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What does it mean to refinance your home?

Refinancing is when you receive a secure loan to replace an existing loan that is secured by the same assets. In other words, you take out a new mortgage to replace the existing mortgage loan you already have. There are many reasons why doing so can greatly benefit you in reducing or consolidating debt that is mortgage related or even non-mortgage related.

Why would I want to refinance? What are the benefits?

There are usually two common types of mortgage refinancing:

The first type of mortgage refinancing is “rate and term.” For example, if the current available interest rate is 6.25% on a 30 year fixed, and your current interest rate on a 30 year fixed is 7.75%, then refinancing to a lower interest rate can save you thousands in interest and lower your monthly payment. Another example, which could help you save money now on your monthly payments, is a pay option ARM (Adjustable Rate Mortgage). This type of loan will allow you to pay interest only (not principal) and not accumulate equity. However, this may be a good option if you are going through financial struggles as your monthly payments can be reduced significantly. Moreover, sometimes exchanging an ARM (Adjustable Rate Mortgage) for a fixed rate mortgage is smart because your payment under an ARM will rise if market interest rates rise. Knowing you have a payment that is stable, is a great way to prevent yourself from getting into more payment then expected.

The second type of mortgage refinancing deals with tapping into the equity you have accumulated in your house to pay off or reduce other debts you have. It is typically called a “cash-out refinance.” This is when you refinance for a higher principal loan amount then your current principal balance in order to get cash in your pocket to pay off student debt/student loans, high-interest credit card bills, or medical bills with higher interest rates then your current mortgage.

Some Ways Refinancing Can Lower Monthly Payments and High Interest Debt:

To summarize, some homeowners refinance to tap into the equity they've accumulated in their houses, using the funds for paying off student loans, paying off credit cards, or paying for high-interest bills. Some refinance to a longer-term (like going from 15 year fixed to a 30 year) mortgage, which enables them to pay back debt over a longer period of time but yet have lower payments. Some people refinance as a way of taking advantage of lower interest rates enabling them to reduce their monthly mortgage payments. Some people refinance to an interest only loan, where you will only pay interest and not principle therefore reducing your monthly payments. Some people refinance to a fixed term loan from an ARM in order to have a consistent stable mortgage payment.

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Great External Resource: U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development