What does it cost to refinance? What are the benefits?
Ever heard the old rule of thumb, you should only refinance if your new interest rate is at least two points lower? That may have been true years ago, but with refinancing, it's never the wrong time to think about a new loan!.
When you refinance, you might be able to lower your interest rate and monthly payment -- sometimes significantly. With lower rates and balances, you might also be able to build up home equity faster with a shorter-term new mortgage.
All these benefits do cost something, though. When you refinance, you're paying for most of the same things you paid for when you obtained your original mortgage. These might include settlement costs and other fees, an appraisal, lender's title insurance, underwriting fees, and so on.
You might want to pay points to get a lower interest rate. If you pay (on average) 3% of the loan amount up front, your savings for the life of the new mortgage can be significant. You should be aware that the IRS has recently said that points paid for the purpose of refinancing your mortgage cannot be deducted in their entirety in the year you pay them, but should be amortized over the life of the loan; unless the refinanced loan is primarily for home improvements. Consult your tax professional before deducting points you pay on your new mortgage from your federal income taxes.
Ultimately, for most people the amount of up-front costs to refinance are made up very quickly in monthly savings. We'll work with you to determine what program is best for you, considering how likely you are to sell your home in the near future, and what effect refinancing might have on your monthly cash flow.