Sunday, 15 February 2015

Online Re-Financing

The Internet has greatly simplified the process of re-financing a loan. Years ago homeowners had to go to a lender during regular business hours for lengthy consultations and would have to visit several different lenders to determine which one would offer the best rate. The Internet has not only simplified the process but has also given homeowners the luxury of investigating re-financing options at their convenience and also receiving multiple quotes form different lenders by filling out one simple online form.

Researching Re-Financing Online

The Internet has not only made it easier for homeowners to re-finance but it has also greatly simplified the process of learning more about re-financing. Again homeowners from past generations might have to rely on industry professionals and published books on the subject of re-financing. However, today’s homeowners can look up re-financing and find a wealth of useful information regarding the different types of loans and re-financing options available. Homeowners can also use the internet to access calculators which perform the complicated equations homeowners previously had to leave up to the trained professionals. These same calculations which may have taken a considerable amount of time to complete and correct are now solved within a fraction of a second.

Select a Reputable Lender

Homeowners who are doing the majority of their re-financing research and searches online should carefully consider the lender they choose. This is important because whether a lender is found online or offline, care should be taken to ensure the lender is reputable. The easiest way to do this is to stick with a well established lender who comes highly recommended by friends and family members. This does not mean new lenders and smaller lenders are not reputable but there is significantly less risk involved in selecting an established lender than there is in selecting a new lender.

Homeowners who are investigating their re-financing options online may find the website to be a very valuable resource. This website offers articles and calculators which the homeowner can use to gain the knowledge they need to make an informed decision. The articles on the website are written in clear and concise language which is easy to understand and the calculators are extremely user friendly and allow require the homeowner to enter in a few variables to obtain the desired results.

Another great feature of this website is the inclusion of a link which provides access to obtaining a free credit report. The process is very simple although it does require the homeowner to verify their identity. This is done to protect homeowners from identity theft or other acts of fraud. This is significant because homeowners are likely to realize the terms of their mortgage re-finance will depend largely on their credit score. Homeowners who have good credit will likely be offered favorable rates and terms while homeowners with less than perfect credit will not be offered favorable rates and terms.

However, the most significant feature of this website is the ability to obtain up to four quotes from qualified lenders by filling out one simple form. The information required is rather basic in nature and is information which most homeowners have readily available. Once this information is submitted into the system, the responses are received from up to four lenders almost instantly. The information contained in these reports is customized for the homeowner according to the information inputted into the system.

Saturday, 14 February 2015

Benefits of Re-Financing

There are a number of benefits which may be associated with re-financing a home. While there are some situations where re-financing is not the right decision, there are a host of benefits which can be gained from re-financing under favorable conditions. Some of these benefits include lower monthly payments, debt consolidation and the ability to utilize the existing equity in the home. Homeowners who are considering re-financing should consider each of these options with their current financial situation to determine whether or not they wish to re-finance their home.

Lower Monthly Payments

For many homeowners the possibility of lower monthly payments is a very appealing benefit of re-financing. Many homeowners live paycheck to paycheck and for these homeowners finding an opportunity to increase their savings can be a monumental feat. Homeowners who are able to negotiate lower interest rates when they re-finance their home will likely see the benefit of lower monthly mortgage payments resulting from the decision to re-finance.

Each month homeowners submit a mortgage payment. This payment is typically used to repay a portion of the interest as well as a portion of the principle on the loan. Homeowners who are able to refinance their loan at a lower interest rate may see a decrease in the amount they are paying in both interest and principle. This may be due to the lower interest rate as well as the lower remaining balance. When a home is re-financed, a second mortgage is taken out to repay the first mortgage. If the existing mortgage was already a few years old, it is likely the homeowner already had some equity and had paid off some of the previous principle balance. This enables the homeowner to take out a smaller mortgage when they re-finance their home because they are repaying a smaller debt than the original purchase price of the home.

