How To Refinance a Mortgage in 4 Simple Steps

  • refinance a mortgage

Why You Should Refinance Your Mortgage

Need to refinance a mortgage? Refinancing is an important tool for the savvy homeowner, as it can offer a host of benefits. Unfortunately, research shows many view the process as confusing and choose to put off looking into it. Although refinancing does require several steps, it doesn’t have to be daunting. And for many homeowners, a refinance can mean lower monthly payments, a speedier payoff – or even both.

Step 1: Talk with Your Current Lender

First, you’ll want to ask whether there are any up-front fees. Most refinances come at a cost of several thousand dollars, so you’ll want to ensure that your refinanced monthly payment savings will offset that up-front cost over time. Your lender should be able to provide you with a cost-benefit analysis that takes into account the time remaining on your current loan, the size of your loan and the new mortgage rate you qualify for. If the math doesn’t work in your favor, it’s probably not the right time to refinance. This is no problem, as you always retain the right simply to keep your current loan terms.

Step 2: Check Your Credit Score & History

Second, you will need to qualify for a refinance, just like you needed an approval on your original home loan. The higher your credit score, the better refinance rates lenders will offer you. This will make your chance better when getting an underwriter to approve your loan.

Step 3: Determine Your Home Equity Value & Seek Appraisal

Third, you should figure out your home equity. This is calculated as the value of your home – what you owe on your loan. For example, if your home is worth $400,000 and you still owe $300,000, then your home equity is $100,000. A proper appraisal will help you determine your equity, and is often required by mortgage lenders before signing a refinance contract agreement.

Step 4: Shop Mortgage Lenders for Best Rates

Lastly, but most importantly, compare rates between lenders to save thousands of dollars. So many people make the mistake of working with a lender recommended by a friend. Rate Marketplace has a list of lenders ready to compete for your customer loyalty. Click on a lender below to get started.

When To Refinance a Mortgage

If you choose to move forward with a refinance, it will require a standard mortgage application, just like your original home loan. Your lender will explain the loan options available to you, and once you choose you’ll be required to provide financial documentation. Typically, this includes bank statements and recent pay stubs.

After you have completed the application, your lender starts the mortgage underwriting process. The lending company will evaluate your financial health to decide whether to assume the risk of your new loan. If you’re approved, the closing process will begin. Similar to your original home purchase, this refinance closing process will ensure your new loan is applied to pay off the old one, and your new loan will become active. At this point, your monthly payments will now be applied to your new loan according to the new terms.

Image via Flickr/mattrobinson