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Refinance Or Not? That Is The Question
Your home is most likely the single biggest asset you own, and can make the decision to refinance a difficult one. Also, a home is most often filled with the owner’s personal touches and contains many memories. You might ask what the heck family memories have to do with a home refinance. Good question. If you find yourself at the closing table unsure of your loan details, terms, benefits, and how your refinance will set you up for the future, thoughts of future financial uncertainty could suddenly pop into your mind. Shortly thereafter, slowly creeping into your consciousness, come visions of invading bill collector warriors attacking your castle, and you suddenly shout “Not my home!”…and choose to put a stop to the refinance plans.
Now, your loan program at the closing may have been an excellent one that provided for sound financial benefit, or maybe not. What is really important is that you understand the impact that your refinance will have on your immediate and long term financial picture, before you sign the final papers. Many people view their residence as their “house” during the refinance process, and later feel it is their “home” at the closing table. It may seem obvious, but you should ask yourself what you wish to accomplish in the short and long-term with a refinance, before you begin the process. Dig as deep as you can.
You may be looking for a lower rate, lower payment, debt-consolidation, cash-out for various purposes, or to get out of a variable rate program and into a fixed-rate loan, or maybe a combination of objectives. Maybe you are looking for a 15 year repayment term to pay off your home as soon as possible, or maybe a 30 year term to lower the monthly payment and use the extra money for investments. Figure your current monthly expenditures to compare against various refinance scenarios. Determine the maximum monthly payment that meets your comfort level. Speak to your accountant to discuss the tax benefit comparison between your current mortgage and proposed refinance mortgage. The higher your mortgage interest accrued per year, the higher the tax deduction benefit if you itemize on your tax return, as opposed to taking the standard deduction. How long do you plan to be in your home? This is an important question. If you know you will be moving in a relative short number of years, you may want to look at an adjustable rate loan that is fixed at a lower rate of interest for at least the number of years before you sell. If you are unsure, or strongly feel that you will be in your home for a long period of time, you will most likely be more comfortable with a fixed-rate refinance. Your loan officer should be able to guide you throughout the entire process, and provide you with disclosure documents detailing the specifics of the loan program that you ultimately choose to utilize.
The best refinance program is one that provides for immediate benefit, and also provides for future financial stability in-line with your objectives. Now that you know the details, terms, benefits, and future stability of your refinance program, you will feel confident at the closing. You should expect no less, because after all, your home is your castle.
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