Debt Consolidation

Some homeowners begin to investigate re-financing for the purpose of debt consolidation. This is especially true for homeowners who have high interest debts such as credit card debts. A debt consolidation loan enables the homeowner to use the existing equity in their home as collateral to secure a low interest loan which is large enough to repay the existing balance on the home as well as a number of other debts such as credit card debt, car loans, student loans or any other debts the homeowner may have.

When re-financing is done of the purpose of debt consolidation there is not always an overall increase in savings. Those who are seeking to consolidate their debts are often struggling with their monthly payments and are seeking an option which makes it easier for the homeowner to manage their monthly bills.

Additionally, debt consolidation can also simplify the process of paying monthly bills. Homeowners who are apprehensive about participating in monthly bill pay programs may be overwhelmed by the amount of bills they have to pay each month. Even if the value of these bills is not worrisome just the act of writing several checks each month and ensuring they are sent, on time, to the correct location can be overwhelming. For this reason, many homeowners often re-finance their mortgage to minimize the amount of payments they are making each month.

Using the Existing Equity in the Home

Another popular reason for re-financing is to use the existing equity in the home. Homeowners who have a considerable amount of equity in their home may find they are able to cash out some of this equity for other purposes. This may include making improvements to the home, starting a business, taking a dream vacation or pursuing a higher degree of education. The homeowner is not limited in how they can use the equity in their home and may re-finance a home equity line of credit which can be used for any purpose imaginable. A home equity line of credit is different from a loan because the funds are not disbursed all at once. Rather the funds are made available to the homeowner and the homeowner can withdraw these finds at anytime during the draw period.

Does It Pay to Re-Finance?

This is a question many homeowners may have when they are considering re-financing their home. Unfortunately the answer to this question is a rather complex one and the answer is not always the same. There are some standard situations where a homeowner might investigate the possibility of re-financing. These situations include when interest rates drop, when the homeowner’s credit score improves and when the homeowner has a significant change in their financial situation. While a re-finance may not necessarily be warranted in all of these situations, it is certainly worth at least investigating.

Drops in the Interest Rate

Drops in interest rates often send homeowners scrambling to re-finance. However the homeowner should carefully consider the rate drop before making the decision to re-finance. It is important to note that a homeowner pays closing costs each time they re-finance. These closings costs may include application fees, origination fees, appraisal fees and a variety of other costs and may add up quite quickly. Due to this fee, each homeowner should carefully evaluate their financial situation to determine whether or not the re-financing will be worthwhile. In general the closing fees should not exceed the overall savings and the amount of time the homeowner is required to retain the property to recoup these costs should not be longer than the homeowner plans to retain the property.

Credit Score Improvements

When the homeowner’s credit scores improve, considering re-financing is warranted. Lenders are in the business of making money and are more likely to offer favorable rates to those with good credit than they are to offer these rates to those with poor credit. As a result those with poor credit are likely to be offered terms such as high interest rates or adjustable rate mortgages. Homeowners who are dealing with these circumstances may investigate re-financing as their credit improves. The good thing about credit scores is mistakes and blemishes are eventually erased from the record. As a result, homeowners who make an honest effort to repair their credit by making payments in a timely fashion may find themselves in a position of improved credit in the future.

When credit scores are higher, lenders are willing to offer lower interest rates. For this reason homeowners should consider the option or re-financing when their credit score begins to show marked improvement. During this process the homeowner can determine whether or not re-financing under these conditions is worthwhile.

Changed Financial Situations

Homeowners should also consider re-financing when there is a considerable change in their financial situation. This may include a large raise as well as the loss of a job or a change in careers resulting in a considerable loss of pay. In either case, re-financing may be a viable solution. Homeowners who are making considerably more money might consider re-financing to pay off their debts earlier. Conversely, those who find themselves unable to fulfill their monthly financial obligations might turn to re-financing as a way of extending the debt which will lower the monthly payments. This may result in the homeowner paying more money in the long run because they are stretching their debt over a longer pay period but it might be necessary in times of need. In these cases a lower monthly payment may be worth paying more in the long run.

