Refinancing your mortgage is one step you can take to reduce your monthly spending. In fact, by using a company to refinance your mortgage, you can get out of debt even faster. With interest rates on the rise, now can be a good time to refinance.
The sooner you refinance, the more money you can save. This is because as interest rates go up, your potential savings decrease.
If you time it well, refinancing can save you thousands of dollars in interest. Of course, this depends on how much lower your interest rate is. And, how short your new loan repayment term is.
You may decide to refinance your 30-year mortgage to a 15-year mortgage. With this, you can get a lower interest rate. Plus, you pay off your mortgage faster. And, you can use the extra cash to repay your high-interest debt.
In This Article
- Top Mortgage Refinance Companies
- How to Refinance Your Mortgage
Top Mortgage Refinance Companies
When you refinance student loans or auto loans, you may not pay any fees. But, when you refinance a mortgage, expect to pay closing costs. Usually, they are between 3% and 6% of your loan amount. These fees (closing costs) include the home appraiser and title change fees.
As you can see, these fees can erase any money you save by refinancing. So, make sure you get an accurate estimate right away.
Compare the refinance rates of several lenders. You can start with these lenders to pay the lowest closing costs possible. At the end of the list you’ll find information on how to refinance, and answers to common refinancing questions.
One of the oldest online mortgage refinance companies is LoanDepot. It’s well-liked because its agents don’t work on commission.
You can talk with a loan agent to find your best refinancing option. And, LoanDepot has local branches in several states.
They have funded over $100 billion in loans and have over 1,700 lending officers, so they are experienced when it comes to mortgages.
When comparing mortgage refinance rates, get a quote from AmeriSave. After they provide a quote, you have four days to find a lower rate. If you do, AmeriSave matches the rate. Or, they give you $1,000 if you close with the other lender.
AmeriSave offers four different refinancing options:
- 15-year fixed
- 30-year fixed
- 7-year Adjustable Rate Mortgage
- 30-year FHA (Federal Housing Administration)
Your best rate can be with the 7-year ARM. With this loan, your first seven years have a fixed mortgage rate. After that, your rate floats and changes once a year.
So, only choose this option if you plan on paying off your loan in seven years. Otherwise, you might pay more in interest than with a standard fixed rate loan.
3. Rocket Mortgage
One of the largest mortgage refinance companies is Rocket Mortgage. It’s an offshoot of Quicken Loans. Like others on this list, the entire loan process takes place online. But when you close, you must schedule an in-person meeting.
Rocket also supports streamlined FHA loans. This loan spares you the expense of another home appraisal. And, your paperwork processes sooner.
Remember, you don’t begin saving money until you sign the closing papers. Speed is key and Rocket can be the fastest option if you qualify.
Also, Rocket underwrites 99% of the mortgages it issues. Many other lenders sell your loan to other banks. Maybe you’ll end up with a bank you’ve avoided because of poor service. With Rocket Mortgage, expect them to service your loan the entire time.
Trustpilot score: 3.9/5
4. New American Funding
New American Funding claims its members save over $370 per month on average. See your potential savings by getting a free quote. You may appreciate New American Funding because they are family-owned.
They also partner with ConsumersAdvocate to provide reviews on more than 14,000 companies. Maybe you rely on these product reviews to avoid scams and only buy quality products.
To start the refi process, simply enter your remaining loan balance and current credit score. Currently, New York residents cannot refinance using New American Funding.
5. Veterans United Home Loans
Military members may like Veterans United Home Loans. They specialize in refinancing VA loans.
One option is their VA Streamline Refinance option. You may know this loan as an Interest Rate Reduction Refinance Loan (IRRRL). Both of these are the same loan, but have different names.
Depending on your loan and property value, you may avoid certain fees. First, select applicants can skip the appraisal fee. And, others might be able to waive the VA Funding Fee.
Also, you have the option to defer paying closing costs. Instead, Veterans United rolls them into the loan balance. This can be a good idea if you can’t afford the closing costs right now.
But, you will have a higher APR and monthly payment as a result. If possible, pay the fees now to pay less in interest.
To refinance, you must have a history of on-time payments. In the past 12 months, you can’t have any payments that were late by 30 days or more.
Another popular online bank is USAA. First, they are a military-friendly group. Second, they also offer insurance products. It’s possible to have your mortgage and homeowners insurance with one bank.
