Refinancing can bring equal parts anticipation and dread to the heart of a homeowner. On the one hand – lower interest! Lower payments! On the other – longer loan terms? More time spent on paperwork? Here are some of the most common reasons homeowners balk at refinancing, and why you might want to refinance anyway.
With mortgage rates still at historically low levels, why are some homeowners still laboring with higher interest rates? If they can save money, what stops them from taking a step that will put money in their pockets each month?
We did an informal survey of past clients who didn’t plan to jump on the refinance bandwagon. Here are some of the reasons they gave us.
While it’s true that many homeowners were “underwater” for several years, real estate values have recovered nicely. Some we spoke to resisted refinancing because they were afraid their home wouldn’t appraise for a high enough figure, and they’d have to pay that dreaded, expensive mortgage insurance.
Mortgage insurance is a fee paid to an insurance company to protect the lender when the loan is more than 80% of the property’s value. The cost of this insurance depends on a combination of the loan-to-value ratio and the borrower’s credit score.
Mortgage insurance for a $400,000 loan that is 85% of the property’s value would cost about $67.00 per month for someone with a credit score of 740. To put that into perspective, dropping the rate on a $400,000 loan to 3.625% from 4.5% would cut the monthly payment by over $250 a month.
Even temporarily paying for the mortgage insurance, you’d still save about $187 every month from the refinance. Lenders typically allow a borrower to drop the mortgage insurance once the loan-to-value ratio reaches 80%. After that, you’ll save the full $250.
Let’s be honest. Refinancing is not what you could call “fun.” It does take some effort on the homeowner’s part—you have to gather pay stubs and other income documentation, you have to dig up your tax returns and go through the whole rigmarole of signing all those forms, some of them twice. No argument: it’s a hassle, just like mowing the lawn or doing the laundry is a hassle.
Let’s say you have a good rate today on your $400,000 loan, and you can drop your rate by just ½%. Is that a waste of time? You’d drop your payment by $140 a month, and you’d accrue net savings of $6,000 in five years. If it took you as many as 10 hours of real work to refinance (which it won’t,) is $6,000 over five years a good return on your time?
News Flash: You do NOT have to have perfect credit to get a mortgage today. It is true that lenders have certain guidelines that you have to meet in order to get them to lend you money. Really, though, they only want borrowers to have a credit score of at least 620—hardly a perfect credit record.
The mysterious FICO score that all lenders use ranges from 300 to 850. The formula that calculates that all-important scores takes into account late payments and collection accounts (or the absence thereof), credit card balances and legal information, such as judgments and liens that may appear. A credit report can contain a combination of all of these derogatory items and still produce a credit score above 620. News Flash: You do NOT have to have perfect credit to get a mortgage today.
What if your credit score is below that magical 620 number? If the reason for the lower score is high credit card balances, paying down those balances will raise your score quickly. If there are recent collection accounts or liens, dealing with those items will also raise your score. It may take some effort on your part, but you should decide whether the payoff (saving thousands of dollars) is worth the work.
Plenty of buyers balk at the idea of a refinance because they’ve been paying their mortgage for five years already, and don’t want to tack another five years onto the back of a refinance. However, refinancing doesn’t have to meen resetting the countdown timer!
The 30-year mortgage has been a mainstay of lenders and homeowners for generations; but if your dream is to own your home with no mortgage, there are ways to accomplish that. If you can handle a higher monthly payment, consider a 15-year loan.
The rate will be lower than for a 30-year mortgage, but you’ll be paying quite a lot more toward the principal each month. A $400,000 30-year loan at 3.5% will have a payment of $1,796. A 15-year loan for the same amount at 3% would have a $2,762 payment—$1,000 higher.
This higher payment is the result of retiring the principal in half the time. In the end you’ll pay much less total money, but you have to fork over more each month (although it’s less than double the 30-year payment).
If that higher payment doesn’t fit your budget, there is a middle ground. Some lenders are willing to create loans with terms of 26 or 27 years so you can get your home paid off on the same schedule. You can also increase the monthly payment on your new loan slightly to shorten the term. If you paid $2,000 instead of $1,796 on your $400,000 loan, you’ll pay it off in 25 years, not 30.
Please note: We have used loan amounts, rates and payments for instructional purposes only. Please do not consider these examples to be rate quotes or loan estimates.
The one thing we can be sure of is that interest rates will change in the future. Rates are more likely to move higher in the near future than lower, so you have been holding off for any of the reasons we’ve mentioned, maybe now is your time to act.
To learn about the next steps in refinancing, click the button below to download our free ebook on refinancing before rates go up.
Will you need mortgage financing to buy a home? At Sammamish Mortgage, we offer a wide variety of mortgage programs and tools with flexible qualification criteria. We serve the entire state, as well as the broader Pacific Northwest region that includes Oregon, Colorado, and Idaho. Please contact us today with any financing-related questions you have.
