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Refinance a mortgage at the right time and for right reasons

Are you burdened with rising monthly payments and seeking better terms and conditions on your mortgage? Or, are you looking to consolidate your unpaid debts and get rid of them faster? All these mortgage scenarios and many more can be accomplished by mortgage refinancing. To get the basic idea on refinancing, go through these topics:

Do it yourself!



What is mortgage refinance?

With mortgage refinancing, you can replace your original mortgage with a new one with better terms and conditions but the new mortgage should be within your affordable limit. The same property that you used as collateral to secure the original mortgage is used to secure the new loan also. The new loan proceeds are utilized to pay off the existing mortgage. In case there is any remaining money after paying down the original mortgage, that amount can be used to meet other financial obligations.

Example: Suppose each of the two borrowers A and B took out mortgage loan worth of $500,000. Again, say after 5 years, both A and B paid down $250,000. So, for both these borrowers, remaining unpaid mortgage amount is $250,000.

Borrower A then took out another loan worth of $250,000, so as to repay the remaining balance on the existing mortgage. This depicts a case of simple refinance.

Borrower B then took out another loan worth of $350,000. Out of this new loan amount, B used $250,000 to pay down the original mortgage. B could use the remaining $100,000 to meet other financial obligations. This describes a case of cash out refinance.

The first scenario is a simple refinance while the second is that of a "cash-out refinance".


5 Reasons that make refinancing sensible

There are some strong reasons which make mortgage refinance a very sensible move. Here we delve upon 5 of those -
  • To reduce monthly payment:
    If the mortgage rate is lowered or if the mortgage term is extended, your monthly payment amount gets reduced. With reduced monthly payment, you can pay off your mortgage with more ease. In case the term of the loan is extended, you have to however pay more in interest during the whole life of the loan.
  • To switch from ARM to FRM:
    Fixed rate mortgage (FRM) offers you the certainty of making fixed payment over the term of the loan. Whereas, in case of adjustable rate mortgage (ARM), the monthly payment amount may rise or fall, depending upon the prevailing mortgage rate. So, in case of ARM, the monthly payment amount is not fixed; rather it is uncertain. If you are looking for certainty in payments, then you can convert your existing ARM to an FRM through mortgage refinance.
  • To repay mortgage faster:
    If you want to pay down the mortgage early, then you can shorten the term of the loan. However, here your monthly payment amount increases. Here, over the term of the loan, you save more in interest payments. You also attain property ownership early.
  • To combine two loans into one:
    If you have adequate equity in your property, you can then consolidate your first mortgage and the second mortgage into a single mortgage. The main advantage of this type of consolidation is that the monthly payment on the single loan is less than the combined payments on the 1st mortgage and the 2nd mortgage.
  • To pay off high interest debts:
    If you have sufficient equity in your home, you can opt for a cash out refinance. You can use the remaining money to pay high interest debts such as credit card bills, car loans, installment loans etc.


What is the best time to refinance?

You may not always be eligible for refinancing or the situation may not always be conducive for refinancing. You have to time your move correctly so as to reap its benefits. You need to check out these crucial things carefully before applying for mortgage refinancing -
  • If you have built up equity:
    You may be eligible for refinancing when you have built up equity of at least 10% in your home. However, for mortgages owned by Fannie Mae, the equity requirement is 5%. It is possible to get the refinance approval even with less than 5% equity, but in that case you may have to pay a certain sum of money to compensate for the deficiency in equity.
  • If the refinance rate is sufficiently low:
    If the current mortgage rate is sufficiently lower than the rate on the original mortgage, then it may be wise to opt for refinancing. Here, you need to follow the 2% Rule. As per the 2% Rule, refinancing is beneficial for you in case the refinance rate is 2% lower than the rate on the original loan. Here, the savings accrued from low rate outweigh the costs of the new loan after a certain period of time, which is called the break-even period. To get benefits of refinance, you have to stay in the house at least till the break-even period.
  • If you have removed negative items and paid off debts:
    Before plunging into refinancing, obtain your credit report from the credit bureaus and review it carefully. If you find some negative items such as collections or late payments, dispute those items immediately and get those items removed from your report. Prior to refinancing, pay down as much debts as possible. All these will work in your favor in getting the refinance approval.
  • If you have no late payments in past 1 year:
    If you have history of late payments in the past 1 year, then your refinance appeal may be rejected. So, before refinancing, make sure you don't have any late payments in the past 1 year.


