Family Budget Fridays: Refinancing the House

Family Budget Fridays: Refinancing the House

If you have a house right now, congratulations. If you’re making your payments on time with no worries–an additional congrats. If you can bottle you secret formula, you might try writing a book to sell it, but then, we just covered the fact that you don’t need any more money, eh?

For too many families, staying in the house they’ve come to call home has become a challenge complete with mental stress, physical strife and unhappy endings. You can’t live long enough in a democratic, capitalistic society and not experience a few financial pitfalls. There are so many lessons to learn from financial woes that such a topic probably deserves its own post; however, before I lose myself on a rant about the meaning and important thing in life, let’s see if we can’t point you in the right direction if you’re trying to save your house.

So. Here’s where it seems we are. For those currently employed, it looks like things are somewhat holding steady. After the financial reaper hacked his way through the working class and upper middle management in ’08 and ’09, it looks as if the survivors might once again find a little bit of sincere, false security in their jobs–unless they’re a teacher. How sad is that?

If you’re in a position of gainful employment, but still struggling to make ends meet and get bill payments in on time after paying the mortgage, have you considered refinancing your home to reapply the funds you have coming in?

Refinancing applications are down nearly 3 percent, as are applications for first time home-borrowers. This means banks are actively looking for the business from those who are qualified borrowers. So. How do you know if you’re qualified?

If you’re currently maintaining your mortgage payments, and you’re up to date on all your payments, you’re more than likely qualified. There are several factors to take into consideration, of course, especially the biggie known as debt to income ratio; however, most potential lenders can work with you on refinancing options if you have an excellent payment record.

When looking to refinance your home, you’ll want to really shop around. Your current lender may be able to offer you some sort of deal, but don’t be shy about checking out some other solid resources. I always push US Bank to people, as a viable option for all kinds of financial needs. I frequently repeat myself: “Notice that they didn’t need any bailout money.” US Bank didn’t get into trouble with the absurd subprime mortgage craze, offering people home loans when they had no business doing so. They have always stood by their PRIME rates. This is just one example of a financial institution available for shopping. No, I’m not a paid endorser–I’ve just enjoyed working with them in the past.

Here’s an example of why you might consider refinancing: If you’re presently stuck in an ARM, and you know it’s going to make things tight in the near future, it would make sense to lock in at a rate that is more than you’re paying now, but less than you’ll eventually be paying when you hit the third rate adjustment of your ARM. You can build a long term budget around a locked-in rate. Yeah, that’s oversimplified, but I think you can pick up what I’m laying down.

There will also be a load of variables based on the current market value of your home, the equity possessed, etc. A pro can really help, I’m just hoping to give you that friendly push in the right direction.

The Lending Tree is another great entity that can you set you on the path to the proper home refinance application, and if you’re looking for a little assistance from Uncle Sam, you can check out the Obama administrations “Making Home Affordable” site. Then of course, there’s also the option of an FHA refinance if your original mortgage loan was FHA insured.

If you know of, or find other great resources in your search, please share them in the comments section. Nothing wrong with all of us helping each other out!

(Image via: MortgageTonight)