experts Finally, consulting with financial experts who specializes in re-financing can be very helpful for homeowners who are considering re-financing. This might be the most expensive option as many of these experts will likely charge a fee for their services but it can also be the most reliable source of information. There are a number of advantages to consulting with an industry professional as opposed to researching the subject independently through published resources. The most significant advantage is the ability to ask questions throughout the re-financing process. This will help to ensure the homeowner fully understands the available options. It will also help to ensure the homeowner receives the best possible re-financing option for his specific needs. The re-financing process works best when the homeowner offers their input about the type of re-financing they are seeking as well as the benefits they hope to obtain through re-financing. The re-financing expert can than make a better recommendation which will suit the homeowner’s needs. Word count 655
Is It Time to Re-Finance? Whether or not to re-finance is a question homeowner may ask themselves many times while they are living in their home. Re-financing is essentially taking out one home loan to repay an existing home loan. This may sound odd at first but it is important to realize when this is done properly it can result in a significant cost savings for the homeowner over the course of the loan. When there is the potential for an overall savings it might be time to consider re-financing.
There are certain situations which make re-financing worthwhile. These situations may include when the credit scores of the homeowners improve, when the financial situation of the homeowners improves and when national interest rates drop. This article will examine each of these scenarios and discuss why they may warrant a re-finance.
When Credit Scores Improve There are currently so many home loan options available, that even those with poor credit are likely to find a lender who can assist them in realizing their dream of purchasing a home. However, those with poor credit are likely to be offered unfavorable loan terms such as high interest rates or variable interest rates instead of fixed rates. This is because the lender considers these homeowners to be higher risk than others because of their poor credit. Fortunately for those with poor credit, many credit mistakes can be repaired over time. Some financial blemishes such as bankruptcies simply disappear after a number of years while other blemishes such as frequent late payments can be minimized by maintaining a more favorable record of repaying debts and demonstrating an ability to repay existing debts. When a homeowner’s credit score improves considerable, the homeowner should inquire about the possibility of re-financing their current mortgage. All citizens are entitled to a free annual credit report from each of the three major credit reporting bureaus. Homeowners should take advantage of these three reports to check their credit each year and determine whether or not their credit has increased significantly. When they notice a significant increase, they should consider contacting lenders to determine the rates and terms they may be willing to offer. When Financial Situations Change A change in the homeowner’s financial situation can also warrant investigation into the process of re-financing. A homeowner may find himself making considerably more money due to a change in jobs or considerably less money due to a lay off or a change in careers. In either case the homeowner should investigate the possibility of re-financing. The homeowner may find an increase in pay may allow them to obtain a lower interest rate. Alternately a homeowner who loses their job or takes a pay cut as a result of a change in careers may hope to refinance and consolidate their debt. This may result in the homeowner paying more because some debts are drawn out over a longer period of time but it can result in a lower monthly payment for the homeowner which may be advantageous at this juncture of his life. When Interest Rates Drop Interest rates dropping is the one signal that sends many homeowners rushing to their lenders to discuss the possibility of re-financing their home. Lower interest rates are certainly appealing because they can result in an overall savings over the course of the loan but homeowners should also realize that every time the interest rates drop, a re-finance of the home is not warranted. The caveat to re-financing to take advantage of lower interest rates is that the homeowner should carefully evaluate the situation to ensure the closing costs associated with re-financing do not exceed the overall savings benefit gained from obtaining a lower interest rate. This is significant because if the cost of re-financing is higher than the savings in interest, the homeowner does not benefit from re-financing and may actually lose money in the process. The mathematics associated with determining whether or not there is an actual savings is not overly complicated but there is the possibility that the homeowner will make mistakes in these types of calculations. Fortunately there are a number of calculators available on the Internet which can help homeowners to determine whether or not re-financing is worthwhile. Word count 705
