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Old 10-02-2019, 02:09 PM
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Anyone ever refinance your house?


We are investigating refinancing our home loan due to lower interest rates.

I went to Lending Tree and created an account in preparation. Since then, my phone has not stopped ringing.

Have any of you refinanced? If so, your experience? Good? Things to watch out for?
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Old 10-02-2019, 02:37 PM
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I have done it twice. The second time we used U.S. Bank, can't remember the time before that. It was very mundane. We filled out an application, then did a settlement, then made payments. Ho hum.

I don't know anything at all about Lending Tree. Who keeps calling you?
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Old 10-02-2019, 02:37 PM
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We did it a few years ago and it worked great. We originally purchased our house about five years ago with a 4.0% 30 year fixed mortgage and refinanced about two years ago to a 2.875% 15 year fixed (putting in quite a bit of excess cash too). At the time taking into account the appreciation of our house we were essentially taking on a mortgage for about 30% of the value of our home.

It's hard to give advice on how best to pick a provider because I think we were mostly just lucky. I did attempt to digest all the online reviews but they're incredibly noisy. I'd probably be looking out for bad things that are consistently mentioned across lots of reviews. But in the end the provider was pretty efficient and provided the service and timeliness advertised.

Let me know if you have any specific questions and I'll try dust off the memories ...

If I remember right I just looked at the offers listed on bankrate.com and reached out to two or three of the better rates and went with the one I got the best professional "vibe" from over the phone. It's somewhat less risky for a refinance in that you're not under the gun with house closings, etc. And you don't have much control over who services your loan anyway (in our experience this gets passed around a *lot*). So there isn't much point in reviewing that side of it.

We've actually moved into a newly purchased house in the last month and are closing on selling the old house mentioned above next week. At the time we'll take the proceeds from that sale and either put it into the new house mortgage as a "recast" or refinance again for a lesser amount at a 15 year fixed (assuming the math regarding rates and upfront costs works out).
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Old 10-02-2019, 02:40 PM
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Originally Posted by CookingWithGas View Post
I

I don't know anything at all about Lending Tree. Who keeps calling you?
Lots of different numbers. It's like my number immediately went into a shared database. I hope it's a 'potential customer' and not 'potential sucker' database.
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Old 10-02-2019, 02:42 PM
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I have refinanced many times. Usually, it is through the same lender who has the current mortgage, and usually it was the lender who initiated it. That makes it easier as they already know all about you. The only time I ever had problems was with Wells Fargo - they SUCK!
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Old 10-02-2019, 02:45 PM
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Make sure you look at the closing costs and calculate your break even point. Make sure the lower interest rate will actually save you money, and see how long it takes before you're actually saving that money. Also look at the length of your refinancing compared to how many years you currently owe. For example, 30 more years at the reduced rate vs 15 more years at the current rate might not be beneficial.
Mainly though, look at the closing costs and the hidden fees and headaches, like getting a new appraisal, etc.
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Old 10-02-2019, 02:46 PM
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The only time I ever had problems was with Wells Fargo - they SUCK!
I support this statement!
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Old 10-02-2019, 02:47 PM
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Originally Posted by Tim R. Mortiss View Post
I have refinanced many times. Usually, it is through the same lender who has the current mortgage, and usually it was the lender who initiated it. That makes it easier as they already know all about you. The only time I ever had problems was with Wells Fargo - they SUCK!
Yes. We actually had two independent data points about how terrible Wells Fargo was: (a) our own in-person experience with the broker gave us a strong impression of sliminess, in particular the way she was trying to steer us to her friends as agents, etc. and (b) every agent we talked to seemed to without prompting strongly recommend avoiding Wells Fargo because they had a reputation of screwing up the paperwork and delaying / jeopardizing your closing. Like it was actually a stronger offer if you explicitly promised you weren't using Wells Fargo.
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Old 10-02-2019, 02:51 PM
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The one thing I would mention, even if it seems obvious and "everyone knows that", is that refinancing re-sets your clock. So, if you originally have a 30 year loan, and have paid on it for 10 years, you have 20 years left until you are paid off. If you refinance in year 10, then you now have 30 years until you are paid off. So, an extra 10 years of paying. That is, of course, if you are re-financing with a 30 year loan.

