One More Chance to Refinance in 2015?

January 4, 2015

IS NOW A GOOD TIME TO REFINANCE?

2015 shirtHomeowners who missed the last refinancing boom have been given another chance.

According to a weekly survey by Freddie Mac, average interest rates for 30-year fixed mortgages fell last week to their lowest level in over a year and a half last week. Interest rates are the lowest the country has seen since mid-2013, and remain close to their lowest level in 50 years.

Not many experts expect rates to stay low, however.

According to the Mortgage Bankers Association, 30-year fixed mortgage rates are likely to rise as early as 2015’s first quarter; and should end the year at 5%. The mortgage industry trade group also predicts rates at 5.4% by 2016.

With current mortgage rates low (but expected to rise), U.S. homeowners are submitting applications to refinance by the tens of thousands.

Refinancing can be a great way to save money, but there are times a homeowner should choose to say “no”. For example, because there are costs associated with refinancing, sometimes, refinancing to a lower interest rate mortgage can be more expensive than keeping your current one.

So, how should you determine whether refinancing is right for you?

First, you will want to understand how refinancing works. Then, you should consider your current financial situation and what you plan to accomplish with a refinance.

Click to get today’s interest rates.

HOW REFINANCING WORKS

The mechanics of a refinance are basic — you give a new mortgage which pays your original mortgage in full, leaving you with just the “new” mortgage(s) on your home.

The interest rate of your new loan; and the term of your new loan may be different for your original, but the property securing the loan is the same.

Many people find it simpler to refinance a home than to get the loan needed at the time of purchase. This is because refinance transactions typically require less paperwork and documentation as compared to a purchase loan.

Refinance mortgage rates may be higher or lower than rates available on a home purchase.

Click to get today’s interest rates.

FACTORS TO CONSIDER PRIOR TO REFINANCING

Low mortgage rates are an excellent reason to refinance a home; however, for today’s homeowners, there are other considerations as well.

How Much Equity Do You Have In Your Home?

In general, homeowners may find it challenging to refinance without sufficient home equity. In mortgage terms, “sufficient home equity” can be defined as have a loan-to-value on your home of 80 percent or better.

However, there are a number of refinance programs available to homeowners with less than 20% equity. Two popular programs are the VA Streamline Refinance and the FHA Streamline Refinance.

Available to homeowners with existing VA and FHA loans, respectively, these two streamlined refinance plans ignore a homeowner’s home equity percentage and allow refinancing based on recent payment history. Homeowners nearly always qualify for the VA or FHA Streamline Refinance if when they’re current with their loans and the refinance shows benefit.

For homeowners with conventional loans backed by Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, two options exist. The first option is the Home Affordable Refinance Program (HARP) which allows for unlimited loan-to-value; and the 97% LTV program for homeowners with at least three percent equity in their homes.

The 97% mortgage program is available to all homeowners who meet the program criteria; and can be used by homeowners with existing FHA mortgages to “cancel FHA MIP”.

What Is Your Current Interest Rate?

When you can lower your current interest rate, it may be worthwhile to refinance your home.

Lower mortgage rates can mean lower payments but, for many homeowners, the deciding factor in refinancing to lower rates is going to be some variation of “how long it will take recoup your loan closing costs?” For example, if your refinance carries total closing costs of $3,000, and you save $100 monthly with the transaction, the general thinking is that you should not refinance unless you’ll be in your home for at least 30 months.

However, there are other considerations with a refinance including getting “cash out”, and the value of having access to extra money today.

Choosing a lower mortgage rate can be a good reason to refinance — it just shouldn’t be the only reason.

Click to get today’s interest rates.

What Are The Closing Costs To Refinance?

Closing costs are an important consideration when deciding whether to refinance and there are three ways to handle your costs.

The first way to handle your costs is to pay the minimum at closing, in cash or as part of your loan balance. For example, if your closing costs total $2,500, you can opt to bring $2,500 to your closing in the form of a check; or you can add $2,500 to your loan balance.

In both instances, you are paying closing costs from your own money — either as cash or in the form of home equity.

