Refinancing an adjustable rate mortgage (ARM) is a common practice for borrowers. However, it may not always be the best option. Depending on how high interest rates climb, there are cases when you could end up spending more on converting your mortgage than you would save with a locked in interest rate.
Adding Up Costs
Before you jump on a refinancing offer, consider the upfront costs. To refinance a $100,000 loan, you can expect loan fees to range from $1000 to $3000. That is not including points for lower rates.
In order to recoup these origination costs, you need to be planning to spend several years in your home. Also, if you only have a couple of years left on your mortgage, you may be better off with your original mortgage.
Benefits Of Refinancing
Locking in a low rate is the most common benefit to refinancing an ARM. By converting to a fixed rate mortgage, you are guaranteed a low interest without worrying about yearly interest rate fluxes.
You can also build up your equity sooner by converting to a biweekly mortgage or short term loan. With larger monthly payments, you can potentially save thousands on interest payments.
When Not To Refinance
With an ARM there is always some risk involved, but there are cases when keeping your ARM makes financial sense. For instance, unless interest rates will rise more than a couple of percentage points over the course of your loan, you will probably pay more in loan fees than you will save. You should also keep your ARM if current rates are only 1% or lower than your ARM’s rate.
You may also want to keep your ARM if you are planning to move soon. With homeowners moving within seven years of buying a home, it doesn’t make sense to refinance when you won’t recoup the costs.
Picking A Lender
Just like with any mortgage, you want to be sure that you have researched several lenders before choosing one. Request quotes on both rates and fees. You will need to add up total costs to find the best financing package. You can also use the internet to find online mortgage lenders. Many times these lenders will offer lower interest rates or low closing costs to remain competitive.
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Written by: Carrie Reeder