They say home is where the heart is. Yet it can also be a source of heartache when a high mortgage balance is hanging over your head.
Here’s the deal: the average American spends nearly 40% of their income on housing — and many spend even more. If you find yourself struggling to make ends meet because of a high mortgage payment, it might be time to consider refinancing your mortgage loan.
Is home refinancing right for me?
Home refinancing is a great way to pay off your house faster, free up your income, and reduce the long-term interest you pay. The refinancing process might seem intimidating, but it simply involves replacing your current mortgage loan with a different one that has better terms.
Depending on your financial standing and the current mortgage refinance rates, there are many ways you can benefit from refinancing. If your credit score has improved or interest rates have dropped, now may be a good time to refinance your home loan.
Here are the benefits refinancing your mortgage can provide:
1. Save with a rate that doesn’t make you cry.
One of the most common reasons people decide to refinance their homes is to get a lower interest rate. Mortgage rates commonly fluctuate, so if rates have dropped since you got your loan, it’s a good idea to take out a new home loan at the new lower rate (if your credit score allows you to do so).
2. Bank on lower, more predictable payments.
Birthday surprises? Fun. Money surprises? Not so fun. Switching from an adjustable-rate mortgage (ARM) to a fixed-rate loan while home refinance rates are low lets you enjoy the consistency of a locked-in interest rate for the full life of the mortgage. So you won’t need to worry about your monthly payments increasing when interest rates go back up. Plus, the lower interest rate will yield lower monthly payments (especially if you keep the same payoff date for the loan).
3. Pay off your loan with lightning speed.
When you refinance your home, select a short-term loan (if possible) to lower the total interest you pay as well as the duration of your payments. Most homebuyers initially take out 30-year home loans and later switch to a 15-year fixed-rate loan when their financial standing improves. Home loan refinance rates tend to be lower on short-term loans, which allows you to shorten the term without the high monthly payments.
4. Add flexibility to your budget with a cash-out.
Thinking about getting a personal loan? Before you do, be sure to mine your home for extra dollars with a cash-out refinancing. Cash-out refinancing lets you borrow from your home equity, if you have it, to pay off debts or use for personal purposes. Although this adds to the principle of your mortgage, it gives you the option to consolidate your debt, make improvements to your house, pay off expenses, or something else. You’ll be given a check when you close, and the amount is added to the principal.
This is one of the most cost-effective methods of borrowing, as mortgage interest rates are significantly lower than rates on credit cards, unsecured debt, and other types of loans. Mortgages allow you to take more time to repay the debt, which helps you decrease your monthly payments. Plus, the IRS doesn’t consider home equity cash-outs as income, so these funds are tax-deductible up to a certain limit ($100,000 for couples and $50,000 for individuals, FYI).
Already have a home equity line of credit (HELOC) or second mortgage? You can save by consolidating them into one mortgage at a lower interest rate. This method of refinancing is similar to cash-out refinancing in that people usually do it to pay off secondary mortgages, but it doesn’t reduce home equity.
Get by with a little help from...your financial advisor.
Home refinancing might be a good option for some, but it’s not for everyone. The process comes with drawbacks, so be sure to consult with a trusted finance professional to find out if refinancing your home is the right move for you. An expert can help you make the best decision for your circumstances.