As Driver8 pointed out, if you can make the numbers work and move from a 30 year original loan to a 15 year refinance loan, then you are in better shape. But I just wanted to bring it up in deciding if it is actually a better deal for you. Even with a lower interest rate / monthly payment, spread out over a longer period of time may not be best for you. Do the math to find the break even point.
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Old 10-02-2019, 04:46 PM
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I went w/ a local credit union to refi out of Chase Bank; they had great rates, great customer service and they only called or emailed me when they needed something. I always spoke to the same people and the process was pretty great! I refi'd just last month.
ETA - Wells Fargo stinks like a rotting chicken stuffed w/ Roquefort and shat out by an elephant.

Last edited by Nawth Chucka; 10-02-2019 at 04:49 PM.
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Old 10-02-2019, 04:48 PM
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One time I went thru all the paperwork (back in the days of faxing) in the hopes of getting a lower monthly payment. The company came back with some nonsense of giving us money back, under the assumption that we wanted to finance our house for $30K more than any other house in our relatively new neighborhood and more than $30K over what we paid for it a year earlier. The agent couldn't believe that we wouldn't take his deal.

On the other hand, we went to our credit union shortly after moving here and we refinanced our house for 20 years. We didn't knock that many years off, but more of our payment went to principle, which suits us fine.
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Old 10-02-2019, 05:32 PM
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The one thing I would mention, even if it seems obvious and "everyone knows that", is that refinancing re-sets your clock. So, if you originally have a 30 year loan, and have paid on it for 10 years, you have 20 years left until you are paid off. If you refinance in year 10, then you now have 30 years until you are paid off. So, an extra 10 years of paying. That is, of course, if you are re-financing with a 30 year loan.
We have refinanced three times and never reset the clock. Once we just got a 20 year loan, about 8 years into the original 30.

The other two times we just refinanced with the same lender and got a lower rate and amortization schedule.

I feel very old now.
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Old 10-02-2019, 05:36 PM
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Lots of different numbers. It's like my number immediately went into a shared database. I hope it's a 'potential customer' and not 'potential sucker' database.
Lending Tree makes money by selling leads to different lenders. So yeah, as soon as you enter you info, it's out there.

You'll probably get this to happen again as soon as you actually fill out an application and have your credit pulled. The credit bureaus sell you as a lead as well.
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Old 10-02-2019, 05:53 PM
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I had bought my current house in 2008, financed through Wells Fargo for 15 years at (IIRC) 5.25%, Shortly after closing I started adding $100/month to my required payment, then later increased that to $125. In 2012 I responded to a letter from Wells Fargo offering to refinance the balance at 3.75%, with a fifteen year term (effectively restarting the clock. There were no closing costs or fees involved, just a straight change in interest rate and length of mortgage. I jumped on this, and as soon as the new terms went into effect I increased my new monthly to the amount I had been paying before the refi. The mortgage was completely paid off in 2016. I think that worked out pretty well.
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Old 10-02-2019, 05:58 PM
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Yes, we have refinanced our current house and other abodes. The paperwork is a gigantic PITA, and I told Mr VOW no matter how low the interest rate goes, he is to shoot me if I ever suggest refinancing again.


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Old 10-02-2019, 06:44 PM
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We refinanced our house. We were a few years into a 30 year mortgage and refinanced it to a 15 year mortgage with a lower interest rate (interest rates had dropped significantly during those few years we had the first mortgage). We ended up paying the loan off in just over 10 years.

It worked out well for us, and while there was a big pile of paperwork that needed to be signed, it was relatively painless. I definitely would not call it a PITA for us. It wasn't bad at all.
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Old 10-03-2019, 06:26 AM
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We did it several years ago when rates changed. We went from a 30 year to a 15 with not much increase in the monthly payment.

