Should you refinance your mortgage in 2019?

If you’re trying to refinance your mortgage, we can help you compare rates from multiple lenders to find the best deal. Start a quote or estimate your savings using our mortgage refinance calculator below. 

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Mortgage Refinance Calculator

How to use our mortgage refinance calculator

Our refinance calculator lets you estimate the total cost involved in your mortgage refinance and allows you to compare your current interest rate against what the best mortgage lenders have to offer.


When using our mortgage refinance calculator, it’s a good idea to compare monthly payments and loan terms in addition to interest rates. As these will have a big impact on your monthly budget.

 

To ensure a fair comparison, make sure you’re using the lender’s quoted annual percentage rate (APR) and not just the interest rate that they list, as this will ensure you’re factoring in typical closing costs and refinance fees. This will allow you to obtain as accurate a reading as possible.

What is refinancing and how does it work?

Refinancing is simply the process of replacing your existing mortgage with a new loan that has better terms. There are plenty of reasons that people refinance their mortgages, these could include getting a lower interest rate, shortening their loan term or switching from an adjustable rate to a fixed rate.

Whatever your reason for refinancing, your new loan will pay off the old loan, and allow you to start over with a new rate and better terms.

How LendingTree can help you refinance

Shopping around can save you money when buying a home, and the same is true when refinancing your existing loan. At LendingTree, we make this process easier by doing the shopping for you.


By comparing lenders and having them compete for your business, you’re certain to get the best rate possible on your mortgage refinance. The better your rate, the lower your payments will be and the more money you’ll save in interest.

Should I refinance my mortgage?

You should refinance your mortgage if you’re able to generate a positive net benefit from doing so. When you should refinance will depend on a number of things, including current mortgage rates, how close you are to paying off your home loan, and your need for cash.

We cover some of the most common reasons for refinancing below.

Lower your payment

Refinancing your mortgage can help you lower your monthly payments, either by reducing your interest rate or extending your loan term. This helps make payments more manageable.

Adjust your loan term

Borrowers who refinance their mortgage can significantly reduce the time it takes to pay off their home loan. This allows you to become debt-free earlier, leaving you with more time to dedicate to the things that really matter.

Take cash (equity) out of your home

If you need money for home repairs, a new car, or debt consolidation, a cash-out refinance can be a great way to withdraw your home equity for life’s unexpected expenses.

Convert a variable rate to a fixed rate

If you have an adjustable rate mortgage (ARM) and are worried about interest rates rising against you, refinancing your home mortgage into a fixed rate can buy you some peace of mind as well as get you a great low rate for the long term.

Lower your interest rate

Don’t get stuck with a high interest rate. If you refinance your home mortgage, you may be able to cut your rate by 0.50% or more. This can add up to tens of thousands of dollars in savings over the life of your loan.

(Private mortgage insurance) PMI removal

PMI can cost you as much as 1.5% of your loan balance annually, and can’t be canceled on FHA loans regardless of how much equity you have. Refinancing into another mortgage lets you reduce or even eliminate burdensome PMI costs, especially if you have extra cash on hand.

Benefits of refinancing

If you’re unsure about when to refinance your mortgage, try plugging your current interest rate into our mortgage refinance calculator below, and comparing it with the offers you receive from our best mortgage lenders. This lets you estimate the total cost involved and see how much you could potentially save by refinancing your home mortgage.

  • Lower your payment
  • Adjust your loan term
  • Take cash (equity) out of your home
  • Convert a variable rate to a fixed rate
  • Lower your interest rate

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Requirements to refinance a home mortgage

Many eligibility requirements related to getting a mortgage also apply to the mortgage refinance process.

Minimum credit score: In many cases, you’ll need at least a 620 credit score. However, aim for a 740 score or higher to qualify for the best mortgage refinance rates available. 

Maximum loan-to-value ratio: Your loan-to-value (LTV) ratio, which is the percentage of your home’s value being financed by the mortgage, can’t exceed 97% for a traditional refinance. The maximum LTV ratio allowed for cash-out refinances is 80%.

Maximum debt-to-income ratio: Your debt-to-income (DTI) ratio, which is the percentage of your gross monthly income used to make your debt payments, should be at 45% or lower. Be sure to factor in both your non-mortgage debt and the estimated monthly mortgage payment you expect to have with the refinanced mortgage.

Although it’s possible to refinance with a high LTV ratio, you’ll need to have an 80% LTV or lower to avoid paying for mortgage insurance. Make sure you compare offers from multiple mortgage lenders, as their qualification thresholds will vary in addition to their terms.

Refinance Mortgage Rates

Shop refinance rates in your area by using the drop-down menus above and clicking “refresh rates.” You can select your desired loan amount, property type and estimated credit score to fine tune your results.

Our rate table shows current refinance rates in your area for the 30-year and 15-year fixed rate mortgages as well as 5/1 ARMs. You can click “view more” to see live mortgage refinance offers near you.

How much does it cost to refinance?

Whenever you borrow a loan, there are closing costs and fees associated with the transaction. Typical refinance closing costs can range from 3%-6% of your new loan amount, but vary by lender and location. The costs you’re responsible for can include an application fee, loan origination fees, an appraisal fee and more.

You can use LendingTree’s refinance calculator above to determine your breakeven point, or the point at which the savings on your mortgage will cover the cost of the refinance.

7 steps to refinancing your mortgage

Determine why you want to refinance. Have mortgage interest rates dropped significantly? Has your creditworthiness drastically improved? Have home values increased?