When refinancing is not a good idea?

Despite the fact that refinance has several benefits, it is not always a good idea to go for mortgage refinancing. There are some cases when your refinance appeal is rejected by the lender or it may not fetch the desired returns. Here are some cases when refinancing is not a good idea at all-
  • If the property value has declined sharply:
    If the value of your property has declined appreciably, the remaining balance on your original loan may be higher than the refinance loan amount. In other words, with the new loan proceeds, you won't be able to pay down the original mortgage loan.
  • If you have already used up your equity:
    Your equity is the key to get approved for refinancing. If you have already used up your equity by taking out a home equity loan (HEL) or a home equity line of credit (HELOC), then going for refinancing would not be a good idea.
  • If you have only a few years left on the existing loan:
    It does not make good sense to go for refinancing if you have only a few years left on your existing loan. It is not rational to refinance the loan which you have almost paid off. If you have almost paid down a 30-year fixed rate mortgage, then it is unwise to opt for refinancing. After all, refinancing is just like taking out a new loan and all the costs associated with taking out a fresh loan are applicable here too.
If you have the right reasons and if the time is right, then you can surely seek for mortgage refinance. However, before making the final decision, do the necessary research, take quotes from different lenders, make a comparative analysis and choose your lender.
Related Readings
Related Forum Discussions
Niicss's picture
Niicss | Joined: October 3, 2005 11:54 pm | Posts: 0 | Location: New Jersey | 00 Dollars($)

Hi RichieRich,

As far as I know, the balance on the old loan and the new loan after refinance can be different. If you have any doubt regarding the loan, contact your lender and ask him to explain it in details.

Thanks.

Like | Dislike | Share | Posted: Thu, 02/04/2016 - 23:52 | Post subject:

gmakerley's picture
gmakerley | Joined: November 9, 2007 07:36 am | Posts: 0 | Location: New Jersey | 00 Dollars($)

richie rich you ought to have received a good faith estimate at the time you applied for this new loan. on that document, you should have seen any and all costs related to the transaction.
furthermore, when the new loan closed, you should have received copies of the hud-1 settlement statement, which also would reflect all costs, etc. on your loan. somewhere you must have information that would explain why your mortgage balance now exceeds the balance you had when you began the process.
review that documentation - if you don't have it, get it - either from the lawyer or title company that closed your loan, or from the lender directly. you need to review these documents to ensure that what you believed was true really was.

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Anonymous's picture
Anonymous | Joined: June 8, 2004 01:06 am | Posts: 0 | Location: New Jersey | 00 Dollars($)

I have just been quoted $4,500 for re financeing, just this sound excessive?

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gmakerley's picture
gmakerley | Joined: November 9, 2007 07:36 am | Posts: 0 | Location: New Jersey | 00 Dollars($)

without knowing any of the other details of your loan request, it is impossible to tell you if $4500 is high, low or just right. in general, closing costs are partially driven by the amount of the loan. if you are borrowing $100000, then i'd have to say the quote is high. if you're borrowing $300000, then it's probably low.

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Anonymous's picture
Anonymous | Joined: June 8, 2004 01:06 am | Posts: 0 | Location: New Jersey | 00 Dollars($)

how soon after buying a house can you refinance?

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sara's picture
sara | Joined: July 5, 2006 03:16 am | Posts: 0 | Location: New Jersey | 00 Dollars($)

Hi wewe,

You will have to wait for at least a year in order to refinance the property. While you refinance, you will have to pay the closing costs as well as other related costs once again. Moreover, you will also have to go for an appraisal of the property before refinancing.