Updated at 2021-06-22
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Sale of Business
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The California Consumer Privacy Act (CCPA) requires us to disclose categories of Personal Information we collect and how we use it, the categories of sources from whom we collect Personal Information, and the third parties with whom we share it, which we have explained above. We are also required to communicate information about rights California residents have under California law. You may exercise the following rights:
If you make a request, we have one month to respond to you. If you would like to exercise any of these rights, please contact us. For more information about these rights, please contact us. Request to Not Sell for California Residents You may submit a request to us to not sell your Personal Information, which will be effective for 12 months [add url to specific website called “Do Not Sell My Personal Information” that allows consumers to opt out of the sale of personal information
California Information Sharing Disclosure
California Civil Code Sections 1798.115(c), 1798.130(a)(5)(c), 1798.130(c), and 1798.140 indicate that organizations should disclose whether the following categories of personal information are collected, transferred for “valuable consideration,” or transferred for an organization’s “business purpose” (as those terms are defined under California law). The table below indicates the categories of personal information we collect and transfer in a variety of contexts. Please note that because this list is comprehensive, it may refer to types of information that we collect and share about people other than yourself, for instance for those people that utilize our Rates and Money website.
|Category of Personal Information||Is information collected by us?||Is information transferred for valuable consideration?||Is information trasferred for business purposes?|
|Audio, electronic, visual, thermal, olfactory, or similar information||☐||☐||☐|
|Bank account number||☑||☐||☑|
|Commercial information (e.g., products or services purchased, or other purchasing or consuming histories or tendencies)||☐||☐||☐|
|Credit card number||☑||☐||☑|
|Debit card number||☑||☐||☑|
|Driver's License Number/ State ID||☑||☐||☑|
|Electronic network activity (e.g., browsing history)||☑||☐||☑|
|Health insurance information||☐||☐||☐|
|Identifiers (e.g., name or alias)||☑||☑||☑|
|Insurance Policy Number||☐||☐||☐|
|Online identifier (e.g., IP address)||☑||☐||☑|
|Other financial information||☑||☑||☑|
|Social Security Number||☑||☐||☑|
Don’t hesitate to contact us if you have any questions.
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Links to Other Websites
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Updates to Our Websites
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Term and Termination
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Limitation of Liability
To the maximum extent permitted by applicable law, in no event shall Sammamish Mortgage be liable for any special, incidental, indirect, or consequential damages whatsoever (including, but not limited to, damages for loss of profits, for loss of data or other information, for business interruption, for personal injury, for loss of privacy arising out of or in any way related to the use of or inability to use the Websites, third-party software and/or third-party hardware used with the website, or otherwise in connection with any provision of this Agreement), even if Sammamish Mortgage has been advised of the possibility of such damages and even if the remedy fails of its essential purpose.
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Updates to this Agreement
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Applicable Law and Venue.
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Agreement to Arbitrate
This section applies to any dispute EXCEPT IT DOESN’T INCLUDE A DISPUTE RELATING TO CLAIMS FOR INJUNCTIVE OR EQUITABLE RELIEF REGARDING THE ENFORCEMENT OR VALIDITY OF YOUR OR Sammamish Mortgage’s INTELLECTUAL PROPERTY RIGHTS. The term “dispute” means any dispute, action, or other controversy between you and Sammamish Mortgage concerning the Services or this agreement, whether in contract, warranty, tort, statute, regulation, ordinance, or any other legal or equitable basis. “Dispute” will be given the broadest possible meaning allowable under law.
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Sammamish Mortgage is a distributor and not a publisher of the content supplied by third parties; as such, Sammamish Mortgage exercises no editorial control over such content and makes no warranty or representation as to the accuracy, reliability or currency of any information, content, service or merchandise provided through or accessible via the Sammamish Mortgage Service. Without limiting the foregoing, Sammamish Mortgage specifically disclaims all warranties and representations in any content transmitted on or in connection with the Sammamish Mortgage Services or on sites that may appear as links on the Sammamish Mortgage Service, or in the products provided as a part of, or otherwise in connection with, the Sammamish Mortgage Services, including without limitation any warranties of merchantability, fitness for a particular purpose or non-infringement of third party rights. No oral advice or written information given by Sammamish Mortgage or any of its affiliates, employees, officers, directors, agents, or the like will create a warranty. Price and availability information is subject to change without notice. Without limiting the foregoing, Sammamish Mortgage does not warrant that the Sammamish Mortgage Services will be uninterrupted, uncorrupted, timely, or error-free.
Don’t hesitate to contact us if you have any questions.
Email: [email protected]
Phone Number: (425) 401-8787
This Link: https://www.sammamishmortgage.com/
This Address: 3055 112th Ave NE Suite 203 Bellevue, WA 98004