What is a home loan refinance?
A home loan refinance is the process of taking out a new loan to replace your current one. It might be done to take advantage of a lower interest rate, to shorten the term of your loan, or to take out equity from your home in cash. There’s no legal limit to the number of times you can refinance your home loan, but your lender may have waiting periods between refinances.
Since a refinance means you’re taking out a new loan, the steps involved will look similar to the ones you took the first time you got your loan.
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When you apply for a refinance, you’ll be asked for a lot of the same information you provided when you first got your loan. You’ll need proof of income, assets, credit history, and credit score.
Tip: You don’t need to refinance with your original lender. You can shop around and find one with the lowest rates, highest reviews, and best customer service. Please contact us today and one of our loan experts will be in touch to help you find the best option for refinancing.
Lock in an interest rate
Once you’ve been approved for a refinance, your lender will ask you if you’d like to lock in your rate. If you’re happy with the current rate, go ahead and lock it. Locks usually last for 15 – 60 days. Rates change daily so if you think the rate will decrease you can always “float” it, meaning you can lock it in once it’s lower. You could also float it if you’re afraid the lock will expire before you’re ready to close.
Once your loan is submitted, the process of underwriting begins. This is when your lender verifies the financial documents you provided to make sure everything is accurate. During a refinance, they’ll also appraise your home’s value, which is really important for a refinance – especially if you’re doing a cash out.
Tip: Respond quickly if your lender requests clarification or additional documentation. Delays might impact your closing date.
About 30 to 45 days after submitting your paperwork your refinance will close. Be prepared for closing costs to be around $1,500 plus up to 1.5% of your loan amount. You’ll have to sign paperwork, but it should be less than you had to sign for your original home mortgage.
Tip: Weigh the cost to refinance against the amount you’ll be saving. Many homeowners find it only makes sense to refinance if they’ll be staying in their house for at least a few more years. Otherwise, the closing cost of the refinance is more than the monthly savings.