The second way to handle your costs is to elect to pay discount points, which lowers your mortgage rate below “standard” market rates, in cash or as part of your loan balance. 1 discount point costs 1% of your loan size such that a $250,000 loan with 1 point will carry an additional loan fee of $2,500.

In general, paying 1 point will lower your mortgage rate 25 basis points (0.25%). This will result in lower monthly payments and, eventually, you will save more on your payments than you paid in points at your closing. Recouping your discount points could take as few as 12 months or as many as 60.

The third way to handle your closing costs is via a zero-closing cost mortgage. With a zero-closing cost, you willingly accept a slightly higher mortgage rate from your lender in exchange for having all of your loan closing costs paid on your behalf. In general, on a $250,000 loan, a mortgage rate increase of 25 basis points (0.25%) will convert your loan into a zero-closing cost mortgage.

Zero-closing costs mortgages can be sensible for homeowners whom expect to move from their homes in the next few years; or whom expect to refinance within the next 24 months.

For homeowners planning to make their next refinance last 30 years, zero-closing cost loans can be the most expensive route. Mortgage calculators can be a helpful tool to determine which program works best.

Do You Want To “Own Your Home Sooner”

Another consideration for refinancing households is whether you want to extend or reduce the number of years until your mortgage is paid in full.

For homeowners with an existing 30-year mortgage, refinancing to a new 30-year mortgage may yield tremendous monthly savings. However, the new loan will reset your years of indebtedness to thirty. Long-term, you’ll still save money, but you’ll be paying on your loan for more years overall.

Not wanting to “start over” is one reason why the 15-year mortgage is a popular refinance choice. 15-year mortgage offer low mortgage rates and fewer years to repay in full. It should be noted that payments on a 15-year mortgage are higher as compared to 30-year loans, but over the life of the loan, today’s 15-year mortgages save homeowners 65% in mortgage interest costs.

With its huge long-term savings, the 15-year mortgage can be an excellent way to save for homeowners to plan to retirement or to save for college tuition costs.

GET TODAY’S REFINANCE MORTGAGE RATES

Deciding whether to refinance is a personal decision. Consider how long you’ll be in your home, how much you’ll save each month, and how long it will take to recoup your costs. Thankfully, with mortgage rates low, the market is ripe for homeowners to take action.

Click to get started. 

Advertisements

Just the Facts, Ma’am, Just the Facts!

May 19, 2011

 

Sgt. Joe Friday (Jack Webb) from 50's & 60's hit TV show Dragnet

Buying a home has always been a big decision. But for some people today it’s a difficult decision because of all the conflicting information coming from the media. To make matters worse, that information is often outdated…or even inaccurate.

If you know anyone who is thinking of purchasing a home this year, please share the following information with them:

FACT 1. Mortgage options are still plentiful for borrowers with good credit scores and documented income. All assets & income will need to be fully documented in most all cases for the past 2 years.

FACT 2. There are still programs available, like FHA, that allow as little as 3.5% down payment, and many others that allow less than 20% down.  VA Loans still allow an eligible Veteran to buy a house up to $417,000 with $0 down payment!

FACT 3. Jumbo mortgages are still available on loan amounts even in excess of $2 million dollars.

FACT 4. Vacation/second home financing can be obtained with as little as 25% down, even with jumbo mortgages.

FACT 5. There are FHA Renovation (203k) Mortgages available which can be used to update or repair an existing home. Small projects (under $35,000) can usually be done in such a way where the homeowner or buyer can use up to one-half of this money upfront to purchase materials and then pay the contractor once the project is completed. 

FACT 6. Senior citizens can use their current equity in their home and actually relocate and buy a house and have NO MONTHLY PAYMENT on their new home for the REST OF THEIR LIVES.  The FHA Reverse (Home Equity Conversion) Mortgage can be used by those 62 years of age or older to refinance their currnet home or buy their idea retirement home.

FACT 7. As of today, rates on most mortgages are still at historically low levels when compared to the last 30 years.  Every indication is that rates will likely begin to increase before the end of 2011 – so delay if low interest rates are desired.

FACT 8. Most homes are selling at a big discount relative to 5 years ago.

