Ramifications of Refinancing.

By: Thomas Hunter

In the recent past, with the prices of homes on the rise, complemented by falling interest rates and a need to convert oneís accumulated home equity into expendable funds, millions of people have got the opportunity to refinance the mortgage on their residence. Often, this has worked to their advantage since refinancing has resulted in a vastly lower interest rate and lower monthly mortgage payments, thereby letting homeowners spend or save a certain part of their incomes that are no longer repayments to their mortgages.

In order to refinance, homeowners sometimes borrow more than they need to pay off an earlier mortgage and so cover the transaction costs of refinancing, and then liquefy the equity they have put together in their homes. With these funds, they make home improvements, repay older debts and buy goods, services or assets they canít otherwise afford.

Why you should refinance: First, you need to take a good look at your current interest rate to do your best for your funds. It is well worth refinancing your current mortgage if your new interest rate is over Ĺ% to 5/8% your current interest rate. But if you want to lower your closing costs as far as possible, see that your current rate is at least 1% lower.

How much can refinancing save you? This depends on several factors relating to your present mortgage situation. If your interest rates are low, it can bring in substantial savings to your funds, perhaps even thousands of dollars! And when rates rise, refinancing from a conventional loan to a variable rate loan, you can stand to gain substantially.

Benefits of refinancing: Choosing to refinance a home mortgage is a tough decision and needs careful consideration of oneís costs and the benefits that will accrue from refinancing. You will realize that when interest rates on mortgages fall below the rate on your existing loan, itís a good idea to refinance. At a time like this, you need to look at the prospective after-tax savings from lower monthly payments if you were to take a lower-rate loan and compare it with the after-tax expenses of refinancing. This would include mortgage fees or points, application and appraisal fees. As the loan is repaid, the savings from your lower interest payments begin to accumulate. As a result, the funds that would have been saved due to refinancing must be discounted at the present rate and compared with the transaction or closing costs.

People usually go in for refinancing to save money, but there are other reasons also, such as:

∑ Reducing your monthly loan installment: If you reduce your monthly mortgage installments, you can end up refinancing your existing loan at a lower rate of interest. This can save you funds in the long run.

∑ Consolidating your debts: Perhaps you prefer to refinance to consolidate your debts (e.g. a student loan or a loan on a credit card) and prefer paying a low-interest loan rather than a high-interest one. Now, you can clear all your outstanding debts and replace them with just one low-cost cheaper monthly payout.

∑ More tax deductions: If you have lower interest rates, it means smaller interest deductions on Schedule A.

∑ Mortgage interest: You are allowed to deduct interest on a debt of up to $1 million incurred to buy your house and one more home. Also deductible is interest on up to $100,000 of home equity loans due to these two residences. If you refinance a mortgage, the interest on this loan is deductible to the limit of old mortgage plus $100,000.

∑ Points: The interest charges you pay up-front or points are really interest thatís pre-paid and must therefore be deducted proportionately during the tenure unless you have purchased or improved your existing principal property.

Also, if you have bought a holiday home or real estate as an investment, points should be deducted proportionately over the loan term. Or, if you have refinanced a mortgage on which you had been reducing points proportionately, you could stand eligible for a tax bonus. Now, you can subtract any part of the points for the mortgage already paid off that you had not yet deducted since the year of refinancing.

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