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The Basics of Refinancing Your Home Mortgage

Your home is your largest, most valuable financial asset. It can take years to pay off the mortgage on that asset. To reduce your monthly payment or the amount of interest you pay over the long run, you may want to consider refinancing that loan. Home loan interest rates are at record levels so this is a great time to look into refinancing your mortgage.

When refinancing, you essentially pay off your existing mortgage and create a new one. Since you are creating a new loan when you refinance, you get a new loan with new terms. There's a variety of mortgage terms you can negotiate. These include interest rates, duration of the loan and the amount of the loan.

Interest rates: Many people choose to refinance their mortgages when interest rates have dropped significantly to make it financially beneficial to refinance the mortgage. By refinancing at a lower interest rate, you can lower your monthly mortgage payments.

Another term which can be negotiated on your home loan is the term or duration of the loan. If you previously had a 10-year loan, it's possible to get a new mortgage with a 30-year duration. This is a good option if you're consolidating debt into the new mortgage amount. Beware that on a mortgage with a shorter duration that you may be paying a higher monthly mortgage rate. Contrarily, a longer term mortgage will most likely have a lower monthly payment.

Finally, you may also be able to negotiate the amount of the loan. If your home has held its value or increased in value, you can roll another loan or other debt into your home mortgage amount. That way, you pay off both loans with one low monthly payment. With interest rates as low as they are, this is a very desirable strategy. Credit card debts, car and student loans are debt items that can be rolled into a new mortgage.

Also, don't forget to shop interest rates before starting the paperwork. Banks vary on their interest rates, closing costs and fees. Some banks are actually raising these rates and costs in an effort to increase their profits and hold down the amount of loans they are processing. Go online and research rates among lenders. Not only can you look for the best deal, but you can use this information to negotiate lowers costs.

Be careful not to get addicted to refinancing. Some people refinance every time interest rates take a dip. While it may seem like you are saving money, you are also racking up closing costs every time you create a new loan. Over the long run, refinancing multiple times may actually cost you money.

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