Make sure your friends and family know the facts! Owning the home of their dreams may not be as hard as they think. Send your friends and family this link and let them know I would be happy to meet with them and help them determine what options are available in their personal situation.

Getting pre-approved for a mortgage BEFORE speaking to a Realtor could help make them a much stronger buyer in the eyes of a seller.

If there’s anyway I can lend a hand, I’ll be happy to do so. Thanks for your help and continued support, and if you have any questions about your own situation call or email me anytime!


Get Your House in Order – Before you Lose it!

January 30, 2009

By Brian Short, CMC, CRMS, GMA

The job losses reported last week were the topic of an article entitled, “A Litany Of Job Losses: When Will It End?” written by Linton Weeks  for NPR Online, “Read aloud the litany of lost jobs and it sounds like a funeral knell.

On Monday, Caterpillar construction equipment. 20,000 jobs. Gong … Pfizer pharmaceutical. 8,000. Gong … Sprint Nextel telecommunications. 8,000. Gong … Home Depot home improvement. 7,000. Gong … Texas Instruments computers. 3,400. Gong … General Motors automakers. 2,000 Gong …homedepot

On Tuesday: Corning glass. 3,500 jobs. Gong …

On Wednesday: Starbucks coffee. 6,700 jobs. Gong … AOL online. 700 jobs. Gong …

On Thursday: Ford Motor Co. 1,200 jobs. Gong … Eastman Kodak cameras. 3,500 plus. Gong … Also on Thursday the Labor Department reported that nearly 4.8 million people are on the unemployment benefit rolls, a historic high. Anyone who has glanced at the news in the past few days is not surprised.

You know the causes: mortgage shenanigans, housing values falling, construction paralyzed, credit market frozen. ”

This negative economic news causes even the most positive person to swallow hard and take a careful inventory of what might happen if the bottom would fall out their own life.  Some nay-sayers have even pulled out their notes from “dusty old” Y2K Prep Courses urging us to stock-pile dehydrated foods, water, gold and ammo – again. 

All of those ideas might be worthwhile to consider if things fall apart and the government can’t keep control of our typically orderly society.  However, what about your house and your finances in case “life as we know it” does not fall into complete shambles but continues to struggle month-by-month for next year or so as some have suggested.

Even our new President and his advisers have admitted that this economic recovery may take an additional 12-24months.  One good way to prepare for additional lay-offs and a continued down-turn in our economy is to get YOUR house in order. 

pink-slip1What if you lost YOUR job? 

What if YOUR needed cash for medical bills without your employer-paid insurance?

What if YOUR fuel went back up to the all-time high July 2008 prices and stayed because of an international crises in the Middle-East or if another “super-power wanna-be” decided to test this new President like that last guy was tested only 8 months into his first term?

Mortgage interest rates are at a nearly 30 year low and many of your neighbors, friends, co-workers and family members are still holding on to mortgage interest rates at 6%, 7%, 8% and higher because they’ve been convinced by the press (their brother-in-law!) that those of us in the mortgage industry have folded up our shops and have gone away.  This can not be further from the truth!

We are in the midst of a very strong refinance market because many who had adjustable mortgage interest rates are now refinancing to “fix” their rates. Others bought homes in the past couple of years and have been paying a higher interest rate but are now able to lower their monthly payments, consolidate their high interest credit card debt and lock in the peace of mind that a long term fixed rate mortgage in the low 5%’s would bring to their monthly budgets. 

Who do you know who needs to get their house in order before THEY get a “pink slip” and then have lost THEIR opportunity to qualify for an historically low interest rate on their most prized and stable asset – their house?

I can help nearly any homeowner with their refinance needs by putting a new low interest loan in place or giving them a plan for systematically preparing for the day for when they would qualify for that new loan or for their next home purchase. 

NOW is the time to prepare for what could be another of year of lay-offs and down-sizing.  And one way to prepare might be to re-work the mortgage in order to lower the term, the monthly payment or the total out-flow of cash from the monthly budget.  Help is now available even before any new “stimulus packages” are snookered through Congress!