Re-financing

Understanding Re-Financing

Understanding the process of re-financing can be quite dizzying. Homeowners who are considering re-financing might initially be overwhelmed by the number of options available to them. However, after taking some time to educate themselves about the process, they will likely find the process is not nearly as daunting as they had imagined. This article will discuss some of the options available to those interested in re-financing as well as some of the important factors to consider in order to determine whether or not refinancing is worthwhile.

Consider the Options

Homeowners have quite a few options available to them when they are considering the possibility of re-financing their home. The most significant decision is the type of loan they will choose. Fixed rate mortgages and adjustable rate mortgages (ARMs) are the two main types of mortgages the homeowners will likely encounter. Additionally there are hybrid loan options available.

As the name implies, a fixed rate mortgage is one in which the interest rate remains constant throughout the duration of the loan period. This is an especially favorable type of loan when the homeowner has credit which is sufficient enough to lock in a low interest rate.

ARMs are mortgages where the interest rate varies during the course of the loan period. The interest rate is usually tied to an index such as the prime index and is subject to rises and falls in accordance with this index. This is considered a riskier type of loan and is therefore often offered to homeowners who have less favorable credit scores.

Although ARMs are considered somewhat risky there is usually a certain degree of protection written into the loan agreement. This may come in the form of a clause which limits the amount the interest rate can increase, in terms of percentage points, over a fixed period of time. This can protect the homeowner from sharp increases in the interest rates which would otherwise considerably raise the amount of their monthly payments.

Hybrid loans are mortgages which combine a fixed element with an adjustable element. An example of this type of loan is a situation where the lender may offer a fixed interest rate for the first five years of the loan and a variable interest rate for the remainder of the loan. Lenders typically offer a lower introductory interest rate for the fixed period to make the mortgage seem more enticing.

Consider the Closing Costs

The closing costs associated with re-financing should be carefully considered when deciding whether or not to re-finance the home. This is significant because when homeowners re-finance their home they are often subject to many of the same closing costs as when they originally purchased the home. These costs may include, but are not limited to appraisal fees, application fees, loan origination fees and a host of other expenses. These costs can be quite significant. The closing costs will be significant when the homeowner considers the overall savings associated with re-financing.

Consider the Overall Savings

When deciding whether or not to re-finance, the overall savings is one factor the homeowners should carefully consider. This is important because re-financing is typically not considered worthwhile unless it results in a financial savings. Although some homeowners refinance to lower monthly costs and are not concerned with the overall picture, most homeowners consider whether or not they will be saving money by refinancing.

The amount of money the homeowner will save when re-financing is largely dependent on the new interest rate in relation to the old interest rate. Other factors come into play such as the remaining balance of the existing loan as well as the amount of time the homeowner intends to stay in the home before selling the property. It is important to note that the amount of money saved by negotiating a lower interest rate is not equal to the entire savings. The homeowner must determine the closing costs associated with re-financing and subtract this sum from the potential savings. A negative number would indicate the new interest rate is not low enough to offset the closing costs. Conversely a positive number indicates an overall savings. With this information the homeowner can decide whether or not he wishes to re-finance.

PPPPP

Word count 702

The Decision to Re-Finance

The decision to re-finance a home mortgage is a serious decision which should not be taken lightly. Homeowners should give this decision a great deal of consideration to ensure they are making the best possible decision for their financial situation and personal needs. Some factors to consider when deciding whether or not to re-finance is the type of loan to choose, the lender to choose, the costs associated with re-financing and the hassle of the process.

Consider All of the Options

Homeowners who are seriously considering re-financing owe it to themselves to consider all of the options available to them. They may have a friend who recently refinanced with a specific type of loan but this might not be the solution for all homeowners. Each homeowner should consider their situation to be individual and not likely to closely mirror the situations of others.

Some of the options to consider include the type of re-financing loan. The basic options are fixed interest rates and adjustable interest rates. There are also mortgages which combine these two options. The homeowner may have a specific type of mortgage in mind but the lender may or may not be willing to offer the homeowner this type of loan. Lenders are more likely to offer fixed interest mortgages to homeowners with good credit and adjustable rate mortgages to homeowners with poor credit.

