Home Mortgage Refinancing: Choosing the Best Type

Apr 6 08:09 2009 Alan Jacobson Print This Article


There are many types of mortgages and home loans,Guest Posting and considering that how you finance your home is one of the most important decisions you will make, it is vital that you know and understand your options. This article should not replace discussing things with a financial advisor before making a decision, but it does provide an overview of the types of mortgage that are available.

The Rate and Term Refinance is the most common type of mortgage refinance. This category usually refers to getting a fixed rate mortgage that is a better rate and possibly a different length (term) than your current one. Rate and term refinances are best for people who can reduce their rate on an existing fixed rate mortgage, or can afford a shorter term. In some cases, however, rate and term refinancing is used to actually increase the term for those who desire a lower payment.

A Cash-Out Refinance is done by refinancing for a higher amount than you owe, either after you've paid a significant portion of your home down, or after your home appreciates in value. Cash out refinancing is good for those who have important investments to make, such as in their children's education, an addition to their home, or the purchase of an investment. Beware that a cash-out refi could weaken your rate in a future refinance.

Interest-only mortgages used to be popular but have fallen out of favor recently. Interest only mortgages allow you to get the lowest payment possible, but they leave you with less equity in your home (you have not paid any principle). These types of refinance may be best for those who are confident in the appreciation potential of their home, and those whose financial situation is uneven (because you can take control and pay principal, but only when and if you can afford to).

Part and part mortgages are not as popular in the US as they are in the UK. These loans are a combination of interest-only and "regular" mortgages. You pay interest only for a time, and then change to a more traditional mortgage where principle is paid as well. These mortgages are popular with people who are just starting out in their careers and anticipate being able to afford a higher payment in the future.

Two step mortgages are not well known, but offer a low rate for a fixed period of time, and then a higher fixed rate after that. Two step mortgages are also popular with younger buyers just starting their careers. They are also often a good choice for people who know they are going to move, or anticipate refinancing into a new mortgage before the higher rate kicks in.

Assumable mortgages can be any of the above, but contain a powerful option: If you sell your home, the buyer can take over your mortgage intact, with the exact rate and term. Assumables are a great option if you have a very low rate and plan to sell your home. This can actually increase the resale value and attractiveness of your home to a buyer, particularly in times when mortgage rates have risen.

Home equity loans are usually secondary to any existing mortgage. You can often get a loan for a portion of the difference between your home's value and the amount you owe on your mortgage. The rates on home equity loans are often fixed, and are most often higher than prevailing mortgage rates.

Home equity lines of credit are also taken out using your equity in your home as collateral. However, home equity lines of credit have variable (though often very low) rates. Home equity loans allow for flexibility - you can borrow as much or as little as you want on the amount you have been approved for.

There are many other types of mortgage, but these are the primary ones offered through major lenders. It is vital that you do your homework, based on your unique situation, before choosing your mortgage loan.

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Alan Jacobson
Alan Jacobson

For more information about home mortgage refinancing, including tips on when to refinance, how to get the lowest rate on your new loan, and how to choose the best broker or bank, please see The Mortgage Refinance Journal

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