When you refinance, your options range between a 10-year and 30-year fixed rate loan. If you decide to sell your house through USAA, you can also get a cash reward. The average person receives a $1,230 cash reward with their rewards program.
7. Guaranteed Rate
People like Guaranteed Rate for its excellent customer service ratings. And, it has competitive interest rates.
The entire loan process occurs online. But, you can talk to a loan officer.
To qualify for the lowest rates, you may need to complete a few extra steps. For example, you may need owner’s title insurance. Other lenders might not require this extra coverage.
Since you can get a quote for free, compare their rate to other lenders. Then, you can see if the savings are worth using Guaranteed Rate.
Better.com is a newer mortgage company with a goal to make home ownership simpler, faster, and more accessible for all Americans. Their website says that they don’t charge any lender fees or commission.
Better.com focuses mostly on conventional and jumbo loans. You can refinance your single family home or investment property with 1-4 units. They’ll refinance town homes and condominiums as well.
9. Ally Bank
Most of Ally’s loans offer fixed interest rates. But, you can also get an adjustable rate mortgage with a 10-year fixed term.
On the Ally website, you can compare today’s best rates. And, you can use their refinance calculator to find the best loan.
10. SunTrust Bank
SunTrust Bank started way back in 1891. You can apply to refinance your mortgage with SunTrust by filling out the online application.
Or, you can stop in to one of over 1200 branches in the Southeastern United States. SunTrust does fixed and variable rate mortgages in a variety of terms.
You can choose from conventional loans, FHA loans, VA loans and more. They also have what’s called a Premier loan product for larger home purchases.
Maybe you have a high-value home. It might exceed the Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac loan-servicing limits. In most markets, that limit is $453,100. PNC is one of the best companies to refinance jumbo mortgages.
This is because banks must self-insure jumbo mortgages. So, jumbo mortgages are more expensive to refinance. And, the underwriting standards are stricter because the bank can lose more money.
PNC offers fixed loan terms of 15 and 30 years. If you need it, the upper borrowing limit is $5 million. And, PNC usually keeps your mortgage instead of selling it. This is one reason why PNC gets good grades for customer service.
12. Bank of America
In general, online banks tend to offer lower rates than physical banks. But, that’s not always true. Bank of America offers competitive mortgage refinance rates.
And, you enjoy the benefits of having access to a local branch.
13. US Bank
Another bank that tends to offer lower refinance rates and has brick-and-mortar locations is US Bank. Since they’re a national bank, it’s likely there’s a branch near you. US Bank refinances the following mortgage types:
- Fixed interest rate
- Variable interest rate
In addition to applying locally, you can complete the loan process online. You can also upload your documents online.
A growing mortgage refinance company is Reali. With Reali, you won’t pay an application fee. And, the entire refinance process happens online. So, your closing costs are kept to a minimum.
Reali is also a direct lender. That means you won’t be dealing with another bank to secure financing.
You can get a quote in three minutes. You can also use their refinance calculator to get a quick quote. It’s free to get a quote before you begin the refinance process. All refinance loans have a fixed interest rate.
Most loans take up to 30 days to close. Reali secures your interest rate for 45 days. If rates rise during the application process, you still pay the lower rate.
How to Refinance Your Mortgage
Refinancing your mortgage is similar to applying for your first mortgage. The one difference is that you already “own” the home you’re refinancing. You can refinance the mortgage for any home or rental property you own.
You will need to pay an appraisal company to appraise your house. The appraisal helps the bank decide your current home value.
This value determines your maximum loan amount, as well as how much equity you have in your home. Equity helps you get a lower interest rate. Plus, it improves your approval odds during the underwriting process.
The refinancing process roughly takes one month to complete. This time frame is similar to applying for a first mortgage.
Pre-Qualify Before You Refinance
It’s a good idea to pre-qualify for a refinance mortgage rate. In fact, most lenders now require you to pre-qualify. This saves you the time of applying for a loan you don’t qualify for, and it only takes a few minutes to do.
Online lenders let you pre-qualify on their own websites. This doesn’t affect your credit score. So, you can pre-qualify with multiple lenders penalty-free.
Compare Multiple Lenders
With most sites, it only takes three minutes to get a quote. Take 20 minutes and get a quote from multiple lenders. Even though they all offer the same loan, expect different estimates. You might even see different interest rate quotes.