Take Care.

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Anonymous's picture
Anonymous | Joined: June 8, 2004 01:06 am | Posts: 0 | Location: New Jersey | 00 Dollars($)

I am trying to refinance my house through the streamline program and I am going 4 days into the next month. Is it true that I have to pay a whole months worth of interset. I know I have to pay off the previous months interest.[color=Red:f4a99b4fb2][/color:f4a99b4fb2]

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adonis's picture
adonis | Joined: October 22, 2005 05:04 am | Posts: 0 | Location: New Jersey | 00 Dollars($)

As far as I know, you will have to pay the whole month's interest. But in my opinion, you should consult your lender in this regard. He will be the best person to tell you what you need to do.

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gmakerley's picture
gmakerley | Joined: November 9, 2007 07:36 am | Posts: 0 | Location: New Jersey | 00 Dollars($)

yes, fha loans require interest in advance.

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Anonymous's picture
Anonymous | Joined: June 8, 2004 01:06 am | Posts: 0 | Location: New Jersey | 00 Dollars($)

recently divorced and in divorce decree i was awarded all title intrest and equity in and to the homestead what do i do to remove his name he has skipped out of state

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adonis's picture
adonis | Joined: October 22, 2005 05:04 am | Posts: 0 | Location: New Jersey | 00 Dollars($)

Hey carol,

In order to remove your husband's name from the title, you will have to ask him to sign a quitclaim deed in your name. You can contact him and ask him to sign the deed in your favor.

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Anonymous's picture
Anonymous | Joined: June 8, 2004 01:06 am | Posts: 0 | Location: New Jersey | 00 Dollars($)

I AM 55 YRS OLD. LIVE IN COLORADO. AM ON DISABILITY. AM 2 MONTHS BEHIND IN HOUSE PAYMENTS. IS THERE ANY HOPE FOR ME?

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smith.sussane's picture
smith.sussane | Joined: September 18, 2008 09:57 pm | Posts: 0 | Location: New Jersey | 00 Dollars($)

Hi eehale!

Welcome to forums!

As you are two months behind on your monthly payments, I would suggest you to contact your lender immediately and inform him about your hardship. If you want to save the property, you can negotiate with the lender for a loan modification. In this process, the lender will give you a new payment plan to pay off the dues.

If you do not want to save the property, then you can go for a short sale or a deed in lieu.

Feel free to ask if you have further queries.

Sussane

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Anonymous's picture
Anonymous | Joined: June 8, 2004 01:06 am | Posts: 0 | Location: New Jersey | 00 Dollars($)

I am refinancing. My loan broker told me that the lender is required by the state of Virgina to keep a reserve equal to my annual property tax payment and has added the value of the reserve to the cost of my loan. This was not a cost included in my good faith estimate. Is this legitimate?

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Niicss's picture
Niicss | Joined: October 3, 2005 11:54 pm | Posts: 0 | Location: New Jersey | 00 Dollars($)

Hi Jeff

As far as I know, in Virginia, lenders can ask the borrowers to pay the property taxes for 3 months at time of settlement. This amount will be deposited in the escrow account. But I don't think you should be required to pay a reserve equal to your annual property tax payment.

Thanks.

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Anonymous's picture
Anonymous | Joined: June 8, 2004 01:06 am | Posts: 0 | Location: New Jersey | 00 Dollars($)

Do you expect rates to remain volatile or remain status quo?? I am nervous about locking and do not want to miss the best rate!

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adonis's picture
adonis | Joined: October 22, 2005 05:04 am | Posts: 0 | Location: New Jersey | 00 Dollars($)

In my opinion, the rates may vary on a day to day basis. But as rates are going quite low these days, it would better if you could lock the rates as soon as possible.

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Anonymous's picture
Anonymous | Joined: June 8, 2004 01:06 am | Posts: 0 | Location: New Jersey | 00 Dollars($)

If I have a 169,00.00 30 year mortgage, wanted to pay it off in 15-20 years early, how much would I have to pay extra per year for this to happen?

