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Published: Mar 13, 2024 10 min read

Refinancing your mortgage can be a good option if you want to save on your monthly mortgage payments or take advantage of the equity you’ve gained in your home. But there are several factors you need to consider before going ahead with a refi. The main consideration is whether it makes financial sense.

To answer that question, use Money’s refinance calculator to determine whether refinancing is right for you.

How Money’s Refinance Calculator Works

Our mortgage refinance calculator can estimate how much you could save by refinancing. You’ll need to provide several pieces of information to the calculator, including details about your current mortgage, new loan amount, loan type, new interest rate and credit rating. Once you’ve input all the required data, click the calculate button to get your estimated new loan payments.

If you decide refinancing is the right choice, it’s time to apply for a loan. Before you start shopping around for a lender, we recommend you check out our research on the Best Mortgage Lenders of 2024 to find the best rates for your location, credit score, loan amount and type.

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1Add Your Info
$ 0
$ 3,000,000
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This will help us calculate the remaining principal to refinance.

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This will help us calculate the remaining principal to refinance.

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We use an average daily interest rate, but feel free to adjust if you have a pre-approved interest rate.

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In order to get the most accurate estimate, select the credit score that best represents your credit history.

Money’s calculator results are for illustrative purposes only and not guaranteed. Money uses regional averages, so your mortgage payment may vary.

2New Monthly Payment

$---,---

Monthly Savings

$---,---

Remaining Interest with Old Rate

$---,---

Remaining Interest with New Rate

$---,---

Interest Savings

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3What's today's rate?
Latest Rate,
May 26 was
7.756%
Mortgage Rate For May 27, 2024
View Rates at Rocket Mortgage (NMLS #3030)

What is Mortgage Refinancing?

Mortgage refinancing is when you take out another mortgage loan to pay your existing mortgage balance. Ideally, this new loan will have a new term, lower total interest rate, or both, resulting in significant long-term savings.

How Does Refinancing Work?

Refinancing is an option for people who want to pay off their mortgage faster (by changing the loan term), lower their current monthly payment, or tap into their home equity for cash.

Home equity is calculated by subtracting what you still owe on your mortgage from the current market value of your home. You can also divide your equity by the home’s value to calculate your home equity percentage.

You’ll have to go through the application and eligibility process to refinance a home loan, just like when you took your original mortgage. After loan approval, you’ll pay off your existing loan balance and continue with the monthly payments of your new mortgage for the duration of the term.

How Much Does it Cost to Refinance?

According to the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB), the average closing costs for a mortgage refinance are approximately $6,000. But keep in mind that closing costs vary depending on the loan amount and the state where the property is located.

Here are the standard costs included in your refinance loan’s closing disclosure:

  • Appraisal fee: A professional appraiser looks at the property and estimates its market value
  • Attorney fees: An attorney prepares documents and contracts — not all states require the services of a lawyer
  • Escrow fee: A fee paid to the real estate agency or attorney in charge of closing the loan
  • Insurance fees: Homeowners insurance must be current
  • Points: Also known as discount points, these are used during the closing to lower the loan interest rate — each point costs 1% of the loan amount, and its purchase is optional
  • Underwriting fee: Covers the cost of evaluating the loan application
  • Title Insurance fee: Protects against third-party claims against the property that didn’t appear in the initial title search
  • Tax service fee: A fee to make sure that the borrowers pay the required property taxes

When Should You Refinance Your Mortgage?

Refinancing your current home isn’t always a good idea, but it can be a wise financial move under the right conditions.

Refinancing a mortgage makes sense if you can achieve one of the following:

Lower interest rates

Locking in a new interest rate can result in:

  • A lower monthly payment
  • Paying less interest debt over the mortgage term

To qualify for the lowest possible refinance rates, you’ll generally need to have a credit score of at least 740.

Shorter loan term

Spreading your loan balance over a shorter loan term will:

  • Help you pay your mortgage off faster
  • Lower interest payment over the loan’s term

Annual percentage rates are also generally lower for 15-year loans than for 30-years. However, the monthly payments are much higher. This option is best for those with few long-term financial obligations who can afford the monthly mortgage payment.

Obtain the cash you need now

For cash-out refinance loans:

  • Most banks will require you to keep at least 20% equity in the home
  • High credit score requirements

Interest rates on cash-out refinance loans also tend to be higher. Most borrowers opt for this type of refinancing to cover home improvement expenses or to consolidate debt from credit cards or other higher-interest loans.

Get out of paying mortgage Insurance

On conventional loans, private mortgage insurance (PMI) should be automatically canceled once you’ve reached 80% equity in your home. However, with an FHA loan, you are required to pay mortgage insurance premiums (MIP) for the life of the loan.

If you have enough equity and can qualify, it can pay to refinance a conventional loan. The FHA mortgage insurance premium ranges from 0.45% to 1.05% of the loan amount each year.

Switch to a fixed-rate mortgage from an adjustable-rate mortgage

Adjustable-rate mortgages have a fixed interest rate for a specific number of years, after which the rate becomes variable and changes according to market conditions. This variability means you will periodically get a new interest rate on the loan.

With a fixed-rate loan, your interest rate and monthly mortgage payments will remain the same for the life of the loan (i.e., until you sell, refinance or finish paying it off). Due to that predictability, fixed-rate mortgages are the best option for most borrowers — especially when rates are low and if they plan to stay in their home for a long time.

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A lower rate could translate to lower payments, which means you’ll pay less for your home overall
Locking in a lower interest rate means lower payments and more savings. Sound good? Get a free quote from Rocket Mortgage (NMLS #3030) by clicking below.
View Rates

When is Refinancing Your Mortgage a Bad Idea?

Refinancing your current loan may not make sense in every scenario. If the cost of the new loan exceeds how much you’d save by refinancing, if your financial situation is uncertain, or if your credit score has taken a dip, refinancing may not be the smartest choice.

Other reasons why refinancing might not be the best option include:

If you’re planning to move soon

If you plan to sell in the next few years, the monthly savings you get from refinancing may not exceed the total cost of refinancing your loan.

If you plan to sell in the next few years, the monthly savings by refinancing may not exceed the total cost to refinance your loan.

To find out your new loan’s break-even point, add up the closing costs, which can include appraisal fees, title and credit report fees, and origination fees — between 2% and 6% of the loan amount — and divide them by the amount you’d be saving per month with the new payment.

According to the CFPB, the average closing costs on a mortgage refinance is around $6,000. If you plan to stay in the home for less time than it would take to get back what you would spend on closing costs, refinancing may not be a good deal.

If your credit score has gone down

When you apply for a refinance loan, lenders determine your creditworthiness in part by looking at your credit score. The higher your credit score, the better your chances of snagging a low rate.

If your credit score is lower than when you bought your home, you may not qualify for a lower rate. If your score is low, you may want to work on improving your credit before refinancing.

How Do I Qualify for a Mortgage Refinance?

When applying for a new mortgage or refinance loan, three main factors will impact your rates:

  • Debt-to-income ratio
  • Credit score
  • Loan-to-value ratio

Although credit score requirements vary by lender and loan type, a higher score will always mean a better rate. If you feel your credit needs improvement, there are ways to improve your score, such as checking your report for errors and correcting them.

Check out all three free copies of your annual credit reports from annualcreditreport.com.

Ultimately, the best way to improve your score is to develop good long-term credit habits, like paying your bills on time and keeping tabs on your credit utilization rate. Being patient is important because improving your credit score will take time.

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A lower mortgage rate from Rocket Mortgage (NMLS #3030) could mean a lower monthly payment