Seek Recommendations When Re-Financing

Homeowners who are re-financing their home for the first time may need a great deal of advice to assist them during the process. While homeowner can certainly research the process of re-financing by themselves, this can be a cumbersome task which is difficult, if not impossible. While it might be possible for a homeowner to educate himself enough to make informed decisions, it is unreasonable to expect a homeowner to be up to date on the most current information in the re-financing industry. It would also not be reasonable for homeowners to learn enough to make a definite decision regarding re-financing. The homeowner may still require some direction regarding which options are best suited for the needs of the homeowner.

Fortunately there are two simple steps homeowners can take to tips the odds of obtaining the most favorable re-financing in their favor. These simple steps include consulting with friends and family members who have recently financed and turning to industry experts for assistance.

Consult Friends and Family when Re-Financing

Believe it or not consulting with family and friends is one of the first steps a homeowner should take in the refinancing process. Those reading this article might be somewhat confused by this suggestion because in the previous section we stressed how it would be virtually impossible for a homeowner to thoroughly educate themselves on the re-financing process. Surely, we are not implying every homeowner has a friend or family member who is capable of given detailed financial advice in regard to re-financing. However, friends and family members can be helpful in a different capacity.

Friends and family members who recently re-financed their own home likely did a great deal of research and legwork before making their decision. They also likely formed useful opinions, either negative or positive, about the lender they used in the process. It is this information which can be very useful to homeowners who are considering their own re-financing. Homeowners can obtain information such as which lenders are currently offering the best rates as well as which lenders are easy to work with and responsive to the needs of the homeowners as well as which lenders do not take a vested interest in helping the homeowner to succeed.

Ask Experts for Advice when Re-Financing

One piece of advice which cannot be overlooked when re-financing a home, is asking an expert in the re-financing industry for advice. These experts may have costly consulting fees associated with their assistance but most homeowners would agree these fees are certainly worthwhile especially if the result in a significant cost savings for the homeowner.

We previously stressed how the issues associated with re-financing can be quite complex and difficult for those outside of the industry to fully understand, however, those in the industry spend their days devoted to learning more about re-financing, keeping up to date with changes in the industry as well as new developments and figuring out how to best serve the customers. All of these characteristics make it clear that homeowners should really consider employing the services of a financial planner with a great deal of experience in re-financing when they are making decisions regarding the best re-financing option for their situation.

Again, friends and family members who previously consulted with an industry professional can supply candid opinions about those they met. This can save the homeowner a great deal of time by eliminating potential candidates who friends and family members thought performed poorly.

Understanding Re-Financing

Understanding the process of re-financing can be quite dizzying. Homeowners who are considering re-financing might initially be overwhelmed by the number of options available to them. However, after taking some time to educate themselves about the process, they will likely find the process is not nearly as daunting as they had imagined. This article will discuss some of the options available to those interested in re-financing as well as some of the important factors to consider in order to determine whether or not refinancing is worthwhile.

Consider the Options

Homeowners have quite a few options available to them when they are considering the possibility of re-financing their home. The most significant decision is the type of loan they will choose. Fixed rate mortgages and adjustable rate mortgages (ARMs) are the two main types of mortgages the homeowners will likely encounter. Additionally there are hybrid loan options available.

As the name implies, a fixed rate mortgage is one in which the interest rate remains constant throughout the duration of the loan period. This is an especially favorable type of loan when the homeowner has credit which is sufficient enough to lock in a low interest rate.

ARMs are mortgages where the interest rate varies during the course of the loan period. The interest rate is usually tied to an index such as the prime index and is subject to rises and falls in accordance with this index. This is considered a riskier type of loan and is therefore often offered to homeowners who have less favorable credit scores.

