Refinancing Mistakes That Can Cost You Money

Mortgage rate right now are very low, but you can’t expect them to stay that way forever. When you bought a home within the last five to seven years and you have built up equity, you might be thinking about refinancing. Refinance may lower your payments and save you money on interest, but it may  not be the right move.

 These three mistakes could end up costing you in the long run.

Mistake #1: Skipping out on Closing Costs

When you are planning for refinancing your mortgage, you’re basically taking out a new loan to replace the original one. That means it requires you to pay closing costs to finalize the paperwork. Closing costs run between 2% and 5% of the loan’s value. When you get $200,000 loan, you’d be looking at anywhere from $4,000 to $10,000.

Homeowners have may have the option of a no-closing cost mortgage but there is a catch. Private mortgages in Ontario and  private mortgage brokers do to cover up for the money they’re losing up front, the lender may charge you a slightly higher interest rate. Over the life of the loan, that can end up making your refinance much more expensive.

An example to show how the cost breaks down. Best  example is you’ve got a choice between a $200,000 loan at a rate of 4% with closing costs of $6,000 or the same loan amount with no closing costs at a rate of 4.5%. That may not look  like there is a huge difference but over a 30-year term, going with the second option can have you paying thousands of dollars more in interest.

Mistake #2: Lengthening the Loan Term

If one of your refinancing goals is to achieve a lower your payments, stretching out the loan term can lighten your financial burden each month. But the problem is that you’re going to end up paying substantially more in interest over the life of the loan.

When you take out a $200,000 loan at a rate of 4.5%, your payments could come to just over $1,000. In the span five years, you’d have paid more than $43,000 in interest and knocked almost $20,000 off the principal. Bringing together, the loan would cost you over $164,000 in interest.

If you refinance the remaining $182,000 for another 30 year term at 4%, your payments would drop about $245 a month, but you’d end up paying more interest. If you compare to your original loan terms, you’d save less than $2,000 when it’s all said and done.

Mistake #3: Refinancing With Less Than 20% Equity

Refinancing can increase your mortgage costs especially if you haven’t built up sufficient equity in your home. In general, when you have less than 20% equity value the lender will require you to pay private mortgage insurance premiums. This insurance is a protection for the lender against the possibility of default.  Even if you a bad credit, refinancing in Canada is also possible as long as you have your equity that you may use for refinance with bad credit.

For a traditional mortgage, you can expect to pay a PMI premium between 0.3% and 1.5% of the loan amount. The rates are tacked directly on to your payment. Even if you’re able to lock in a low interest rate, having that extra cost added into the payment is going to eat away at any savings you’re seeing.

The Bottom Line

Refinancing is not something you want to jump into without running all the numbers. It’s tempting to focus on just the interest rate, but while doing so, you could overlook some of the less obvious costs.

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