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Is Refinancing Your Mortgage the Right Move for You?

ByAlan DonahueAug. 16, 2020

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Applying for a refinance loan can help ease your financial stress
Times change, so why shouldn’t your mortgage? Mortgage refinancing (sometimes referred to as taking out a second mortgage) can help you save money, get cash in your pocket, lower your monthly payments, shorten your loan term and more! Learn more about mortgage refinancing and get the facts before you decide if it’s the right move for you.

Rather than blindly starting the refinance process, it's important to break down the different factors to truly see if a mortgage refinance is right for you.

Can I Lower My Interest Rates?

One of the common reasons to refinance a home is to obtain a lower interest rate. This is one of the easiest ways to save money on your monthly payments. When you initially purchased your home, you may have been stuck with higher interest due to your financial situation or the state of the market at the time of your original application. Lowering your interest rate by 2-3% can make an enormous difference in your monthly payments. As you browse through the best mortgage lenders, you have the ability to use online refinancing calculators to compare your potential monthly savings. Quite often, the reduced interest can result in thousands of dollars in savings each year.

Compare our Top Lenders

Lender Minimum Credit Score Visit Site
Quicken Loans 620+ for most loans View Rates
AmeriSave 580+ View Rates
Better.com 620+ View Rates

Can I Change My Loan Terms?

There are many types of mortgage terms that are available for initial loans. What worked for you in the beginning may not be the most viable option for your current situation. For example, you may have an adjusted rate mortgage (ARM), where the mortgage lender can change the interest rate annually. If you're currently on a tight budget, you have the option of establishing more consistent, affordable payments through refinancing. You may refinance to a 30-year fixed mortgage that will give you a stable interest rate and the same payment throughout the duration of the loan.

If your financial situation has drastically improved, you may want to refinance your home to a shorter mortgage term. A 15-year fixed rate mortgage can yield much lower interest rates and allow you to pay off your home quickly. A balloon payment mortgage features fixed payments for a set amount of years and then one large final payment at the end of the set term.

House Value & Equity

Typically, one of the first steps in refinancing your home is to receive an appraisal from a qualified refinancing lender. The current home value can have a major impact on the type of refinancing that you apply for. If your home value has increased, you may want to refinance in order to increase the home's equity. The equity amount represents the value of the home that you actually own. For example, if your home was valued at $200,000 and you already paid $50,000, you would have 25% equity on the property. If the home's value has increased to $250,000, your equity value would now equal $100,000 or 40%. After you refinance, the extra equity and value can be paid to you once the house is completely paid off.

If your home value has gone down, you may want to reconsider the refinancing process. You may not have as many benefits and could actually lose out on some of the equity that you currently have. This is why an appraisal can give you a clearer picture of the current market and your available options.

Closing Costs & Living in the Home

In the world of refinancing, it takes money to save money. If you are in a short-term living situation and plan on moving soon, now may not be the best time to refinance on the home. If you plan on living in the home for 2 years or more, refinancing can help you save money and allow those savings to grow after a period of years. Just like a regular mortgage, refinancing comes with multiple closing costs.

While some of these costs may be negotiated lower or waived completely, the total amount can end up being thousands of dollars. These costs will eventually offset, but it's important that you stay in the same living situation to make it worthwhile. For example, if your closing costs are around $3,000 and your new mortgage payment saves you $200 monthly, it will take 15 months to offset the closing costs.

Our Top Lenders

Quicken Loans

Quicken offers a large range of mortgage and refinancing loans, including reverse mortgages, specialist VA and USDA mortgages, refinancing options, and a unique YOURgage option. Quicken promises to use cutting-edge technology to guide borrowers to the best loan product and complete the loan approval process quickly.  Quicken stands out for offering home equity loans for almost every possible scenario so that you can find a suitable home financing package speedily, whatever your needs. 

Read the full QuickenLoans review

Quicken Loans Quicken Loans View Rates

AmeriSave

Based in Atlanta, Georgia, AmeriSave Mortgage Corporation has established itself as one of the premier names in the mortgage loans and refinancing industry. The company was established in 2002, and has since expanded its service to 49 states and the District of Columbia. Today, the company offers a quick and straightforward way for potential homeowners and prospective buyers to uncover the loans they need and access funds efficiently. AmeriSave has expanded to employ more than 500 mortgage specialists, and funds billions in home loans every year. Moreover, the company offers a wide variety of mortgage options, including conventional, jumbo, FHA, VA and USDA loans.

Read the full AmeriSave review

AmeriSave Mortgage AmeriSave Mortgage View Rates

Better.com

The Better.com site is super-easy to use; when you input basic info (where the house is located, how much it costs, and how much your down payment and the amount you're looking to pay for your jumbo loan would be), the site immediately finds relevant loans with the best possible rates. It also tells you how much you can expect to pay in third party fees. If you input your information and no loans are available, the site will make suggestions about what you can change to receive loan options.

Read the full Better.com review

Better.com Better.com View Rates

Credit Scores

When you initially applied for your home loan, your credit score was an important factor. The same thing applies to mortgage refinancing. Your current credit situation can be an important determining factor as to whether or not you should apply for refinancing. If you've been on time with all of your monthly payments, your credit score should be the same if not better. Along with the mortgage payments, other bills and debt will be considered into the overall credit score. If your credit score has lowered significantly, it may not be worth refinancing. A mortgage company will also look at bank accounts, tax returns, and other financial statements to help qualify you for the refinancing and lower interest rates. In some cases, it may be a good idea to wait a few months and take steps to raise your credit score, thereby improving your refinancing prospects.

Mortgage refinancing can save you money and provide you with more affordable payment options.

Once you've chosen to refinance, be sure to compare the top lenders using these detailed reviews.