There are plenty of reasons for a homeowner to refinance a current mortgage. Lowering a monthly payment is probably the most popular reason, but there are others. Do you want to pay off your loan more quickly? Has your credit rating improved since you bought your home, allowing you to now get a better rate? Do you want to put some of your equity to work in other ways? Each reason leads to a different way of thinking about refinancing. Many homeowners start thinking about refinancing when the current interest rate is lower than their mortgage-loan rate. additionally, homeowners have been advised to follow the "2-2-2 rule" when considering refinancing. This rule of thumb says your new interest rate should be at least 2 percentage points below your current rate. You should have lived in the home at least 2 years. And, you should be planning to stay at least 2 more years. Although the "2-2-2 rule" is good advice in many cases, you should decide for yourself (with some professional advice!) what's best in your situation. If the market doesn't allow you to refinance into a lower-rate mortgage, you may still have a reason to change loans. Some homeowners want to extend a 15-year loan into a 30-year plan to lower their monthly costs. Other homeowners who don't plan to move for 5 years or more may benefit from a new mortgage even if it is only 1 percentage point lower than the old one. Here's how: Imagine you had a $200,000 mortgage at 8% over 30 years with a payment of $1,467 per month. If the loan amount is down to $175,500 (after making payments for about 10 years), you could use one of these stogies to lower your payment:
Determining how much you can afford to finance in today's market requires careful consideration and a bit of math. If you are thinking about refinancing an existing mortgage or buying a home, use these charts to help you plan. Then call us, so we can answer your questions and help you take the next step!
Lenders will usually allow you to spend 28% of your total--or gross--monthly income to make mortgage payments of principal, interest, taxes and insurance. The table below shows how much 28% is at various income levels.
**Principal and interest only; taxes, insurance and any homeowner fees not included. These will raise your monthly payment and reduce the amount of principal and interest and total loan amount you can afford. Loan amounts are based on a 30-year fixed-rate mortgage. For incomes over $100,000, add together the two loan amounts and add your down payment.
|Annual Income||Gross Monthly Income||Affordable Monthly Payment**|
|*For incomes over $100,000, add together the two appropriate columns.|
|Loan Amount: How much can you plan to borrow?|
|Once you know how much you can afford monthly, use this table to estimate how much you can borrow. Add your down payment to get an approximate house-hunting price range.|