Consider the Lender

Homeowners will also have to carefully consider the lender they select. This is important because not all lenders are going to be willing to offer the same interest rates and terms to the homeowner. Homeowners may have to receive quotes from several different lenders in a short period of time to make an accurate comparison. This is important because interest rates can change without notice and homeowners who wait too long to make a decision may find the rate they were originally quoted is no longer available to them.

When selecting a lender the homeowner should also consider how responsive the lender is to their questions. This is important because a lender who does not pay attention to the homeowner or respond to their inquiries in a timely fashion can make the process of re-financing considerably more stressful than necessary. Selecting a lender who offers slightly higher rates but is more responsive may be warranted.

Consider the Cost of Re-Financing

Re-financing is not cheap. There are certain costs associated with re-financing. These costs are typically very similar to the closing costs associated with securing an original mortgage on a property. These costs may include application fees, loan origination fees, property taxes, appraisal fees and other miscellaneous items. These costs can be quite extensive and homeowners may find they are often left paying more than the benefits they are going to gain from re-financing. In this type of situation the homeowner should make the decision not to re-finance because it is not a financially sound decision.

Consider the Hassle of Re-Financing

Let’s face it; re-financing can be an absolute hassle. The time and energy spent researching different re-financing options and contacting lenders to see who will offer the most favorable rates can be quite taxing. A homeowner should consider the time and effort required for this endeavor in deciding whether or not to re-finance. Simply stated, refinancing is a hassle and homeowners may better spend their time with family and friends rather than running around trying to find the best rates in town.

PPPPP

Word count 575

Tax Considerations When Re-Financing

For many homeowners the overall goals of re-financing are often paying less in interest overall and reducing monthly payments. When a homeowner is able to obtain a lower interest rate, there is usually the opportunity to re-finance the mortgage to capitalize on the lower interest rate. However, a lower interest rate does not automatically translate to a savings. The homeowner must carefully consider the amount of money they will be savings over the course of the loan in relation to the amount of money they will be spending to re-finance the mortgage. When the closing costs associated with re-financing are larger than the savings, re-financing may not be warranted. Re-financing can also have financial ramifications associated with tax options.

Paying Less Interest Equals Less of a Deduction

In most locations, homeowners are permitted to deduct the amount of taxes they pay on their mortgage when filing their tax forms. This is usually quite a substantial deduction for homeowners who owned the home for the entire tax year. Those who re-finance their mortgage will typically be paying less money each year in taxes on the mortgage. While this is great in the long run, it can adversely affect the homeowner’s tax return.

Consider a situation where a homeowner is located just below a major tax bracket which would be quite costly for the homeowner. As all ready discussed, re-financing may result in the homeowner paying less money in taxes each year. This means the taxpayer will be able to make a smaller deduction this year now fall above the tax bracket they previously fell below. When this happens the homeowner may find themselves paying significantly more in taxes.

Consult a Tax Preparation Specialist

Determining the exact ramifications of paying less interest on a home mortgage on a tax return can be a rather tricky process. There are a number of difficult equations involved which can make the apt to make mistakes while trying to determine the consequences of paying less in taxes on the mortgage. For this reason, the homeowner should consult a tax preparation specialist when determining whether or not re-financing is worthwhile because the tax specialist can provide information regarding the impact of paying less in interest.

In selecting a tax preparation specialist, the homeowner should seek out opinions from friends and family members if the homeowner does not employ a specialist to prepare their own taxes. This can be helpful because trusted friends and family members are only likely to recommend professionals they feel were knowledgeable, trustworthy and caring. A tax preparation specialists should have all of these qualities but should also be well versed in the area of tax preparation. This will enable the tax preparation specialist to make all of the right decisions when considering the needs of the homeowner.