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smith.sussane's picture
smith.sussane | Joined: September 18, 2008 09:57 pm | Posts: 0 | Location: New Jersey | 00 Dollars($)

Hi gagirl!

Welcome to forums!

You have mentioned that your loan amount is 169,00.00. You haven't mentioned the interest rate. Suppose, your interest rate is 5.5% and you will have to pay it off in 30 years. In that case your payment will be $ 959.56.

Now other things being the same, you want to pay off your mortgage in 15 years. So your monthly payment will increase to $ 1380.87. Thus, you will have to pay $421 extra towards your mortgage. If you wish, you can use the given link to calculate the payments yourself:
http://www.mortgagefit.com/calculators/simple.html

Sussane

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Anonymous's picture
Anonymous | Joined: June 8, 2004 01:06 am | Posts: 0 | Location: New Jersey | 00 Dollars($)

Does anyone know which banks would finance a mortgage for a condo in litigation?

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gmakerley's picture
gmakerley | Joined: November 9, 2007 07:36 am | Posts: 0 | Location: New Jersey | 00 Dollars($)

not quite sure what you mean, natasha.

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Anonymous's picture
Anonymous | Joined: June 8, 2004 01:06 am | Posts: 0 | Location: New Jersey | 00 Dollars($)

Do I need to pay the closing costs with cash or can they be part of the mortgage?

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adonis's picture
adonis | Joined: October 22, 2005 05:04 am | Posts: 0 | Location: New Jersey | 00 Dollars($)

Hi texmets,

You can definitely pay the closing costs with cash. Moreover, it is always better to pay the closing costs upfront rather than wrap them into the mortgage.

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Anonymous's picture
Anonymous | Joined: June 8, 2004 01:06 am | Posts: 0 | Location: New Jersey | 00 Dollars($)

are there any programs specifically for this situation. my husband is disabled drawing SS and I am just recently unemployed drawing umployment. we can still pay our mortgage, but would like to refinance to pay off some debt and lower payments if possible. live in Kentucky. what do you suggest. Want to keep house. Have owned for 9 yrs. never late.

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gmakerley's picture
gmakerley | Joined: November 9, 2007 07:36 am | Posts: 0 | Location: New Jersey | 00 Dollars($)

anonymous you ought to bring this subject up with your current mortgage holder, as you may qualify for a modification or something like that. your unemployment status is going to hurt your qualifications for a new loan with any other lender. if your husband's SS income is sufficient to allow you to qualify, then you can shop around; but lenders won't give you credit for the unemployment compensation.

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Anonymous's picture
Anonymous | Joined: June 8, 2004 01:06 am | Posts: 0 | Location: New Jersey | 00 Dollars($)

We currently have a fixed rate which will reset in 2011. We managed to make extra principal payments to reduce our mortgage balance to $415k prior to my forced retirement. My loan is insured by Freddie Mac but my current lender is offering a re-fi only. Are there any principal reduction programs available?

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Anonymous's picture
Anonymous | Joined: June 8, 2004 01:06 am | Posts: 0 | Location: New Jersey | 00 Dollars($)

I currently have 10 years lefted on a 15 year mortage at 5.37 interest rate,including APR. I want to do some home improvements, I live in Texas so there is no home equity loans. I owe approximately 97, 500.00, should I refinance or just pay off the existing loan.

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smith.sussane's picture
smith.sussane | Joined: September 18, 2008 09:57 pm | Posts: 0 | Location: New Jersey | 00 Dollars($)

Hi!

Welcome to forums!

To fxray!

If you are refinancing the loan, then I doubt whether the lender would offer you any principal reduction. However, if you are in hardship and have applied for the Hope for Homeowner, then you can get a principal reduction.

To Joni,

If there is equity in the property, then you can refinance the loan. This will also help you in getting some cash to do some home improvement.