Is Re-Financing Always Worthwhile? This is a very important question which all homeowners should ask themselves both at the start and towards the end of the process of re-financing. The answer to this question can spur the homeowner to investigate re-financing further or convince the homeowner to table the thoughts of re-financing for the moment and concentrate on other aspect of owning a home. Establish Financial Goals This should be the first step in the process of determining whether or not re-financing is worthwhile. Without this step, a homeowner cannot accurate answer the question of the worth of re-financing because the homeowner may not fully understand his own financial goals. While financial goals may run the gamut from one extreme to another the most basic question to ask is whether the more significant goal is long term savings or increased monthly cash flow. This is important because re-financing can usually achieve these two goals. Do You Want to Save Money in the Long Run? Homeowners who establish a goal of saving money in the long run should consider re-financing options such as lower interest rates or shorter loan terms. Both of these options can considerably lower the amount of interest the homeowner is paying on the loan. This is significant because paying less interest will result in a greater cost savings. Consider an example where a homeowner has an existing debt of $100,000, an interest rate of 6.25% and a loan term of 30 years. Just by reducing the loan term to 15 years the homeowner can significantly decrease the amount which is paid in interest during the course of the loan. However, this option will also result in an increase in the monthly payments made by the homeowner. Therefore this type of re-financing option may only be available to those who have enough cash flow to compensate for the increase in monthly payments. Do You Want to Increase Your Monthly Cash Flow? Some homeowners may have a chosen goal of increasing their monthly cash flow. For these homeowners the overall cost savings may not be as important as having more money available to them each month. These homeowners might consider a re-financing option in which they are able to extend their loan terms. This means they will be repaying the existing debt over a longer period of time. The homeowner will pay more in interest in the long run but will achieve their goal of lower monthly payments and an increased cash flow. How Will Re-Financing Affect Tax Deductions? This is another serious consideration for homeowners who are interested in investigating the possibility of re-financing. The interest paid on a home loan is often tax deductible. A homeowner who re-finances in a manner which results in less interest being paid annually may adversely affect their tax strategy. The implications of this type of chance can be amplified for homeowners who were previously just below a significant tax break line. A significant decrease in the amount of interest paid will mean a significant decrease in the deduction the homeowner is allowed to take. This reduced deduction can put the homeowner in an entirely different tax bracket and could end up costing the homeowner money in the long run. For this reason, homeowners who are considering re-financing should have a tax preparation professional determine the ramifications re-financing will have on their tax return before a decision is made. Word count 567
Is Re-Financing Worth the Hassle? Some homeowners may never re-finance while others may re-finance frequently. This is a decision which is largely a matter of personal preference. Sure there are some financial benefits which may result from re-financing but for some homeowners these benefits are not worth the hassle of going through a mortgage re-finance. For these homeowners the amount of savings overall or the opportunity to lower monthly payments is simply not worth the effort of investigating the re-financing options, comparison shopping for lenders and paying closing costs to obtain a re-finance. Are Some Homeowners Just Lazy?
Yes, let’s face it we have all visited a friend’s house to find dust bunnies under the couch or unfolded laundry lying on the floor. However, laziness is usually not the culprit when a homeowner opts not to refinance despite the opportunity for an overall savings or lower monthly payments. In these cases the homeowner may simply decide not to re-finance because they are not confident in making the right decision. These homeowners essentially decide they are happy with their current financial situation and are not willing to make changes which may or may not improve this condition. It is likely that these same homeowners would re-finance their home if all the work was done for them and they were guaranteed an improved financial situation.
Do Some Homeowners Just Not Understand the Financial Benefits? This may be true as well. Homeowners who do not fully comprehend the potential savings which may be involved in re-financing are not likely to undergo the re-financing process. For these homeowners it may seem as though the efforts are not worthwhile for the benefits that are received.
If the homeowner had a clearer understanding of the situation they might have a different opinion but in this case the homeowners may be unable to comprehend the ramifications of a re-finance. Consider the factors involved in re-financing. Most of the equations use to justify the benefits of re-financing are rather complex.