Online Calculators

For homeowners who do not know a tax preparation specialist or for homeowners who are unable to afford the consulting services of these individuals, there are online calculators which homeowners might find very useful. These calculators are readily available throughout the Internet and can be used to determine the tax ramifications to re-financing. These calculators ask the user to input specific criteria then returns results regarding the amount the homeowner will pay in taxes during the year if he refinances. Additionally the homeowner can run these equations several times to consider a number of different scenarios.

PPPPP

Word count 566

Seek Recommendations When Re-Financing

Homeowners who are re-financing their home for the first time may need a great deal of advice to assist them during the process. While homeowner can certainly research the process of re-financing by themselves, this can be a cumbersome task which is difficult, if not impossible. While it might be possible for a homeowner to educate himself enough to make informed decisions, it is unreasonable to expect a homeowner to be up to date on the most current information in the re-financing industry. It would also not be reasonable for homeowners to learn enough to make a definite decision regarding re-financing. The homeowner may still require some direction regarding which options are best suited for the needs of the homeowner.

Fortunately there are two simple steps homeowners can take to tips the odds of obtaining the most favorable re-financing in their favor. These simple steps include consulting with friends and family members who have recently financed and turning to industry experts for assistance.

Consult Friends and Family when Re-Financing

Believe it or not consulting with family and friends is one of the first steps a homeowner should take in the refinancing process. Those reading this article might be somewhat confused by this suggestion because in the previous section we stressed how it would be virtually impossible for a homeowner to thoroughly educate themselves on the re-financing process. Surely, we are not implying every homeowner has a friend or family member who is capable of given detailed financial advice in regard to re-financing. However, friends and family members can be helpful in a different capacity.

Friends and family members who recently re-financed their own home likely did a great deal of research and legwork before making their decision. They also likely formed useful opinions, either negative or positive, about the lender they used in the process. It is this information which can be very useful to homeowners who are considering their own re-financing. Homeowners can obtain information such as which lenders are currently offering the best rates as well as which lenders are easy to work with and responsive to the needs of the homeowners as well as which lenders do not take a vested interest in helping the homeowner to succeed.

Ask Experts for Advice when Re-Financing

One piece of advice which cannot be overlooked when re-financing a home, is asking an expert in the re-financing industry for advice. These experts may have costly consulting fees associated with their assistance but most homeowners would agree these fees are certainly worthwhile especially if the result in a significant cost savings for the homeowner.

We previously stressed how the issues associated with re-financing can be quite complex and difficult for those outside of the industry to fully understand, however, those in the industry spend their days devoted to learning more about re-financing, keeping up to date with changes in the industry as well as new developments and figuring out how to best serve the customers. All of these characteristics make it clear that homeowners should really consider employing the services of a financial planner with a great deal of experience in re-financing when they are making decisions regarding the best re-financing option for their situation.

Again, friends and family members who previously consulted with an industry professional can supply candid opinions about those they met. This can save the homeowner a great deal of time by eliminating potential candidates who friends and family members thought performed poorly.

PPPPP

Word count 579

Re-Financing with Shorter Loan Terms

For some homeowners there is the possibility of making a sound re-financing decision even when interest rates are stagnant, the homeowner does not have a great amount of equity in the home and the homeowner’s credit score has not increased significantly. You might wonder how this is possible. It certainly isn’t an option for every homeowner but those who can afford to pay significantly more each month can yield huge financial benefits by refinancing their loan terms from 30 years to 15 years. The benefits which may result from this type of re-financing include a significant overall savings, the ability to gain equity quicker and the ability to repay the balance of the loan quicker.

Higher Monthly Payments Increase Overall Savings

Re-financing with shorter loan terms is definitely not an easy option but homeowners who have a large monthly cash flow or who receive a sizable promotion at work might be able to consider the possibility of re-financing by decreasing the loan terms from 30 years to 15 years.

The result of this type of re-financing will be a significantly higher monthly payment which is not conventional but can be worthwhile if it meets the needs of the homeowner. In particular this type of re-financing option is a viable solution if the homeowner can afford the increase in monthly payments and has an overall goal of reducing the amount of interest they will pay over the course of the entire loan.

