Refinancing: What you need to know

Thanks to all-time-low interest rates, the number of homeowners refinancing their mortgages is at an all-time high. Of course, no one should refinance just because everyone else is doing it. But, for many homeowners, the benefits are simply too hard to ignore any longer.

Save money each month. According to Freddie Mac (The country’s largest purchaser of home mortgages), the average homeowner who refinances is able to cut their monthly payment by $108 (almost $1,300 per year) for a $200,000 loan.

Save even more in the long run. If you currently have a 30-year mortgage, refinancing with a 15-year version can save you thousands of dollars in interests over the life of the loan, plus allow you to build equity in your home faster than ever.

Switch to a fixed-rate mortgage. Refinancing with a fixed-rate mortgage gives you the security of knowing that your monthly payment will remain steady, regardless of whether lending rates rise or fall in the years ahead.

Access emergency funds. Something the mortgage industry calls “cash-out refinancing” allows you to take out a new mortgage for more than your current principal balance and use the additional money for other expenses (remodeling, college, a major medical procedure, etc.). Of course, this option should only be considered if you have a real need for the money and a solid plan for paying it back.

Consolidate debt. While consolidating credit card debt under a home loan may not be wise (unless you have a plan for controlling any additional spending), refinancing to consolidate two mortgages at these record-low rates can provide significant savings in both cases.

Things to consider beforehand:

Before moving ahead with a refinance of your own, a number of factors need to be considered (and numbers crunched) before you can determine how much you’ll actually benefit and if you can qualify for the best rates:

Closing costs. The fees associated with refinancing your mortgage are called “closing costs” and generally add up to somewhere between three and six percent of your loan amount (between $7,500 and $15,000 for a $250,000 mortgage refinancing).  While there are ways to lower some of those costs, you’ll still want to weigh those expenses against how much you stand to gain.

For example, let’s say you figure you’ll be able to save $100 per month by refinancing, and you’ve calculated the closing costs at about $10,000. That means you’ll need to continue living in the house for at least eight more years before the savings surpass the closing costs. In the mortgage industry, this is referred to as the break-even point; and the longer you continue living in the house beyond the break-even point, the more money you’ll save.

Your credit score. It depends on the circumstances, but most borrowers will need a credit score of 700 or higher to get access to the best rates and closing costs. To determine your score, get a copy of your credit report from Experian, Equifax and TransUnion. (Why all three? Because, if there’s any difference, most banks will use the lowest score.)

Your current level of home equity. To qualify for refinancing, your current level of “equity” (the difference between the market value of your home and the balance of your current mortgage) typically must be 20 percent or more. That means, if the market value of your home is $250,000, the remaining balance on your loan would have to be $200,000 or less.

Pre-payment penalty. Check to see if your current mortgage includes a pre-payment penalty for refinancing. That would likely make refinancing too expensive even at these record-low rates.

The importance of timing

Mortgage rates have sustained record lows over the last few years, and they will likely stay relatively low for the next few years. However, even a small increase can make a drastic change in the amount of money you will pay over the duration of your loan. Getting the lowest rate you can, will benefit your finances over the long-term.

Getting the process started is easy. Begin by checking your equity and credit score, then crunch the numbers using one of the many online mortgage calculators.

If the initial results look promising, ask your Windermere Real Estate agent for a recommendation on a reputable lender (or mortgage broker) who can provide you with an actual quote.

The post Refinancing: What you need to know appeared first on Best Real Estate Agents in Northern Colorado.

Rate Recap

The Federal Reserve raised interest rates by 0.25% this week. It was their 3rd rate increase this year.

This has us thinking about mortgage rates.

Today, 30-year mortgage rates are 3.93%.

Let’s put this in context with a little history lesson. Mortgage rates were…

  • 3.90% 6 months ago
  • 4.13% 1 year ago
  • 3.54% 18 months ago
  • 3.32% 5 years ago
  • 5.96% 10 years ago
  • 7.15% 20 years ago

So where are rates headed? Given that the Federal Reserve is expected to raise their rate three to four more times in 2018, we expect mortgage rates to be higher one year from today.

The Mortgage Bankers Association predicts rates to be 4.8% in the 4th quarter of next year. Freddie Mac’s prediction is 4.4%. If these predictions are true, that would mean mortgage rates would be back to where there were 6 to 7 years ago.

The post Rate Recap appeared first on Best Real Estate Agents in Northern Colorado.

Memory Lane

Today we will take a fun trip down memory lane.

Did you know that it was the fall of 1981 when mortgage interest rates hit their all time peak? Yes, it was this time 36 years ago when 30-year mortgage rates hit 18.39%.

1980's Roller DiscoYikes!

It’s important to note that in those days, not many home buyers were opting for a 30-fixed loan because rates were so high. There were a lot of people looking at adjustable rate products as a way to reduce the monthly payment.

Just for fun, let’s look at what a monthly payment would look like if those same rates from 1981 existed today.

If rates were 18.39% today, a $350,000 home with a 20% down payment would have a monthly principal and interest payment of…

$4,309! Yikes!

Thank goodness rates aren’t that high today. They are actually about 15% lower!

Today’s 30-year rate sits at 3.83% (which by the way is roughly half of the long term average).

A monthly principal and interest payment on a $350,000 home with 20% down is…

$1,309. Three thousand dollars lower than it would be using 1981 ‘s rates.

For a detailed look at what’s happening across Colorado, request our quarterly market report called “The Gardner Report“, written by Windermere Real Estate’s Chief Economist, Matthew Gardner.

The post Memory Lane appeared first on Best Real Estate Agents in Northern Colorado.

Memory Lane

Today we will take a fun trip down memory lane.

Did you know that it was the fall of 1981 when mortgage interest rates hit their all time peak? Yes, it was this time 36 years ago when 30-year mortgage rates hit 18.39%.

1980's Roller DiscoYikes!

It’s important to note that in those days, not many home buyers were opting for a 30-fixed loan because rates were so high. There were a lot of people looking at adjustable rate products as a way to reduce the monthly payment.

Just for fun, let’s look at what a monthly payment would look like if those same rates from 1981 existed today.

If rates were 18.39% today, a $350,000 home with a 20% down payment would have a monthly principal and interest payment of…

$4,309! Yikes!

Thank goodness rates aren’t that high today. They are actually about 15% lower!

Today’s 30-year rate sits at 3.83% (which by the way is roughly half of the long term average).

A monthly principal and interest payment on a $350,000 home with 20% down is…

$1,309. Three thousand dollars lower than it would be using 1981 ‘s rates.

For a detailed look at what’s happening across Colorado, request our quarterly market report called “The Gardner Report“, written by Windermere Real Estate’s Chief Economist, Matthew Gardner.

The post Memory Lane appeared first on Best Real Estate Agents in Northern Colorado.