There are calculators available online which make it extremely simple for homeowners to enter the known information and obtain the desired results. However, these calculators typically do not explain how the calculations are performed. This can make it hard for some homeowners to simply accept the results produced by these calculators. When this is the case the homeowner is not likely to be inclined to automatically accept the results generated by these calculators. Additionally, the homeowner may not consider re-financing until they are able to confirm these calculations.
Depending on the homeowner’s mathematical skills, this could be either a short process or a long process. Can You Convince a Homeowner to Re-Finance? This is a hard question to answer because it depends on a number of factors.
Some homeowners may be extremely trusting and may be convinced to re-finance with little effort at all. Conversely some homeowners may be quite guarded in terms of their financial situation. These homeowners may be suspicious of claims that the re-financing can improve their financial situation. These suspicions can make it extremely difficult for a homeowner to be convinced to make a change.
Once suspicions begin to develop the homeowner may either seek out more information on the subject or become less receptive to additional information. While one case may lead to the homeowner being more likely to be convinced to re-finance the other case will likely make him less willing to re-finance. Word count 571
Learning about Re-Financing Online Many homeowners find the Internet to be very useful during the re-financing process. The Internet may be useful because it provides the homeowner with a wealth of information, because it provides the ability to submit loan applications and receive estimates online and because makes it easy for homeowners to consider complicated mathematical equations for a variety of options with ease. While the Internet can be a homeowner’s best friend it can also be the homeowner’s worst enemy. Homeowners who are using the Internet to perform the majority of their re-financing research should be aware of the potential problems associated with finding information online. Additionally, this article will provide the reader with useful information regarding the types of information they may find on the Internet as well as tips for selecting reliable Internet resources. Exploring the Internet Whether you refer to it as the Internet or the World Wide Web, there is no denying the way the Internet has changed our society. Just a few years ago, the process of re-financing was largely done during banking hours by meeting directly with financial advisors. However, this is no longer the case. The major advantage young homeowners have over their parents or grandparents is the ability to learn more about re-financing options quickly and even receive quotes online in a matter of minutes. While the process of re-financing still involves elaborate mathematical calculations, many of these calculations have been automated so the homeowner only has to enter in the known variables to solve for the unknowns. These calculators are readily available throughout the Internet. Each calculator may not be designed identically so homeowner should use a couple of calculators to determine an approximate range of answers. Besides finding information and utilizing mortgage calculators, the Internet can also be used to obtain quotes. Homeowners are able to fill out simple forms with only a few pieces or relevant information and lenders are able to contact the homeowner with information about the types of re-financing options and interest rates they may be able to offer to the homeowner. Selecting Reliable Resources on the Internet The Internet is filled with useful information. However, the Internet is also filled with incorrect information. Homeowners should be aware of this fact and should avoid using the Internet exclusively in the research process. This will enable the homeowner to independently verify the information they find online. One way homeowners can avoid coming into contact with misinformation is to select only reputable websites on the subject of home mortgages. Determining which websites are reputable and which ones are not is not always easy. Website design is a fairly simple process and there are many people who can create a website which looks professional. However, the appearance of the website does not ensure the quality of the content provided on the website. Even the most professional looking website may contain inaccurate information. This may not be intentional but it often occurs when the website owner is quite knowledgeable about website design but is very knowledgeably about the subject or re-financing. One way to avoid the possibility of being misinformed on the Internet is to rely solely on websites maintained by well known lenders or financial institution. Often the ownership of the website may be difficult to decipher but many well known financial institutions use their name as their domain name and optimize their website for keywords related to their name. This is done to ensure those who search for their name will be directed to their website. Using Caution on the Internet It is always wise to use caution when participating in Internet activities. As previously discussed, this involves verifying the information obtained on a particular website. This may be done by using independent resources such as published books or consultations with financial advisors to confirm the Internet research. Additionally, homeowners should be cautious about divulging sensitive information such as full name, address or social security number. This type of information should only be given to sources which are deemed to be reputable. Word count 675