Reducing the amount of interest is critical to the overall savings plan because the homeowner does not have the option of reducing their original debt but they can drastically reduce the amount of interest paid over the course of the loan. Consider two loans with a 5% interest rate. One loan is to be repaid over a period of 15 years while the other loan is to be repaid over a period of 30 years. It is clear that in this example, the homeowner with the 30 year mortgage will pay more during the course of the loan.

Equity Gained Quicker

Another major advantage to re-financing by reducing the loan terms from 30 years to 15 years is the ability to gain equity in the home at a significantly faster rate. The amount of the equity in the home is equal to the amount of the principal loan which has already been repaid by the homeowner. Under a conventional loan, the homeowner typically pays a combination of principal and interest with their monthly payments. The amount of the principal which is repaid on two mortgages for the same amount and with the same interest rate will be different if one loan is a 30 year term and the other is a 15 year term. The homeowner with the 15 year mortgage will be paying more of the principal each month and will therefore be accumulating more equity each month. Gaining equity in the home quicker is ideal because it gives the homeowner greater flexibility. The equity in the home can be used for a number of purposes including home improvement projects, travel, educational pursuits and small business ventures.

Loan Repaid Quicker

One advantage of shortening the loan terms, which cannot be denied by some homeowners, is the ability to repay the loan quicker by re-financing to shorten the loan terms from 30 years to 15 years. In this case the homeowner will have completely repaid the home loan a full 15 years earlier than they would have under the conventional loan. This is advantageous because it can enable the homeowners to enjoy living mortgage free a full 15 years earlier. Once the mortgage is fully repaid, the homeowner may be able to make significantly more sizable contributions to his retirement plan. Some homeowners may even be able to afford to retire once their mortgage is repaid in full. This ability can have a significant impact on the quality of life for the homeowner. Homeowners may find themselves with the financial means to travel, assist family in educational pursuits or invest in a small business.

PPPPP

Word count 680

Re-Financing with Bad Credit

Many years ago, it would have been extremely difficult for those with bad credit to obtain a mortgage loan in the first place. However, today there are so many loan options available and so many ways for lenders to protect themselves that those with bad credit can not only find a suitable mortgage but can also find appealing re-financing options as well.

Those with poor credit should carefully consider whether or not re-financing is ideal for them at the present time but the process is not much different for them as it is for those with good credit. Those with bad credit who want to learn more about re-financing should consult a mortgage advisor who specializes in mortgages for those with bad credit. Additionally the homeowner should carefully evaluate their credit score and whether or not it has improved. Finally the homeowner should evaluate their options carefully to ensure they are making the best possible decision.

Consult a Mortgage Advisor

Consulting with a mortgage advisor is recommended for those with poor credit. These homeowners may be knowledgeable about the process of re-financing but their situation warrants consulting with an industry expert. This is important because a mortgage advisor who specializes in obtaining mortgages and re-financing for those with bad credit will likely be very knowledgeable about the types of options available to the homeowners.

When consulting with the mortgage advisor, the homeowners should be completely honest about their financial situation and should provide the expert with all of the information he needs to assist them in finding an ideal re-financing agreement. Being completely candid will be very helpful in enabling the mortgage advisor to assist the homeowner in the best way possible.

Consider Whether or Not Your Credit has Improved

Homeowners with bad credit should carefully consider whether or not their credit has improved since the original mortgage was secured. Homeowners who have documented proof of past credit scores can compare these scores to current values. Each citizen is entitled to one free credit report per year from each of the major credit reporting agencies. Homeowners can obtain these reports for use in making comparisons to the previous credit scores. Imperfections on the credit report such as bankruptcies, delinquent or missed payments and other transgressions do not remain on the credit report.

These blemishes are often erased from the credit report after a certain period of time. The amount of time the transgression remains on the report is proportional to the severity of the offense. For example a bankruptcy will remain on the credit report for significantly longer than a late payment. In examining the credit report, homeowners should consider the overall credit score but should also note whether or not previous offenses are being erased from the credit report in a timely fashion.

