Tuesday, December 23, 2008

6 Important Things T0 Know When Refinancing

Looking to Refinance? 6 Important Things To Know:
1. Refinancing an FHA Loan – Most people do not know that if you currently have an FHA loan, you will be charged interest through the end of the month no matter what day of the month you pay it off. This is crucial – if you are currently in an FHA loan, and your lender schedules the closing date in the beginning of the month, or even in the middle, you are going to pay interest on your new loan from closing until the 30th/31st, but you will ALSO pay interest on your old loan through the end of the month. Per day Interest can run anywhere between $20-$100 per day (depending on loan size), so if you close too early you could literally waste one to two thousand dollars in interest that is not necessary.

2. Refinancing an FHA Loan, pt 2 – When you purchased or refinanced into an FHA loan previously, you paid an ‘Up Front Mortgage Insurance Premium’ – otherwise called an FHA Funding Fee. If you are refinancing into a new FHA loan, you are entitled to a partial refund of your previous FHA Funding Fee. This could be anywhere between $500-$3,000, and it is important that your lender takes this into account.

3. Streamline Refinancing – If you are currently in an FHA or VA loan, you will not have to requalify for a new one. By virtue of the fact you were qualified before, you automatically qualify for a new FHA or VA loan as long as you are only lowering your interest rate (not getting cash back). So, just because your job or income situation has changed, don’t count yourself out. The only thing that would really be a problem is if you haven’t made your mortgage payments. But a Streamline Refinance is essentially a “everyone qualifies’ refinance, and no employment, income, or assets are even listed on the loan application.

4. True Payback? – Many people look at interest rates as a “shiny red car”, and unfortunately are all too willing to take a refinance option simply because there is a low rate along with it. This may sound cliché, but there are many other factors that need to be considered for you to decide whether you should refinance or not. A $200 per month savings is great – but what if it adds 3 years onto your mortgage, and raises your balance by $5,000? It might still be worth it, but it might now. A lot of it depends on your future plans, and how long you will stay in your house. Make sure that your lender calculates how long it takes for you to recoup the costs of refinancing, to see if it makes sense in light of your future plans.

5. Appraised Values – Although we are seeing values hold steady for the most part in Oklahoma, that isn’t always the case in every neighborhood. Before you spend $300-$400 on an appraisal, your lender should do you the courtesy of checking with an appraiser to make sure your house will still appraise high enough to refinance. 8 times out of 10, you’ll have nothing to worry about, but the other 2 times it would be really bad to spend that much money on an appraisal only to hear that the house won’t appraise, and the refinance will not work. Of course, an appraiser can’t be held to giving a “comp check”, but it at least gives everyone a good idea of whether it makes sense to order a full appraisal, to get the true appraised value at this time. Additionally, I would recommend working with a lender who has a say in who the appraiser is, as opposed to one who has their appraisal orders assigned out in a round-robin fashion.

6. Market Volatility – Neither the government, nor the Fed, sets mortgage rates…they are determined every day by what yields investors in the bond market are willing to receive to invest their dollars into mortgage pools. This can change a LOT from day to day. We have seen rates at 5.5% (or lower) only 3 times this year. Once in January/February, once in June/July, and right now. Both of the other two times, the low rates lasted about 2 weeks. Even with a slight increase in rates on Monday December 22nd, interest rates are still at all time lows. If you can take advantage of this, I would recommend it. Although there is a possibility for rates to go lower, but they can’t possibly go too much lower than the levels they are at now. But also, there is also a possibility that rates go higher, and there is much room for them to increase.

Courtesy of Brian & Heather Bomar of www.TheBomarTeam.com