Wednesday, February 23, 2011

The 1% Rule of Mortgage Refinance

Is the 1% Rule the best way to decide whether to refinance? In other words, if I can reduce my interest rate by 1% should I refinance?

Some people think so. Let's look at a few ideas and then you tell me if it is the best way for you to decide. What are you trying to accomplish? Are you trying to reduce your interest rate which will lower your monthly payment, or are you trying to reduce your total cost of the loan (current interest obligations vs. interest obligations of new loan plus refinancing costs)? Interest obligations of new loan don't only reflect the interest rate though. The length of the mortgage has a lot to do with it too. Are you going back to 30 years, or will you go to a lesser term (15, 20 or 25 years)? This impacts on your total cost too.

Maybe what you want or need is a lower monthly payment. You have to consider just reducing your monthly payment on the mortgage alone vs. reducing your total monthly payments by including your credit cards too. Are you afraid you won't be able to keep up your current payments and you stand to lose your good credit rating or even your home?

Lowering your monthly payment on your mortgage alone while going back out to 30 years may or may not result in a total savings over the life of the loan. When you include your credit cards and their higher interest rates in the equation, your chances for saving on a mortgage refinance increases.

How long do you plan to live in your present home? It takes time to recoup the cost of refinancing. The longer you plan on staying put, the greater your chance of generating savings by refinancing your mortgage.

You can see how this is different than just lowering your interest rate. The 1% Rule doesn't always work so well. Decide what you need or want before moving on to whether you should refinance. Then, a mortgage professional can run some numbers and help you decide.

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