Evaluate Re-Financing Options Carefully

Once a homeowner has tentatively made a decision to re-finance the mortgage, it is time to start considering the many options that are available to the homeowner during the process of re-financing. Most homeowners mistakenly believe one factor of the re-financing process they have no control over is the interest rate. While this rate is largely dependent on the homeowners credit score, even those with poor credit have the ability to lower their interest rate by purchasing point. A point is typically equally to 1% of the total loan amount and may translate to a ¼ of a percentage point on the interest rate. When deciding whether or not to purchase points, the homeowner should carefully consider the amount of time it would take the homeowner to recoup the cost of purchasing the points. This will help to determine whether or not it is worthwhile to purchase one or more points when re-financing.

Homeowners will also have options in terms of the type of loan they choose when re-financing. Common options include fixed rate mortgages, adjustable rate mortgages (ARMs) and hybrid mortgages. The interest rate remains constant with a fixed rate mortgage, adjusts with an ARM and is fixed for a period of time and adjustable for the remainder of the loan period with a hybrid loan.

PPPPP

Word count 689

Re-Financing with an Interest Only Mortgage

Interest only mortgages are a relatively new phenomenon in the re-financing industry as well as the home buying industry. While the appeal of an interest only mortgage is typically a greater monthly cash flow, this increased cash flow can come with a hefty price tag. In exchange for more cash flow each month, the homeowner may be sacrificing the ability to obtain a fixed rate mortgage as well as the ability to build equity. This article will further examine these features to provide the reader with more information on the subject of interest only mortgages.

Greater Monthly Cash Flow

The one main advantage for many homeowners in an interest only mortgage is the ability to increase monthly cash flow. Homeowners who re-finance by utilizing an interest only mortgage will likely have more money available each month because they will only be paying interest on their mortgage initially. The reduction of the principal payment can make it easier for the homeowner to either afford a larger house or have the ability to live more extravagantly on their budget. However, there is often a significant price to pay for these types of re-financing options.

While interest only loans may not be ideal, they can be beneficial in the situation where the homeowner is having a great deal fulfilling his monthly obligations. In this case, the homeowner may be willing to sacrifice an overall financial loss for the ability to continue to pay monthly bills in a timely fashion.

Unknown Risks of an ARM

Interest only re-finance loans are typically offered with an adjustable rate mortgage (ARM) this means the interest rate is not fixed and may fluctuate with the rise and fall of the prime index. This risk can be quite costly for the homeowner if the interest rate rises significantly. There is usually a cap placed on the amount, in terms of percentage, the interest rate can rise in a certain period but this can still be a very costly mistake for the homeowners.

An ARM re-finance option with an interest only component may be worthwhile in some situations. For example if the homeowner has a hybrid mortgage which features a fixed interest rate during the interest only portion and an ARM during the principal and interest portion of the loan they might benefit from this situation if they do not plan to stay in the home for longer than the interest only period. This period may vary depending on the lender and the circumstances. Homeowners who plan to sell the house before the interest only period ends and the ARM period begins enjoy the benefits of lower monthly payments and the security of fixed interest rates before they ever have to worry about repaying the principal or dealing with the varying interest rates.

No Equity in the Home

Another disadvantage to the interest only re-finance loans is they do not allow the homeowner to build equity in the home during the initial period where only the interest on the loan is repaid. This can be a problem for homeowners who are looking to profit through the sale of their home. These homeowners may find the participation in an interest only re-finance has had a damaging effect on the profit they are able to generate from the resale of their home.

PPPPP

Word count 556

Re-Financing with an ARM

An adjustable rate mortgage (ARM) is one of the most popular options available for both home mortgages and re-financing. Many homeowners do not fully understand the concept of an ARM and as a result may be somewhat hesitant to pursue this type of a mortgage. This is a shame because there are some situations in which an ARM or a hybrid mortgage can be the best mortgage solution for a homeowner who is in the process of re-financing. This article will focus on explaining the concept of an ARM, explaining situations where it is the best solution, debunking the most popular misconception regarding ARMs and explaining how those with bad credit can benefit from an ARM. At the conclusion of this article the reader should have a better understanding of ARMs and should be inspired to investigate this re-financing option further.