Pay Attention to Loan-to-Value Ratio
Lenders use your appraisal to determine your loan-to-value ratio (LTV). To refinance, your LTV usually has to be less than 80%. To consolidate other debt, it must be lower than 65% for most lenders.
Some call this hybrid loan a cash-out refinance loan. You can use your home equity to pay your high-interest debt. Instead of paying 20% interest with your credit card, you might only pay 5% on the loan. If you use the loan to pay off your consumer debt, you can save money on interest charges.
Quickly Send All Documents
When you apply for a refinance, you need to mail or upload all documents as soon as possible. With most lenders, expect the application process to take 21 to 30 days. Many lenders lock in your rate for 45 days to account for potential delays. If the lock period ends before you close, your new interest rate might increase.
Don’t Apply for New Credit While You Refinance
Until the refinance process closes, don’t apply for new credit. Lenders check your credit score at the start and end of the refinance process. If you apply for a new loan or credit card, you risk your approval odds.
Better yet, wait three months after you close to apply for new credit. This gives lenders time to see you make three on-time payments on your new loan. And, your credit score has extra time to rebound.
Build Your Credit Score Before You Apply
For the best interest rate, your credit score needs to be as high as possible. There are two ways to build credit. First, pay off high-interest debt. Second, make on-time payments on all your loans and credit cards. Paying off debt also helps reduce your debt-to-income ratio.
Lenders want to know how much of a payment you can afford. After all, they lose money if you default on the loan. This measure also prevents a repeat of the 2008 mortgage crisis.
Here are answers to a few of the most common questions about refinancing.
How do lenders determine mortgage refinance rates?
Your new interest rate is the daily rate for the day you apply. If rates decrease before you close, some lenders will give you the lower rate.
All lenders base their refinance rates on the 10-year U.S. Treasury term plus a spread. Although the changes are slight, mortgage rates change daily. Each lender can charge a different spread and closing fees.
For stability, lenders usually lock in your interest rate for 45 days. For most loans, this is ample time for the bank to process the paperwork.
What is the difference between interest rate and APR?
When you get a mortgage refinance quote, you might see two different rates. The first and usually lower rate is the interest rate. The higher rate (that you pay) is the APR. The APR is higher because it includes any fees and points. So, APR includes all mortgage fees plus the loan interest rate.
To lower your APR, pay as many closing costs upfront as you can afford. By making upfront payments, you also reduce your loan principal. So, you pay less in interest.
By law, lenders must show the APR during the application process. When you compare mortgage companies, look at the APR. Also, look at the interest rate. But, the APR is the more realistic mortgage rate.
Besides closing fees, your credit score and loan length affect your APR. Higher loan amounts and lower credit scores can increase your mortgage rate.
What is a loan repayment term?
The repayment term is how many years you have to repay your loan in full. Currently, most homeowners have a 30-year fixed rate mortgage. This means you pay the same amount each month for 30 years.
When you refinance, you can choose a shorter repayment term. For example, you might choose a 5-year or 10-year term. Your monthly payment might be higher than the current 30-year term.
But, you repay the loan sooner and you can save thousands of dollars in interest payments.
What credit score do you need to refinance a mortgage?
Most loans require a minimum credit score of 620. Some federal loans only require a 580 credit score.
Many lenders see if you pre-qualify to refinance. They check your credit score for free. And, these free quotes don’t count as a hard inquiry.
A higher credit score means you qualify for the best interest rates. Having the smallest loan balance and shortest repayment terms also help.
Does refinancing your mortgage always save you money?
Not always. There are two reasons to refinance your mortgage. First, if you can get a notably lower interest rate. Second, if you need more time to repay your loan.
Always compare the closing costs to the potential savings. If you “lose” money refinancing, stick with your current loan.
Try not to refinance because you need more time. If so, you will pay more in interest and fees. Yes, this is better than foreclosing. But, you also need to consider downsizing to a cheaper home or using these tips to reduce your monthly spending.
Online lenders tend to be the best mortgage refinance companies. They usually offer lower interest rates and charge fewer fees. And, you can complete most of the refinance process online. Use this list to choose the best refinance company for you.
How long are you going to refinance your mortgage for? What will you do with the extra money? Let us know on our social media accounts!