When to refinance a mortgage: is it a good time now?

It’s more than a lower mortgage rate. You want to think about how long you want to stay in your home and calculate your break even point.

NOTE: Refinancing can be difficult due to the epidemic of the coronavirus. Lenders are facing high demand for credit and personnel issues. If you can’t afford your current mortgage, check out our mortgage support resources. For the latest information on managing financial charges during this emergency, see the NerdWallet Financial Guide for COVID-19.

With mortgage rates almost at their lowest, this is a good time to refinance a mortgage, right? In many cases, of course, without a doubt. To find out if the time is right for you, first determine how long you want to stay in your home, consider your financial goals, and determine your creditworthiness. All of these things, as well as current refinancing interest rates, should play a role in the decision to refinance and when.

When does refinancing make sense?

The usual trigger for people to think about refinancing is when they find that mortgage rates fall below their current borrowing rate. But there are other good reasons to refinance

  • If you want to pay the loan faster with a shorter term.
  • You have gained enough equity in your home to refinance an uninsured mortgage.
  • You want to use the equity in your property with cash refinancing.

What is a good mortgage rate?

When the Federal Reserve reduces short-term interest rates, many people expected mortgage rates to follow. However, mortgage rates are not always parallel to short-term rates.


Avoid focusing too much on a low mortgage rate on which you have read or seen advertising. Mortgage refinancing rates change daily throughout the day. And the rate they quote can be higher or lower than the rate published at any time. Your mortgage refinancing rate is mainly based on your creditworthiness and the equity in your home.

You are more likely to get a competitive rate as long as your credit rating is good and you have proof of constant income.

Is it worth refinancing half a percent?

A common rule of thumb is that refinancing can be a good idea if your mortgage interest rates are 1% or lower than your current interest rate. But it’s the traditional thought to say that you need a 20% down payment to buy a house. These generalizations often do not work for big-budget decisions. Improving your rate by half a point might even make sense. It is a good idea to calculate the actual numbers using a mortgage refinance calculator.

To calculate your potential savings, you need to add refinancing costs, e.g. B. an appraisal, a credit check, set-up fees, and transaction costs. Also, check if you risk a prepayment penalty on your current loan. Then, when you find out what interest rate you could qualify for on a new loan, you can calculate your new monthly payment and see how much, if any, you save each month.

You should also check that you have at least 20% home equity, the difference between your market value and what you owe. Check property values ​​in your neighborhood to see how far you can assess your home for now, or contact a local real estate agent.

Certain measures are important because lenders generally need mortgage insurance if you have less than 20% of the equity. Prote

Once you have a good idea of ​​the cost of refinancing, you can compare your monthly “all-inclusive” payment with your current payment.

Are there enough savings to make the refinancing worth it?

They spend an average of 2% to 5% of the loan amount on acquisition costs. So you want to calculate how long the monthly savings are needed to recoup these costs.


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