What is an ARM?

An ARM is an acronym for an adjustable rate mortgage. This means the interest rate associated with the mortgage is not fixed. Instead it is tied to an index such as the prime index and may rise and drop as the associated index rises and drops. The fact that interest rate is variable scares away many homeowners from considering this option further. However, there are certain safety measures in place which protect the homeowner from rapid increases. This safety measure will be discussed in greater detail later in the article on the section on the biggest myth regarding an ARM. However, for now homeowners should simply be aware that they would not be subjected to incredibly high interest jumps during a short period of time.

The Biggest ARM Myth

The variability of the interest rate in an ARM makes many homeowners feel very apprehensive. These homeowners envision interest rates going through the room during their loan term and resulting in their monthly payments skyrocketing. However, fortunately for these homeowners, rapidly increasing interest rates may not have a significant effect on ARMs.

This is because most ARMs have a built in clause which prevents the interest rate from rising more than a certain amount during a specific time period. During this time the national interest rate may rise significantly more but there is a cap on the amount the homeowner’s interest rate will be raised.

When is an ARM Desirable?

One of the most desirable situations for an ARM is as a part of a hybrid mortgage. Hybrid mortgages typically have one component which is fixed and one component which is adjustable. These types of mortgages may have a fixed rate for a set number of years begin to vary after this initial period. Alternately a hybrid loan may be variable for a number of years and then become fixed after this initial period.

The loan which begins with a fixed rate is usually desirable because the introductory rate is typically lower than the rate offered on traditional fixed loans for homeowners with comparable credit ratings. Homeowners may particularly like this option if they are repaying a smaller second mortgage and may be able to repay the loan in full before the introductory period ends.

ARMs for Those with Bad Credit

ARMs can also be very helpful for assisting those with bad credit in purchasing a home for the first time. There are a variety of loan options available today which makes it possible for even homeowners with poor credit to obtain a home loan. However, those with bad credit are usually offered these loans with unfavorable terms such as higher interest rates. Additionally, lenders may only be able to offer those with poor credit an ARM. Lenders take a significantly greater risk when they lend money to a homeowner with bad credit. As a result the lenders usually compensate for this increased risk by shackling the homeowner with less favorable such as a mortgage with an adjustable rate as opposed to a fixed rate.

PPPPP

Word count 653

Re-Financing with a Line of Credit Loan

Some homeowners might consider re-financing with a home equity line of credit as opposed to a traditional loan. There are definite advantages and disadvantages to these types of situations. The key to understanding whether or not re-financing with a home equity line of credit is worthwhile involves understanding what a home equity line of credit is, how it differs from a home loan and how it can be used. This article will briefly cover each of these topics to give the homeowner some useful information which may help them decide whether or not a home equity line of credit is ideal in their re-financing situation.

What is a Home Equity Line of Credit?

A home equity line of credit, sometimes called a HELOC, is essentially a loan in which funds are made available to the homeowner based on the existing equity in the home. However, in this case, it is not really a loan but rather a line of credit. This means a certain amount of money is made available to the homeowner and the homeowner may draw on this line of credit as funds are needed. There is a specified period in which the homeowner is able to make these withdrawals. This is known as the draw period. Additionally there is a repayment period in which the homeowner must repay all of the funds they withdrew from the account during the draw period.

How Does a Home Equity Line of Credit Differ from a Home Equity Loan?

The difference between a home equity line of credit and a home equity loan is really quite simple. While both loans are secured based on the existing equity in the home, the manner in which the funds are disbursed to the homeowner is rather quite different. In a home equity loan the homeowner is given all of the funds immediately. However in a home equity line of credit the funds are made available to the homeowner but are not immediately disbursed. The homeowner is able to draw against this line of credit as he sees fit. There are limits to the amount which can be withdrawn and there is also a limit on when funds can be withdrawn. A home equity has a draw period and a repayment period. Funds can be withdrawn during the draw period but must be repaid during the repayment period.

