Consider refinancing your mortgage with your lender, but if you do not receive prompt attention seek out a different lender to refinance.
Q: We would like to refinance our home. My husband’s pay was cut by more than half. We currently have a 6 percent 30-year fixed rate mortgage. We have not missed a payment and we are not upside down in our home’s value.
Our current mortgage company told us in order to refinance, they could not lower the payment without writing a totally new loan. Our mortgage is not held by one of the five major banks that are listed in the recent settlement for assistance. Is there anything we can do to lower our payments?
A: Taking a look at your situation, it would seem that you might be able to refinance your home depending on what your household’s income is now. Even if your husband’s income has gone down, if you are working, your income and his income might be enough to qualify to refinance your loan.
You should take the time and talk to a mortgage lender and a mortgage broker in your area, discuss your financial situation and determine if you would qualify for a new mortgage loan. You might be surprised to learn that you do qualify for some loan programs.
You have a couple of favorable things going for you. Your husband is employed, you appear to have equity in your home and you have not missed any of your mortgage loan interest payments. If your credit history is intact and you have a great credit score and if you have a considerable amount of equity in your home, you might find that a lender will look favorably to refinance your loan.
If you are unable to qualify to refinance your existing mortgage either because you lack income, have bad credit or you have very little equity in your home, your choices might be quite limited.
While many homeowners are looking to refinance their home mortgages, many may simply refinance without considering the costs involved in refinancing, the length of the time left on their loan and time they still plan to live in the home.
Each of these considerations is important in determining whether refinancing is good for an owner or not. If the costs of refinancing are high, even a lower payment may not outweigh all of the costs involved in the refinancing of the loan.
If a homeowner has a few years left on his loan, it may not make any sense to refinance, pay what appears to be a lower monthly mortgage payment, but then have to make that same payment for 20 more beyond the term of the original refinanced loan. Finally, if a homeowner plans to sell his home within the next couple of years, the lower monthly mortgage payments may not be enough to cover the costs of refinancing.
Given these different scenarios, you’d want to consider if refinancing will benefit you. If you have many years into your current loan, you may want to keep the loan, keep making those payments and pay off the loan in the natural course. We know that you are looking to save costs wherever you can, but depending on your loan balance, your savings from refinancing may be quite small.
Consider the following: if a homeowner refinances his loan and obtains a reduction of $75 per month, that same homeowner would probably save the same amount by dropping most cable television service offerings, by not buying coffee at a coffee shop on a daily basis, by turning the thermostat down in the winter a couple of degrees, or by eating out five times less on a monthly basis.
You may already be watching every penny. But in case you are not, you might consider other money saving options that may result in equal savings for your family’s budget without the hassle and expense of refinancing.
Finally, if you have not already done so, you should go to the government’s website to determine if your servicer participates in the Home Affordable Refinance Program at www.MakingHomeAffordable.gov. If you find out that your loan servicer does participate in the program and you otherwise believe you qualify for a refinance plan but the lender is unwilling to cooperate, you can file a complaint with the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency at www.HelpWithMyBank.gov.