Sussane

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Anonymous's picture
Anonymous | Joined: June 8, 2004 01:06 am | Posts: 0 | Location: New Jersey | 00 Dollars($)

I owe $286K on my 30 year fixed loan of $390K. I put $100K down in cash last year. My rate is 5.625, but I'd like to take advantage of lower rates. Is now a good time to refinance. I have no other debt other than my mortgage.

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adonis's picture
adonis | Joined: October 22, 2005 05:04 am | Posts: 0 | Location: New Jersey | 00 Dollars($)

Hi amyt,

Rates are quite low now a days. If your property has equity and if you have a good credit score and income, you can definitely take advantage of the lower rates. But you will have to pay the closing costs while refinancing. However, you should refinance only if you decide to stay in the property for quite some time.

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Anonymous's picture
Anonymous | Joined: June 8, 2004 01:06 am | Posts: 0 | Location: New Jersey | 00 Dollars($)

I am working w/ my bank to refinance. Original yr 30 loan of $168,000 at 5.875% taken out in 2002. New loan 4.75% 30 year but my loan balance will go from a payoff of $147K to $154K (discount $1,348, closing costs of $3,200 and approx. $3,000 in prepaids). Monthly payments reduced by $180. Didn't expect loan balance to increase by $7K. Looking for help to determine if this refinance makes sense. Bank rep. originally told me costs would only be $3,700...not $7,000.

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gmakerley's picture
gmakerley | Joined: November 9, 2007 07:36 am | Posts: 0 | Location: New Jersey | 00 Dollars($)

$3000 of your $7000 is prepaids - that's not really "costs" based on the definitions. i understand your concern, but you'll be reaping the benefit of whatever is in your current escrow account, coming back to you. that will be in the form of a credit towards your payoff balance or a check to be sent to you later.

savings of $180 per month isn't bad. it's your call, obviously; but i think those prepaids have skewed your outlook.

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lameldahl's picture
lameldahl | Joined: April 8, 2009 01:49 pm | Posts: 0 | Location: New Jersey | 00 Dollars($)

help!!!!!!!

my husband and i are currently ttd. and need to refinance but no one wishes to help us due to to the fact we are both on ttd(temporary total disability. Need to find someone anyone that will help! someone, anyone!!!

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adonis's picture
adonis | Joined: October 22, 2005 05:04 am | Posts: 0 | Location: New Jersey | 00 Dollars($)

Hi lameldahl,

It would be difficult for you to get a refinance as both of you are on temporary total disability. Once you start working full time, you can easily get a refinance.

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Anonymous's picture
Anonymous | Joined: June 8, 2004 01:06 am | Posts: 0 | Location: New Jersey | 00 Dollars($)

I was told I could only get a cash out refinance loan once on my property. Is this true?

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smith.sussane's picture
smith.sussane | Joined: September 18, 2008 09:57 pm | Posts: 0 | Location: New Jersey | 00 Dollars($)

Hi ralapa!

Welcome to forums!

As per my knowledge, you can take a cash out refinance more than once. But you should remember that "once a cash out, always a cash out".

Sussane

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Anonymous's picture
Anonymous | Joined: June 8, 2004 01:06 am | Posts: 0 | Location: New Jersey | 00 Dollars($)

Refinancing is a really good idea. Many people are seeking to refinance nowadays. One great site that helped me out was cleanoutbadrates.com. They give you up to 4 qualified loan offers. There is also a [url=http://www.mortgagefit.com/calculators/]mortgage calculator[/url] to figure out your finances. It is pretty nice.

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johnchase4's picture
johnchase4 | Joined: April 15, 2009 04:03 am | Posts: 0 | Location: New Jersey | 00 Dollars($)

I am now paying 6.75%on my loan.Balance of approx.94K.Home is worth about 225,000.I would like to lower my monthly payment.

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gmakerley's picture
gmakerley | Joined: November 9, 2007 07:36 am | Posts: 0 | Location: New Jersey | 00 Dollars($)

john, check around and you'll find that rates are quite favorable to allow you to refinance.

anonymous, i hope you didn't pay for the privilege of getting four quotes. please keep in mind that the quotes are good for about as long as it took you to receive them. rates change constantly, and unless you are "in process," you're chasing the wind.

