Refinancing a mortgage refers to the process of writing a new mortgage loan to replace the one you currently have on your home. There are many reasons homeowners choose to refinance a mortgage— taking advantage of lower interest rates, lowering your monthly payments by getting a longer-term loan, or cashing out some of your home’s equity to make improvements to the property.
How soon you’ll be able to do this depends on the type of mortgage you have and the type you’re trying to refinance into. Some mortgage loans allow refinancing immediately, while others require what’s called “seasoning,” a mandatory period of time between purchase and refinancing.
Most conventional mortgages allow refinancing whenever you want. Lenders may force you to wait a period if you want to refinance your mortgage with the same bank, but if you refinance with a different lender, that restriction would be moot. The only exception is cash-out refinancing, which requires a six-month ownership period before refinancing unless you inherited the property.
For non-conventional mortgages, such as those backed by the Federal Housing Administration, the Department of Agriculture, or the Department of Veterans Affairs, different requirements apply. An FHA-backed loan (the most common government-insured loan) has several types of refinancing options, each with its own rules.
- Simple Refinance: This replaces your existing FHA loan with a new fixed- or adjustable-rate mortgage. Many homeowners choose this option to get out of an adjustable-rate mortgage or opt into a lower interest rate. There is no time-frame limit on this kind of refinancing, but will require a credit and income check, as well as an appraisal of the property.
- Streamlined Refinance: This option is a faster process once begun, because it doesn’t require an appraisal or credit check to get approved. However, you must have made at least six payments on the original mortgage, so it does require a waiting period before you apply.
- Cash-Out Refinance: This option allows you to potentially lower your monthly payment or change your loan term while getting the loan difference amount in cash. It has the most stringent requirements of the three; namely, the home must have been your primary residence for at least twelve months before approval, in addition to the credit check and appraisal.
Ultimately no one can answer the question of whether it’s the right time to refinance your mortgage other than you. Many people choose to refinance in order to get a lower interest rate, which has the added benefit of lowering the monthly payments as well. But you can also refinance to shorten the loan’s term (say, from 30 to 20 years), opt into a fixed-rate loan, or borrow from the home’s equity to pay for renovations or other expenses.
If you’re considering refinancing, figuring out whether it will help you meet your goals is the first step. Nerdwallet has a refinancing calculator (https://www.nerdwallet.com/mortgages/refinance-calculator/calculate-refinance-savings) that can give you a basic look at how refinancing will affect the big picture of your mortgage, based on whether you want to lower your monthly payments or your overall interest amount. But ultimately consulting with a lender about your options is the best way to get a detailed look at whether refinancing is the right step for you.
Golden Lenders has more than 25 years of experience in the mortgage industry – just the expertise you need for a successful outcome. Our team of mortgage consultants work to simplify the process for you, while educating you on this complex process. Our priority is customer service. It is our goal to make this process as easy and convenient as possible while getting you the best deal on your loan. We work with borrowers of every type from those who want to buy their first home, refinance the house they are in now or have credit challenges. Whether it’s your first home or you’re an experienced home buyer, we’re here to ensure everything goes as smoothly as possible.