You may or may not have bad credit, but you may also be asking yourself whether or not it makes sense to refinance… Because you may be in a position to actually do so.

Well, let’s think about it…..

You need to find out if you can save more money and lower your monthly payments by doing so… One thing that is really important to know or at least note is, that you must make sure that you are factoring the additional costs of a refinance…

Those additional costs include things like loan origination fees, and points you may need to pay to get a better interest rate.

This could be a tough call if you have a fixed rate only slightly higher than current rates or an ARM that adjusted downward in the past year. Just make sure that you’ll be able to recoup the cost of refinancing before you sell your home. Divide the amount of the estimated closing costs (usually 3% to 6% of the mortgage amount; look at your loan papers from last time) by the amount of the monthly savings you anticipate. That will tell you the number of months until you break even.

A second mortgage or a home-equity line of credit complicates things. If you simply want to refinance the first mortgage, your total housing debt shouldn’t exceed 80% of your home’s market value, or else the holders of the second lien may refuse to resubordinate (agree to stand behind the first-mortgage holder for repayment if you default).

If the holder of the second lien refuses to play ball, you could try consolidating all your housing debt into a single mortgage — so that you can use some of the loan proceeds to pay off your second lien. To get such a conforming cash-out refi, you must have at least 20% equity, and for a conforming jumbo, you need 25% to 30% equity, or 35% to 40% equity if the loan is more than $625,500. You’ll also pay a higher interest rate, and paying the higher rate may not make sense. Another strategy is to take out a new home-equity line of credit from the lender of the new first mortgage and use it to pay off the old line of credit. Consider a line of credit with an option to lock in the rate.

There are lots of other things to think about… One of the best things you can do is take the time to talk with a qualified mortgage broker or loan officer.

One thing to note, a loan officer and a mortgage broker are two different people. Mortgage brokers make additional money on selling the loan products. A loan officer may not. Make sure you talk to the broker or officer and find out if they charge an origination fee, and if there are other costs added or associated with working with them, that are not directly related to the loan itself.

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