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7 Common Misconceptions About Mortgage Refinancing

Read Time: 4 Minutes June 27, 2024

Refinancing your mortgage can be a strategic financial move, but many homeowners hesitate due to misunderstandings about the process. Let's debunk seven common misconceptions to help you make an informed decision.

Hand touching refinance button

1. Waiting for Rates to Drop

One of the most prevalent myths is that you should wait for mortgage rates to drop further before refinancing. This can be a risky strategy because there's no guarantee that rates will fall. Refinancing should be based on your financial situation and goals rather than trying to time the market. Every day you delay, you could be missing out on potential savings from a lower interest rate that could be available now.

2. It’s Too Much Trouble

Many homeowners believe that refinancing is a cumbersome and complex process. However, it’s often less daunting than anticipated. You likely already have many of the required documents, such as proof of income (W-2 forms), bank statements, and title insurance. The perceived hassle is minimal compared to the potential benefits of refinancing, such as lower monthly payments and reduced interest costs.

3. Refinancing Can Be Done at Any Time

Depending on your mortgage type, you will face various requirements before you can refinance, such as making a certain number of consecutive on-time payments, having a minimum credit score and a having certain debt-to-income ratio. For certain loan types, you will have to wait at least a year after purchase before refinancing.

Additionally, the feasibility and benefits depend on the current housing market and your financial situation. Market conditions, interest rates, and your credit profile can all influence whether refinancing is advantageous at a given time. It’s important to evaluate your circumstances and the market before making a decision.

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4. There Is No Reason to Refinanc

There are numerous compelling reasons to refinance. These include:

  • Lower Monthly Payments: Securing a lower interest rate can reduce your monthly mortgage payments, freeing up cash for other uses.
  • Interest Savings: Refinancing to a shorter-term loan can save you money on interest over the life of the loan.
  • Fixed-Rate Stability: Switching from an adjustable-rate mortgage (ARM) to a fixed-rate mortgage can provide payment stability.
  • Cash-Out Refinancing: This allows you to tap into your home’s equity for significant expenses such as home improvements, medical bills, or debt consolidation.

5. You Can Only Refinance with Your Current Lender

While your current lender might offer a streamlined process, you are not obligated to refinance with them. It's wise to shop around and compare rates and fees from different lenders. This competitive approach can help you secure the best possible terms for your refinance.

6. I Won’t Qualify for a Refinance

Many homeowners mistakenly believe they won’t qualify for refinancing due to insufficient equity or financial struggles. However, various government-backed programs are available to assist different financial situations. Options like FHA Streamline Refinance or VA Interest Rate Reduction Refinance Loan (IRRRL) can help those with low equity or credit challenges.

Don’t assume disqualification; instead, explore available programs and consult with lenders to understand your options.

7. You Must Start Over Again

Refinancing does involve taking out a new loan, which can mean starting over with a new term. However, you have the flexibility to choose a different loan term:

  • Shorter Terms: You can refinance to a shorter-term loan, such as a 10, 15, or 20-year mortgage, which can help you pay off your loan faster and save on interest.
  • Same or Longer Terms: Alternatively, you can opt for a new 30-year term to lower your monthly payments, although this might increase the total interest paid over the life of the loan.

The key is to select a term that aligns with your financial goals.

Final Thoughts

Refinancing can offer significant financial benefits, from lowering your monthly payments to reducing the total interest paid over the life of the loan. By understanding and debunking these common misconceptions, you can make a more informed decision about whether refinancing is right for you.

To further explore your refinancing options and find a lender that meets your needs, consider reaching out to multiple lenders for quotes and advice. This proactive approach can help you secure the best possible terms for your financial situation.

Fannie Mae® and Freddie Mac® is a registered registered trademark of the Federal Home Loan Mortgage Corporation. The previously mentioned companies and programs are not affiliated with Newrez LLC.

By refinancing an existing loan, the total finance charges may be higher over the life of the loan. We may transfer the escrow account balance from the current loan to the new loan. If the current escrow amount is insufficient due to changes in taxes or insurance, we may require additional money when closing on the new loan.

Learn more in our other educational series.

We’ve assembled a treasure trove of jargon-free information to demystify home-financing and arm you with valuable insights and actionable options.

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