Although ARMs are considered somewhat risky there is usually a certain degree of protection written into the loan agreement. This may come in the form of a clause which limits the amount the interest rate can increase, in terms of percentage points, over a fixed period of time. This can protect the homeowner from sharp increases in the interest rates which would otherwise considerably raise the amount of their monthly payments.

Hybrid loans are mortgages which combine a fixed element with an adjustable element. An example of this type of loan is a situation where the lender may offer a fixed interest rate for the first five years of the loan and a variable interest rate for the remainder of the loan. Lenders typically offer a lower introductory interest rate for the fixed period to make the mortgage seem more enticing.

Consider the Closing Costs

The closing costs associated with re-financing should be carefully considered when deciding whether or not to re-finance the home. This is significant because when homeowners re-finance their home they are often subject to many of the same closing costs as when they originally purchased the home. These costs may include, but are not limited to appraisal fees, application fees, loan origination fees and a host of other expenses. These costs can be quite significant. The closing costs will be significant when the homeowner considers the overall savings associated with re-financing.

Consider the Overall Savings

When deciding whether or not to re-finance, the overall savings is one factor the homeowners should carefully consider. This is important because re-financing is typically not considered worthwhile unless it results in a financial savings. Although some homeowners refinance to lower monthly costs and are not concerned with the overall picture, most homeowners consider whether or not they will be saving money by refinancing.

The amount of money the homeowner will save when re-financing is largely dependent on the new interest rate in relation to the old interest rate. Other factors come into play such as the remaining balance of the existing loan as well as the amount of time the homeowner intends to stay in the home before selling the property. It is important to note that the amount of money saved by negotiating a lower interest rate is not equal to the entire savings. The homeowner must determine the closing costs associated with re-financing and subtract this sum from the potential savings. A negative number would indicate the new interest rate is not low enough to offset the closing costs. Conversely a positive number indicates an overall savings. With this information the homeowner can decide whether or not he wishes to re-finance.

Checking Mortgage Rates Online

Homeowners who are planning to re-finance their home may find the Internet to be a very worthwhile resource. The Internet is useful because it can give the homeowner a wealth of information as well as the ability to compare different rates from different lenders at their convenience. While these options have made re-financing a more convenient process there is more potential for danger. However, homeowners who exercise a small amount of common sense in using the Internet for re-financing often find they are not at any additional risk.

Comparison Shop at Your Convenience

One of the most popular advantages to researching re-financing online is the ability to comparison shop at the homeowner’s convenience. This is important because many homeowners work long hours and often find they are not able to meet with lenders during regular business hours because of job restraints. The Internet, however, is open 24 hours a day and allows homeowners to research their options, make important calculations or receive online quotes at any time of the day through the use of automated systems.

Homeowners can also take their time comparing the quotes they receive from these lenders online instead of feeling pressured to provide an immediate response. While homeowners may have some additional time available to them, these same homeowners should realize they do need to act relatively quickly to lock in estimates they receive as interest rates are often time sensitive in nature and cannot be guaranteed for long periods of time.

Use Only Reliable Resources

Homeowners who are using the Internet to research re-financing options and obtain quotes should carefully consider their sources when making important decisions regarding the subject of re-financing. Homeowners who stick with well known lenders and established websites will not likely encounter problems but those who select a new lender may be surprised by the results of the re-financing attempt.

Homeowners who are unsure about the reliability of a particular resource or lender should do additional research on the company. One of the easiest ways to do this is to consult the Better Business Bureau (BBB). The BBB may be able to provide the homeowner with valuable information regarding the number of previous complaints against the company. A company who has a large number of unresolved complaints should be considered an unreliable company. However, homeowners should not assume companies without a significant number of complaints are reputable unless the company has been in existence for a number of years and is a member of the BBB.

Homeowners should also take care not to be fooled by fancy web design. A website which looks very professional is not necessarily a website which is accurate and informative. Many skilled website designers can create websites which are both attractive and professional looking. These website designers can also optimize a website for particular mortgage related keywords so users find the page easily when searching for these terms but this does not necessarily make the website designer knowledgeable about the subject to re-financing.

