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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.

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.

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.