If I hadn't done that then, I'd still be paying a mortgage payment today.

Very smart move if the numbers work for you.
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Old 10-03-2019, 07:42 AM
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I've done it multiple times. What we did was to re-finance, lower the monthly payments, but continue to pay the same amount as under the old rate (actually we rounded up so it is a tiny bit higher). Thus it didn't affect our budget, and we are paying it off as fast as if we hadn't re-financed and at a lower rate. I'd like to own the house free and clear before I retire.

As mentioned, the paperwork is a pain. Another thing is to resist borrowing more than you need for the house. The balance is $X, we are borrowing $X, we aren't going to borrow more just because we can.

Regards,
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Old 10-03-2019, 07:59 AM
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My mortgage was with GMAC. I called them up one day, and a half hour later, it was all done but the paperwork. They sent a guy out to our house a week later with all the docs to be signed. About as painless as could be, although I assume I could have shaved as much as a point off the new rate if I shopped around. But it was easy.
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Old 10-03-2019, 08:58 AM
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I had one of those ARM mortgages from before the bubble burst (2005) with the adjustable rate kicking in in 10 years. So 5 years into it, when my money was all stable, I decided to refinance. I asked around for recommendations for a good mortgage bank and several people recommended a great local bank (Third Federal in the Cleveland area) and I set my sights on using them.

To qualify for the refinance I had to have 20% equity in my home (I didn't) and good credit (I did). I scrounged up money from savings and from my parents to reach that number and was able to get the loan I wanted. It was another 30 years, so my mortgage will be 35 years total. But I pay an extra $100/mo towards it so it'll knock 6 years off or something.

With all the bullshit that had happened in 2008, and just the junkiness of mortgage companies in general at that time (my original loan was sold 3 times), I didn't want to just choose whoever was selling lowest. I was glad to get a good deal from a trusted bank.
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Old 10-03-2019, 10:28 AM
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My mortgage was with GMAC. I called them up one day, and a half hour later, it was all done but the paperwork. They sent a guy out to our house a week later with all the docs to be signed. About as painless as could be, although I assume I could have shaved as much as a point off the new rate if I shopped around. But it was easy.
It's definitely getting easier and easier. Docs can be signed electronically. They have records of your previous appraisal so you don't have to get a new one. Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae have new services to verify your income and assets without ever providing a paystub or bank statement.
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Old 10-04-2019, 10:14 AM
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Has anyone used Quicken Loans to refinance?
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Old 10-04-2019, 12:33 PM
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We've refinanced a ton of mortgages over the years. It's pretty easy, but time consuming. Be prepared to provide documentation, such as your last 2 pay stubs, last 2 year tax returns, W-2s, etc. If they offer e-signatures, do it.
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Old 10-04-2019, 01:33 PM
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The things you need to compare are the re-financing closing costs against dollars saved in total interest paid at the new interest rate AT THE SAME LOAN LENGTH.
It's important to compare the savings at the same loan term even if you are refinancing to a shorter term. While going from 25 years left on a 30 year term at 3.5% to a 15 year at 3.5% will save you total interest paid in the long run, you don't need to refinance to get those savings. You simply calculate what the new payment would be at the 15 year term and send in that amount each month. You then save yourself the refinancing/closing cost of a new loan.
Even if you can get a better rate it may or may not be worth refinancing.
If you have $125K left on your loan and they are offering you a 1/2% lower rate than what you have, while you may save $4K in interest closing costs might be $3,500. Is it worth the hassle for $500?
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Old 10-04-2019, 06:01 PM
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About re-financing: yes, I have done it three times on my one house purchase, twice with the original lender and once to get away from that lender (Wells Fargo, surprise!).

When we bought the house in 2004 we could get away with 5% down and a 2nd mortgage for the other 15%, but as a result we were very house poor. Home values in SF went up so fast that in two years we were able to re-fi and consolidate everything into a single mortgage. It re-set the clock but I didn't care since we were only in it 2 years. The next time was initiated by Wells Fargo a few years later, when they were getting in trouble, in California and elsewhere, for all their shenanigans (I'm not aware of any shenanigans they had pulled in our case). They spontaneously offered to lower the interest rate by two points and it wouldn't re-set the clock. I took it.