Confirm Loan Terms in Person before Committing

While shopping for re-financing options online is certainly easy and convenient, homeowners should consider completing the application process either in person or over the phone instead of relying on an automated system. While the Internet is good for research purposes, homeowners can take advantage of face to face meetings or telephone conferences to ask all of their relevant questions. Asking all of these questions will help the homeowner to ensure he fully understand the loan terms as well as all of his available options.

Completing the re-financing process in person or over the phone can also prevent the homeowner from being surprised by any elements of the mortgage re-finance. This may include additional fees which are tacked on during the processing of the application, rates which are only available in certain situations or other elements of the re-financing agreement which could significantly impact the homeowner’s decision making process.

Are You Considering Re-Financing?

Homeowners who are considering re-financing their home may have a wealth of options available to them. However, these same homeowners may find themselves feeling overwhelmed by this wealth of options. This process doesn’t have to be so difficult though. Homeowners can greatly assist themselves in the process by taking a few simple steps. First the homeowner should determine his refinancing goals. Next the homeowner should consult with a re-financing expert and finally the homeowner should be aware that re-financing is not always the best solution.

Determine Your Goals for Re-Financing

The first step in any re-financing process should be for the homeowner to determine his goals and why he is considering re-financing. There are many different answers to this question and none of the answers are necessarily right or wrong. The most important thing is that the homeowner is making a decision which helps him achieve his financial goals. While there are no right or wrong answer to why re-financing should be considered there are, however, certain reasons for re-financing which are very common. These reasons include:

* Reducing monthly mortgage payments

* Consolidating existing debts

* Reducing the amount of interest paid over the course of the loan

* Repaying the loan quicker

* Gaining equity quicker

Although the reasons listed above are not the only reason homeowners might consider re-financing, they are some of the most popular reasons. They are included in this article for the purpose of getting the reader thinking. The reader may find their mortgage re-financing strategy fits into one of the above goals or they may have a completely different reason for wanting to re-finance. The reason for wanting to re-finance is not as important as determining this reason. This is because a homeowner, or even a financial advisor, will have a difficult time determining the best re-financing option for a homeowner if he does not know the goals of the homeowner.

Consult with a Re-Financing Expert

Once a homeowner has figured out why they want to re-finance, the homeowner should consider meeting with a re-financing expert to determine the best refinancing strategy. This will likely be a strategy which is financially sound but is also still geared to meeting the needs of the homeowner.

Homeowners who feel as though they are particularly well versed in the subject of re-financing might consider skipping the option of consulting with a re-financing expert. However, this is not recommended because even the most educated homeowner may not be aware of the newest re-financing options being offered by lenders.

While not understanding all the options may not seem like a big deal, it can have a significant impact. Homeowners may not even be aware of mistakes they are making but they may here of friends who re-financed under similar conditions and receive more favorable terms. Hearing these scenarios can be quite disheartening for some homeowners especially if they could have saved considerably more while re-financing.

Consider Not Re-Financing as a Viable Option

Homeowners who are considering re-financing may realize the importance of evaluating a number of different re-financing options to determine which option is best but these same homeowners may not realize they should also carefully consider not re-financing as an option. This is often referred to as the “do nothing” option because it refers to the conditions which will exist if the homeowner does not make a change in their mortgage situation.

For each re-financing option considered, the homeowner should determine the estimated monthly payment, amount of interest paid during the course of the loan, year in which the loan will be fully repaid and the amount of time the homeowner will have to remain in the home to recoup closing costs associated with re-financing. Homeowners should also determine these values for the current mortgage. This can be very helpful for comparison purposes. Homeowners can compare these results and often the best option is quite clear from these numeric calculations. However, if the analysis does not yield a clear cut answer, the homeowner may have to evaluate secondary characteristics to make the best possible decision.