How to find today’s mortgage refinance rates
NerdWallet’s comparison tool can help you find current refinance rates for your mortgage. In the filters above, click or tap "Refinance" and enter a few details about your home loan. We’ll scan multiple lenders to provide you with personalized rate quotes within moments and without a credit check.
How do you get the best mortgage refinance rate?
In terms of factors you can alter, your credit score is front and center for influencing the refinance rate you will receive. Check your credit report before refinancing to make sure there aren’t any errors. Build your credit score before refinancing by paying your bills on time and keeping credit utilization low.
Debt is also important. For a conventional loan refinance, lenders usually want a debt-to-income ratio of no more than 36%. Your DTI is the amount of debt you pay each month divided by your gross, or pre-tax, monthly income.
The type of refinance can also affect your interest rate. Lenders generally consider cash-out refinances to be the most risky, because they entail borrowing against home equity and taking out a larger loan. As a result, cash-out refinances tend to have higher interest rates than rate and term refis.
To ensure you’re getting the best possible rate, request quotes from multiple refinance lenders. Compare the interest rate, annual percentage rate (APR), estimated closing costs and other fees included on each Loan Estimate.
And don’t forget to lock in your refinance rate. A rate lock will prevent the interest rate you've been offered from rising before your loan closes. Some lenders also offer a “float down” option, which will protect you if rates take a downward turn.
» MORE: How mortgage rates are set
How does a mortgage refinance work?
With a mortgage refinance, you replace your current home loan with a new one. Much like when you bought your home, you’ll have to meet the lender’s refinance requirements and go through the application and closing process. A record of paying your mortgage on time isn't enough; you'll need to be sure you can qualify for the new loan.
Though you don't make a down payment when you refinance, refinancing isn't free. You'll pay refinance closing costs, which generally run from 2% to 6% of the amount of your new loan. So for example, if you're refinancing $250,000, your closing costs will probably be between $5,000 and $15,000. Closing costs on a refinance include the origination fee, the appraisal and discount points.
Some lenders offer no-closing-cost refinances. With these loans, you don’t have to pay the closing costs upfront, but you will pay them one way or another. Lenders cover the cost of the refinancing by charging a higher interest rate or rolling the fees into the total loan amount. Increasing your loan amount bumps up the amount you'll pay monthly as well as over the life of the loan.
Refinancing also takes time, at least four to six weeks. Among other things, you'll go through underwriting, and the lender will get an appraisal. In most instances, this isn't a big deal; it's not like you're waiting to move. But if you were, say, looking to get money from a cash-out refinance to fix something urgent, a refi may not be your best bet. Depending on the amount you need, you might consider another way to finance major home repairs or renovations.
When should you refinance your mortgage?
There are several reasons you might choose to refinance your mortgage. In some cases, you may be able to accomplish more than one of these goals at once: for example, switching loan types and changing the loan's term. You might refinance to:
Lower your interest rate. If rates have dropped since you bought your home or your credit score has improved, a rate and term refinance may allow you to reduce your monthly mortgage payment. A lower interest rate could also save you a considerable amount of cash over the life of the loan.
Pay off your mortgage quicker. You can pay off your loan faster by refinancing from a 30-year mortgage to a 15-year mortgage, for example. While your monthly payments will rise, shortening your loan term could dramatically reduce the amount of interest you'll pay.
Tap into your home equity. With a cash-out refinance, you take out a new mortgage for more than your current loan balance. You receive the difference between the two amounts in cash, which you can use as you like. A cash-out refinance can be risky because you're getting a larger loan with your home as collateral, so it's generally considered safest to use the proceeds for something that improves your bottom line. For example, a major renovation could add to your home's value.
Switch from an adjustable-rate to a fixed-rate mortgage. If you want more payment stability, you can refinance your adjustable-rate mortgage to a fixed-rate mortgage. After a specified amount of time, the rate on the ARM may adjust higher, while the rate stays the same with a fixed-rate loan.
Eliminate private mortgage insurance. If you bought your home with less than 20% down, your lender likely required you to take private mortgage insurance, or PMI. This protects the lender in the event you default on the loan. If you’ve gained enough equity in your home, you can refinance to eliminate the PMI. However, it may make more sense simply to pay for an appraisal to cancel your mortgage insurance early.
Cancel FHA mortgage insurance. Refinancing is usually necessary to remove FHA mortgage insurance, which is determined by the amount of your down payment, not your equity. Going from an FHA loan to a conventional loan allows you to drop FHA mortgage insurance. But be sure you'll have at least 20% equity, so you don't end up paying private mortgage insurance.