How Can a Home Equity Line of Credit Be Used?

One of the biggest advantages of a home equity line of credit is that the funds can be used for any purpose specified by the homeowner. While other loans such as an auto loan or even a traditional mortgage might have strict restrictions on how the money lent to the homeowner can be used, there are no such restrictions on a home equity line of credit. Common uses of a home equity line of credit include the following:

* Home renovations or improvement projects
* Opening a small business
* Taking a dream vacation
* Pursuing higher educational goals
* Opening a small business

In some cases the interest paid on a home equity line of credit may be considered tax deductible. This may apply in situations where the funds are used to make repairs or improvements to the home. However, these expenses are not always tax deductible and the homeowner should consult with a tax professional before making decisions regarding which interest payments can be deducted.

PPPPP

Word count 572

Re-Financing to Consolidate Debt

Some homeowners opt to re-finance to consolidate their existing debts. With this type of option, the homeowner can consolidate higher interest debts such as credit card debts under a lower interest home loan. The interest rates associated with home loans are traditionally lower than the rates associated with credit cards by a considerable amount. Deciding whether or not to re-finance for the purpose of debt consolidation can be a rather tricky issue. There are a number of complex factors which enter into the equation including the amount of existing debt, the difference in interest rates as well as the difference in loan terms and the current financial situation of the homeowner.

This article will attempt to make this issue less complex by providing a function definition for debt consolidation and providing answer to two key questions homeowners should ask themselves before re-financing. These questions include whether the homeowner will pay more in the long run by consolidating their debt and will the homeowners financial situation improve if they re-finance.

What is Debt Consolidation?

The term debt consolidation can be somewhat confusing because the term itself is somewhat deceptive. When a homeowner re-finances his home for the purpose of debt consolidation, he is not actually consolidating the debt in the true sense of the word. By definition to consolidate means to unite or to combine into one system. However, this is not what actually happens when debts are consolidated. The existing debts are actually repaid by the debt consolidation loan. Although the total amount of debt remains constant the individual debts are repaid by the new loan.

Prior to the debt consolidation the homeowner may have been repaying a monthly debt to one or more credit card companies, an auto lender, a student loan lender or any number of other lenders but now the homeowner is repaying one debt to the mortgage lender who provided the debt consolidation loan. This new loan will be subject to the applicable loan terms including interest rates and repayment period. Any terms associated with the individual loans are no longer valid as each of these loans has been repaid in full.

Are You Paying More in the Long Run?

When considering debt consolidation it is important to determine whether lower monthly payments or an overall increase in savings is being sought. This is an important consideration because while debt consolidation can lead to lower monthly payments when a lower interest mortgage is obtained to repay higher interest debts there is not always an overall cost savings. This is because interest rate alone does not determine the amount which will be paid in interest. The amount of debt and the loan term, or length of the loan, figure prominently into the equation as well.

As an example consider a debt with a relatively short loan term of five years and an interest only slightly higher than the rate associated with the debt consolidation loan. In this case, if the term of the debt consolidation loan, is 30 years the repayment of the original loan would be stretched out over the course of 30 years at an interest rate which is only slightly lower than the original rate. In this case it is clear the homeowner might end up paying more in the long run. However, the monthly payments will probably be drastically reduced. This type of decision forces the homeowner to decide whether an overall savings or lower monthly payments is more important.

Does Re-Financing Improve Your Financial Situation?

Homeowners who are considering re-financing for the purpose of debt consolidation should carefully consider whether or not their financial situation will be improved by re-financing. This is important because some homeowners may opt to re-finance because it increases their monthly cash flow even if it does not result in an overall cost savings. There are many mortgage calculators available on the Internet which can be used for purposes such as determining whether or not monthly cash flow will increase. Using these calculators and consulting with industry experts will help the homeowner to make a well informed decision.

PPPPP

Word count 684