Shop around to find the right lender. Use LendingTree’s marketplace to get mortgage refinance quotes and check out our list of the best mortgage lenders for refinancing.

Gather your documentation and apply for a loan. Have your asset, debt, employment and income paperwork ready and fill out a refinance application with two or three lenders. Or you can fill out our form by clicking the link at the top of the page to have multiple lenders contact you directly.

Compare your Loan Estimates. Each lender you apply with will give you a Loan Estimate within three business days of receiving your application. Review each document and compare refinance rates, monthly payments, closing costs and other fees to determine which lender has the best deal for you.

Prepare for an appraisal. Once you choose your lender and your application goes to the processing and underwriting phases, your lender will order a home appraisal to verify the property value makes sense for the new loan amount.

Take advantage of a rate lock. Lock in your refinance rate about a week before you’re scheduled to close on your new mortgage. This allows you to secure a specific mortgage refinance rate that won’t change before the deal is sealed, as long you close on the loan before the rate lock expires.

Close on your new loan. Once you have a date set to close on your refinance, you’ll finalize the transaction by paying your closing costs and signing all necessary mortgage documents.

Differences between a cash-out and traditional refinance

What is a cash-out refinance?

With a cash-out refinance, you borrow a new loan that exceeds the amount you need to pay off your existing loan and take out the difference in cash. You might want to refinance with a cash-out if you need to:

  • Boost the size of your emergency fund
  • Cover higher education expenses
  • Make improvements or repairs to your home
  • Pay off high-interest-rate debt, such as credit cards 

 

Cash out refinancing allows you to replace your existing mortgage while withdrawing equity as cash for other uses. Keep in mind that the new mortgage on your cash-out refinance will have a higher balance as a result and your monthly mortgage payment will likely increase.

By contrast, a traditional refinance involves replacing your existing mortgage with one that has a new interest rate and loan term, but you typically don’t receive cash from the transaction. You may prefer a traditional mortgage refinance if your goal is to:

  • Convert an FHA loan to a conventional loan
  • Lower your mortgage interest rate
  • Shorten your loan term
  • Stretch out your loan term
  • Switch from an adjustable-rate mortgage to a fixed-rate mortgage

 

Reasons for cash-out refinance include:

Pay off your credit cards or high interest debts

Cash-out refinances allow you to pull out your home equity to refinance other high interest consumer debt at a low fixed-rate, which can be handy for things like debt consolidation.

Purchase a car

There are no restrictions on how to spend the proceeds of your cash-out refinance. This makes them a great choice if you need cash for a new ride and don’t want to finance through the dealership.

Make home improvements or repairs

Cashing out for repairs and renovations is a fantastic way to substantially increase the value of your home without taking on costly credit card debt.

Pay for college expenses

A cash-out refinance can supplement your tuition costs when college grants and student loans don’t fully cover the gap.

Accumulate emergency funds

If you don’t have much in your savings account and are worried about the future, a cash-out refinance lets you replenish your rainy-day fund at a great low-rate. This allows you to avoid costly personal loans when the need for cash arises.

Get a cash-out refinance quote today

  • Pay off your credit cards or high interest debts
  • Purchase a car
  • Make home improvements or repairs
  • Pay for college expenses
  • Create emergency funds

 

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Turbocharge your refinance with a VA or FHA streamline refinance

Qualifying homeowners with outstanding VA and FHA loans may be able to skip the credit check and home appraisal process with a streamline refinance. These government refinance programs make it easy for borrowers to take advantage of low mortgage rates while simplifying the closing process.

Both the Department of Veterans Affairs and Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) back streamline refinance programs which offer the following benefits:

No appraisal required

Streamline refinances avoid the appraisal process entirely, reducing closing costs and time. Eligible borrowers can use the original purchase price of their home as its current value, which makes it easier to qualify for a streamline refinance, even with an underwater mortgage.

Avoid credit checks

If you’ve lost your job or suffered credit problems in the past, the streamline refinance process may allow you to skip the credit and employment verification process required by conventional refinance loans.

Cut down on paperwork

Not only are streamline refinance loans faster, but they require significantly less documentation than similar conventional refinances.

Explore other government refinance programs

While HARP expired in late 2018, there are new refinance programs constantly being conceived and tested every year on both the state and federal level.

 

If you’re interested in exploring other mortgage refinance options, click on one of the links above to learn more, or use the link at the top of the page to get connected with a lender.

Mortgage Comparison Shopping Report – October 20th, 2019

Each week, LendingTree reports how much consumers can save by comparing rates during the loan-shopping process. We describe these savings in two ways to provide the most detailed data possible on mortgage rates. The LendingTree Mortgage Rate Distribution details the range of mortgage interest rates on offer. The Mortgage Rate Competition Index is the median spread between the lowest and highest APRs offered by lenders in our marketplace.

For the week ending October 20, 2019, the share of mortgage refinance borrowers with rates under 4% was at 52% and the mortgage refinance rate competition index was 1.25.

Mortgage refinance market – By the numbers

52.0%

of mortgage refinance borrowers received offers of 4% or less for 30-year, fixed-rate mortgage refinances, down from 61.7% last week. A year ago, 0% of refinance offers were under 4%.

$52,404

is how much you would save over 30 years on a $300,000 loan, when you can get a mortgage refinance APR 0.98 percentage points lower than the competition.

3.75%

was the most common interest rate across all 30-year, fixed-rate mortgage refinance applications on LendingTree. This rate was offered to 15.5% of borrowers.

  • Across all 30-year, fixed-rate mortgage refinance applications on LendingTree, the index was 1.25.

 

Read the full report here.