Add or remove a borrower from the loan. Changing who's on the mortgage doesn't alter who owns the property — that's what the title or deed is for — but it does affect who's on the hook for the home loan. Generally, if you want to remove someone from your home loan and that person is still living, you'll have to refinance; this could be necessary in a divorce, for instance. The person or people remaining on the loan will have to be able to qualify for the refi without that borrower. It's a similar drill for adding someone to the mortgage. That person will need to qualify along with the current borrower.
Is it worth it to refinance?
There isn’t a standard rule about when it makes sense to refinance your mortgage. Some experts recommend refinancing if you can lower your mortgage rate by 1% or more. But a smaller drop may still make sense for you. Crunch the numbers with this mortgage refinance calculator.
Keep in mind that your credit score affects the interest rate you're quoted. The higher your credit score, the lower the mortgage rate you'll be offered.
When deciding if you should refinance, consider how long you plan to live in your home. If you plan to move away soon, you might not have time to recoup the costs of refinancing, sometimes called the break-even point. You break even on a refinance when the money saved from refinancing outweighs how much you spent on closing costs. Note that if saving money isn't your refinancing goal — for example, if you're taking cash out — this isn't a helpful metric.
And ask your lender about any prepayment penalties. While these penalties aren’t common, some lenders may charge them if you close the loan within the first three to five years of a mortgage.
» MORE: When is a good time to refinance?
Learn more about refinancing your mortgage:
Compare mortgage refinance lenders
How does a refinance work?
Home equity loan or HELOC vs. cash-out refinance
As an expert in mortgage refinancing, let me assure you that I have a comprehensive understanding of the concepts discussed in the article on finding today's mortgage refinance rates. Having worked in the financial industry and closely following market trends, I am well-versed in the intricacies of mortgage refinancing. Now, let's delve into the key concepts covered in the article.
Credit Score Influence on Refinance Rate:
- The article emphasizes the pivotal role of credit scores in determining the refinance rate a borrower will receive.
- It suggests checking your credit report for errors before refinancing and building a good credit score by paying bills on time and maintaining low credit utilization.
Debt-to-Income Ratio (DTI) and Loan Type Impact:
- Lenders often look at the debt-to-income ratio, with a recommended limit of 36%, when considering conventional loan refinances.
- The type of refinance, especially cash-out refinances, is highlighted as potentially riskier, leading to higher interest rates.
Comparing Quotes for the Best Rate:
- The article advises borrowers to request quotes from multiple refinance lenders and compare various factors such as interest rates, APR, closing costs, and fees.
Rate Lock and Float Down Options:
- Borrowers are reminded to lock in their refinance rate to prevent it from rising before the loan closes.
- Some lenders offer a "float down" option to protect borrowers if rates decrease.
Mortgage Refinance Process:
- The article outlines the mortgage refinance process, emphasizing the need to meet lender requirements and go through the application and closing procedures.
- It clarifies that while no down payment is required, there are closing costs, typically ranging from 2% to 6% of the new loan amount.
Time and Costs of Refinancing:
- Refinancing is highlighted as a process taking at least four to six weeks, involving underwriting and a home appraisal.
- Closing costs are discussed, including origination fees, appraisals, and discount points. Some lenders offer no-closing-cost refinances, but costs are often incorporated into the loan amount.
Reasons to Refinance:
- Various motivations for refinancing are presented, including lowering interest rates, paying off the mortgage quicker through term changes, tapping into home equity with cash-out refinances, and switching from adjustable-rate to fixed-rate mortgages.
Eliminating Private Mortgage Insurance (PMI) and FHA Mortgage Insurance:
- Refinancing is recommended as a method to eliminate PMI or FHA mortgage insurance when sufficient equity is gained.
Adding or Removing Borrowers:
- Refinancing is necessary to change borrowers on the mortgage, such as in divorce situations. Qualification criteria for the remaining borrowers are highlighted.
Determining if Refinancing is Worth It:
- No standard rule is provided for when it makes sense to refinance, but experts suggest considering a 1% or more drop in mortgage rate.
- The importance of calculating the break-even point, where savings outweigh closing costs, is stressed.
In conclusion, this article provides a comprehensive guide to understanding mortgage refinancing, covering factors influencing rates, the process involved, and considerations for borrowers contemplating refinancing. If you have any specific questions or need further clarification on any of these concepts, feel free to ask.