The last time was maybe 4 years ago. We went with Rocket Mortgage, and they were very easy to work with. Yes, it re-set the clock but I don't really care because there will still be plenty of equity in the house when I die and in the meantime I have money to spend.

Regarding Wells Fargo: This thread has caused me to try to remember how we came to use them. For one thing, I don't think their reputation was so bad in 2004. But other than that, I don't remember. I hadn't used them as a bank before that, but one of the benefits of having the mortgage meant fee-free checking which I thought was nice. I'm wonder whether (unlike some others in this thread) it wasn't my agent who steered me that way. Is that likely? Might she have gotten a kickback? She didn't seem that type of person to me, but I've been wrong about people before.
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Old 10-04-2019, 08:06 PM
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Regarding Wells Fargo: When I was buying my house the agent referred me to a financing agent, and I had opted for the 15-year mortgage because I could afford the slightly higher monthly payment and I wanted to get the mortgage paid off as quickly as possible. I never had any problem with them, including making arrangements after closing to waive the escrow requirement and getting a prompt refund of the amount I had been required to put into it at the closing. At some point I even got a Wells Fargo credit card because they had a cash-back program where the money earned was applied directly to my mortgage balance. When the reports later came out about their questionable practices I was surprised, as I'd always thought highly of them. I guess I got lucky.
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Old 10-04-2019, 10:02 PM
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We refinanced our old condo 2 years into a 30-year loan; changes in rates meant that we could pay it off in 15 years instead of another 28 by kicking in an extra $100-some a month, and that we'd break even in terms of the cost of refinancing within a year. We sold the condo and bought a house about 5 years later, and it meant we had a good chunk of equity in the condo. Totally worth it, and it also convinced us that we should only buy as much house as we could pay off in 15 years so we don't have a mortgage when we retire.

There are probably scenarios where we would end up with more money in the long run by putting more into our 401(k)s instead of paying off the house more quickly, but they all involve more risk.
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Old 10-04-2019, 11:57 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Roderick Femm View Post
About re-financing: yes, I have done it three times on my one house purchase, twice with the original lender and once to get away from that lender (Wells Fargo, surprise!).
Good luck. I managed to get away from Wells Fargo after a refinance, only to have the new company later sell my mortgage to... Wells Fargo.
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Old 10-05-2019, 06:12 PM
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I refinanced about 6 years ago with Chase. A total clusterfuck. I hate Chase like many hate Wells Fargo.
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Old 10-05-2019, 08:00 PM
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Fuck Wells Fargo. I refinanced after paying them on time every time for 10+ years. They demanded everything but a proctology exam.
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Old 10-05-2019, 08:19 PM
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We refinanced several times. The first time we did it was a month after we bought the house, and all the original paperwork was still good. We broke even on that refinance with our first new payment. The others took longer to break even.

As others have pointed out, you do need to take into account that by default, you will reset the clock. So you can't just compare the payments to see if you are doing better.

We weren't able to negotiate a non-standard loan length (30 years and 15 years are the common standards) but we worked out what the payment would have been if it were a 13.5 year loan (or whatever time we had left) and just paid that much each month. As our mortgage, like most, had no pre-payment penalty, that meant that we effectively DID keep the same end dates. If you aren't comfortable doing amortization calculations, you could just keep making the same payment as before, and pay off your loan sooner.
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Old 10-07-2019, 11:29 AM
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An ugly side effect of my refi has been the deluge of junk mail pretending to be from my new mortgageholder but is actually a variety of home warranty/insurance companies trying to scare me into purchasing additional insurance by telling me it's required when it's not. These parasites comb public records for newly recorded deeds and sell these sales leads to independent contractors. Today's was an MLM called Equis Financial; this is the 3rd solicitation they've sent me in a week; it's designed to look like a new PIN mailer from my bank.
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