Online Re-Financing The Internet has greatly simplified the process of re-financing a loan. Years ago homeowners had to go to a lender during regular business hours for lengthy consultations and would have to visit several different lenders to determine which one would offer the best rate. The Internet has not only simplified the process but has also given homeowners the luxury of investigating re-financing options at their convenience and also receiving multiple quotes form different lenders by filling out one simple online form. Researching Re-Financing Online The Internet has not only made it easier for homeowners to re-finance but it has also greatly simplified the process of learning more about re-financing. Again homeowners from past generations might have to rely on industry professionals and published books on the subject of re-financing. However, today’s homeowners can look up re-financing and find a wealth of useful information regarding the different types of loans and re-financing options available. Homeowners can also use the internet to access calculators which perform the complicated equations homeowners previously had to leave up to the trained professionals. These same calculations which may have taken a considerable amount of time to complete and correct are now solved within a fraction of a second. Select a Reputable Lender Homeowners who are doing the majority of their re-financing research and searches online should carefully consider the lender they choose. This is important because whether a lender is found online or offline, care should be taken to ensure the lender is reputable. The easiest way to do this is to stick with a well established lender who comes highly recommended by friends and family members. This does not mean new lenders and smaller lenders are not reputable but there is significantly less risk involved in selecting an established lender than there is in selecting a new lender. LendingTree Homeowners who are investigating their re-financing options online may find the website LendingTree to be a very valuable resource. This website offers articles and calculators which the homeowner can use to gain the knowledge they need to make an informed decision. The articles on the website are written in clear and concise language which is easy to understand and the calculators are extremely user friendly and allow require the homeowner to enter in a few variables to obtain the desired results. Another great feature of this website is the inclusion of a link which provides access to obtaining a free credit report. The process is very simple although it does require the homeowner to verify their identity. This is done to protect homeowners from identity theft or other acts of fraud. This is significant because homeowners are likely to realize the terms of their mortgage re-finance will depend largely on their credit score. Homeowners who have good credit will likely be offered favorable rates and terms while homeowners with less than perfect credit will not be offered favorable rates and terms. However, the most significant feature of this website is the ability to obtain up to four quotes from qualified lenders by filling out one simple form. The information required is rather basic in nature and is information which most homeowners have readily available. Once this information is submitted into the system, the responses are received from up to four lenders almost instantly. The information contained in these reports is customized for the homeowner according to the information inputted into the system. Word count 568
Re-Financing to Consolidate Debt Some homeowners opt to re-finance to consolidate their existing debts. With this type of option, the homeowner can consolidate higher interest debts such as credit card debts under a lower interest home loan. The interest rates associated with home loans are traditionally lower than the rates associated with credit cards by a considerable amount. Deciding whether or not to re-finance for the purpose of debt consolidation can be a rather tricky issue. There are a number of complex factors which enter into the equation including the amount of existing debt, the difference in interest rates as well as the difference in loan terms and the current financial situation of the homeowner. This article will attempt to make this issue less complex by providing a function definition for debt consolidation and providing answer to two key questions homeowners should ask themselves before re-financing. These questions include whether the homeowner will pay more in the long run by consolidating their debt and will the homeowners financial situation improve if they re-finance. What is Debt Consolidation? The term debt consolidation can be somewhat confusing because the term itself is somewhat deceptive. When a homeowner re-finances his home for the purpose of debt consolidation, he is not actually consolidating the debt in the true sense of the word. By definition to consolidate means to unite or to combine into one system. However, this is not what actually happens when debts are consolidated. The existing debts are actually repaid by the debt consolidation loan. Although the total amount of debt remains constant the individual debts are repaid by the new loan. Prior to the debt consolidation the homeowner may have been repaying a monthly debt to one or more