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Low mortgage rates present a great opportunity to refinance. But does it mean you should?
As a rule of thumb, refinancing your mortgage is worth it if the new rate is roughly 1% lower than your current rate. But there are plenty of other factors – including closing costs, your loan term and how long you plan to stay in your home – that you need to consider:
What will the new rate be? Take a look at what average mortgage rates are to get a general idea of what kind of rate you might get. Keep in mind, the rate a lender offers you might be higher if you don’t have an excellent credit score.
What are the costs? A big reason people refinance is to reduce their monthly payments, but don’t overlook the full cost of the loan. Closing costs are typically around 2% to 3% of the loan amount, with the origination usually costing about 1% alone, but even that can vary among banks, online lenders and brokers. Shop around to compare loan costs from lenders, not just the rates. Other fees include processing and underwriting, appraisal, title and application and recording fees. The results of your appraisal – if your home has gone up or down in value – could change the terms and cost of your loan.
What is the loan term? The length of the loan will determine how much total interest you pay on your mortgage. If you have lived in your home for five to 10 years and plan to stay for a good many more, refinancing again into a 30-year loan may cost you more.
When will you break even? While you may consider refinancing if you can get a rate that’s 1% lower than your current rate, the real deciding factor is how long it will take to recover the cost of refinancing.
This calculator can help you figure out whether a home refinance is right for you.