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Anonymous's picture
Anonymous | Joined: June 8, 2004 01:06 am | Posts: 0 | Location: New Jersey | 00 Dollars($)

I have a 30 years mortgage, pay around 1,300 mountly. The total mortgage is 165,000 now (original was 170,000) after paying it for 2 years. The rate is 5.875%. The property value went down, when I bought the home the value was 215,0000 and not it went down to 150,000. I see today mortgage rates around 4, 4,5%, should I refinance ?

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smith.sussane's picture
smith.sussane | Joined: September 18, 2008 09:57 pm | Posts: 0 | Location: New Jersey | 00 Dollars($)

Hi DMT!

Welcome to forums!

In my opinion, it would be difficult for you to refinance the property because you do not have equity in the property. You can speak to your lender and check out if he can offer you any other option. If you are facing hardship in paying the loan, you can apply for a loan modification.

Feel free to ask if you have further queries.

Sussane

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Anonymous's picture
Anonymous | Joined: June 8, 2004 01:06 am | Posts: 0 | Location: New Jersey | 00 Dollars($)

My first mortgage is a FHA Conv. Loan and also have a [url=http://www.mortgagefit.com/second-mortgage.html]second mortgage[/url] i was told by citimortgage that i could not do a streamline. i was going to put the first and second in to one mortgage.What would be the best way for me to go?

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Niicss's picture
Niicss | Joined: October 3, 2005 11:54 pm | Posts: 0 | Location: New Jersey | 00 Dollars($)

Hi Guest

You can refinance both the mortgages into one by taking a FHA refinance loan. This will also help you in lowering your mortgage payments as the rates are quite low these days.

Thanks.

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gmakerley's picture
gmakerley | Joined: November 9, 2007 07:36 am | Posts: 0 | Location: New Jersey | 00 Dollars($)

it is true that you wouldn't qualify for a streamline refinance, as the second mortgage is considered to be cash out.

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admin31's picture
admin31 | Joined: January 26, 2009 01:07 am | Posts: 0 | Location: New Jersey | 00 Dollars($)

Hi,

Do developers have started converting their condos to apartments in hopes that foreclosures will create a new rental market. Others simply slashed their prices, causing older sellers to cut down.

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gmakerley's picture
gmakerley | Joined: November 9, 2007 07:36 am | Posts: 0 | Location: New Jersey | 00 Dollars($)

other than advertising your business, admin3, what was the purpose of that post?

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Anonymous's picture
Anonymous | Joined: June 8, 2004 01:06 am | Posts: 0 | Location: New Jersey | 00 Dollars($)

Has anybody Refinanced following Obama Help Guidlines?
If so, then what is the lowest rate anybody has got and at what bank?

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adonis's picture
adonis | Joined: October 22, 2005 05:04 am | Posts: 0 | Location: New Jersey | 00 Dollars($)

Hi Muzicvirus,

Frankly speaking, I have not refinanced following the Obama Help Guidelines. But I would suggest you to discuss your options with your current lender first and check out if he will help you in refinancing the loan. If your lender is not offering good terms and conditions for refinancing, then you can contact other lenders and check out what they are offering.

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Anonymous's picture
Anonymous | Joined: June 8, 2004 01:06 am | Posts: 0 | Location: New Jersey | 00 Dollars($)

Both my 1st and 2nd mortg are at 6%, I am paying 1700 per month on mortg I have excellent credit except the debt to income ratio but I would love to pay less for my mortg. what should I do?

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Anonymous's picture
Anonymous | Joined: June 8, 2004 01:06 am | Posts: 0 | Location: New Jersey | 00 Dollars($)

my gut reaction is to sit tight - you won't substantially improve your situation by refinancing. you would have to measure the upfront costs based on how long you plan to live there to determine if it's worth it.

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