credit card companies, an auto lender, a student loan lender or any number of other lenders but now the homeowner is repaying one debt to the mortgage lender who provided the debt consolidation loan. This new loan will be subject to the applicable loan terms including interest rates and repayment period. Any terms associated with the individual loans are no longer valid as each of these loans has been repaid in full. Are You Paying More in the Long Run? When considering debt consolidation it is important to determine whether lower monthly payments or an overall increase in savings is being sought. This is an important consideration because while debt consolidation can lead to lower monthly payments when a lower interest mortgage is obtained to repay higher interest debts there is not always an overall cost savings. This is because interest rate alone does not determine the amount which will be paid in interest. The amount of debt and the loan term, or length of the loan, figure prominently into the equation as well. As an example consider a debt with a relatively short loan term of five years and an interest only slightly higher than the rate associated with the debt consolidation loan. In this case, if the term of the debt consolidation loan, is 30 years the repayment of the original loan would be stretched out over the course of 30 years at an interest rate which is only slightly lower than the original rate. In this case it is clear the homeowner might end up paying more in the long run. However, the monthly payments will probably be drastically reduced. This type of decision forces the homeowner to decide whether an overall savings or lower monthly payments is more important. Does Re-Financing Improve Your Financial Situation? Homeowners who are considering re-financing for the purpose of debt consolidation should carefully consider whether or not their financial situation will be improved by re-financing. This is important because some homeowners may opt to re-finance because it increases their monthly cash flow even if it does not result in an overall cost savings. There are many mortgage calculators available on the Internet which can be used for purposes such as determining whether or not monthly cash flow will increase. Using these calculators and consulting with industry experts will help the homeowner to make a well informed decision. Word count 684
Re-Financing with a Line of Credit Loan Some homeowners might consider re-financing with a home equity line of credit as opposed to a traditional loan. There are definite advantages and disadvantages to these types of situations. The key to understanding whether or not re-financing with a home equity line of credit is worthwhile involves understanding what a home equity line of credit is, how it differs from a home loan and how it can be used. This article will briefly cover each of these topics to give the homeowner some useful information which may help them decide whether or not a home equity line of credit is ideal in their re-financing situation. What is a Home Equity Line of Credit? A home equity line of credit, sometimes called a HELOC, is essentially a loan in which funds are made available to the homeowner based on the existing equity in the home. However, in this case, it is not really a loan but rather a line of credit. This means a certain amount of money is made available to the homeowner and the homeowner may draw on this line of credit as funds are needed. There is a specified period in which the homeowner is able to make these withdrawals. This is known as the draw period. Additionally there is a repayment period in which the homeowner must repay all of the funds they withdrew from the account during the draw period. How Does a Home Equity Line of Credit Differ from a Home Equity Loan? The difference between a home equity line of credit and a home equity loan is really quite simple. While both loans are secured based on the existing equity in the home, the manner in which the funds are disbursed to the homeowner is rather quite different. In a home equity loan the homeowner is given all of the funds immediately. However in a home equity line of credit the funds are made available to the homeowner but are not immediately disbursed. The homeowner is able to draw against this line of credit as he sees fit. There are limits to the amount which can be withdrawn and there is also a limit on when funds can be withdrawn. A home equity has a draw period and a repayment period. Funds can be withdrawn during the draw period but must be repaid during the repayment period. How Can a Home Equity Line of Credit Be Used? One of the biggest advantages of a home equity line of credit is that the funds can be used for any purpose specified by the homeowner. While other loans such as an auto loan or even a traditional mortgage might have strict restrictions on how the money lent to the homeowner can be used, there are no such restrictions on a home equity line of creditmon uses of a home equity line of credit include the following: * Home renovations or improvement projects * Opening a small business * Taking a dream vacation * Pursuing higher educational goals * Opening a small business In some cases the interest paid on a home equity line of credit may be considered tax deductible. This may apply in situations where the funds are used to make repairs or improvements to the home. However, these expenses are not always tax deductible and the homeowner should consult with a tax professional before making decisions regarding which interest payments can be deducted. Word count 572