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How Hard Is It to Refinance a Mortgage?

Mortgage and Lending with US Bank NMLS: 22343

How Hard Is It to Refinance a Mortgage?


On a weekend morning you wake up:

A)  Before 6AM.

B)  Before 8AM.

C)  Before 10AM.

D)  Yeah, yeah, I'm awake...


It's time to take out the trash when:

A)  Pickup is the following day.

B)  The level of trash is approaching the top of the trash can.

B)  The level of trash has crossed the plane of the top of the trash can.

C)  Expert levels of jenga skill are required to balance your trash on the top of the steaming heap.


If you answered "D" to either of the above, and you have a mortgage in California, this blog post is dedicated to you.  You may be sitting on a pile of savings but are also concerned that refinancing your home loan may be too difficult or expensive, require tons of paperwork and inconvenience and may even end up in failure.  So let's get serious about how to refinance your home here in 2020, even when the COVID-19 pandemic shows little signs of disappearing like a miracle.


What's Involved?

If your only experience with the home finance process was getting a loan when you bought your home, you should find that the refinance process is far less stressful.  This is because you don't have the ominous deadline requirements imposed by a purchase contract.  Time's still of the essence --- your rate lock is only valid for a specific period of time, but unlike with a purchase, if you run late, your earnest money deposit is not a risk.  I'll generally ask a refinance prospect to send me a copy of a current mortgage statement and with that, I'll do a complete analysis to determine if it even makes sense to refi.  This work up is free and has zero obligation.  If it makes sense to proceed, we'll have a client fill out a digital mortgage application (if that is convenient) and then we'll request the usual suspects as far as documentation is concerned; paystubs, bank statements and tax returns.  Often, the list is very manageable because we strive to reduce paperwork and variables at every turn.  We may even learn at this stage that the transaction does not require an appraisal.


What Does It Cost?

A typical refinance for a loan size ranging from $250,000 to $1,250,000 will usually cost between $3000 and $5000.  Sure there are ways to make these costs significantly higher or lower, but when you factor in the fundamentals; lender fees, title/escrow fees, prepaid interest, insurance, appraisal, etc., this is a reliable range for a "no point" refinance.  If an appraisal is required, it's usually the only fee paid "up front."  Most refinances will "roll" the closing costs into the new loan balance as well, and this prevents the borrower from having to write a check at close of escrow.  One can also choose to do a "no cost refinance" but the best fit for any client is always a math equation of financial objectives and available savings.  We are happy to help with this discussion.


How Do I Start?

Kicking off a conversation about a refinance involves no cost or obligation.  If you think you may have an opportunity to lower your rate, lower your payment, lower your interest payments over time, get cash out of your home or consolidate higher interest rate debt, get in touch.  It can't hurt to learn about the options, but it can often help to act on them. Especially in the current, and historic low, interest rate environment. 


You snooze you lose,


Rob Spinosa
Vice President of Mortgage Lending

Guaranteed Rate
NMLS: 22343 
Cell/Text: 415-367-5959 


Marin Office:  324 Sir Francis Drake Blvd., San Anselmo, CA  94960

Berkeley Office:  1400 Shattuck Ave., Suite 1, Berkeley, CA  94709

*The views and opinions expressed on this site about work-related matters are my own, have not been reviewed or approved by Guaranteed Rate and do not necessarily represent the views and opinions of Guaranteed Rate.  In no way do I commit Guaranteed Rate to any position on any matter or issue without the express prior written consent of Guaranteed Rate's Human Resources Department.


Guaranteed Rate. Illinois Residential Mortgage Licensee NMLS License #2611 3940 N. Ravenswood Chicago, IL 60613 - (866) 934-7283

George Souto
George Souto NMLS #65149 FHA, CHFA, VA Mortgages - Middletown, CT
Your Connecticut Mortgage Expert

Rob COVID-19 still presents some challenges, but also has created refinancing opportunities since rates have declined again.  Anyone with interest rates around 4% should seriously be considering refinancing.

May 13, 2020 12:04 PM
Kathy Streib
Cypress, TX
Home Stager/Redesign

Hi Rob- you've laid it out well for anyone who is not sure they know what to do to refinance. The most important thing to do is work with a professional such as yourself. 

May 13, 2020 12:47 PM
Gene Mundt, IL/WI Mortgage Originator - FHA/VA/Conv/Jumbo/Portfolio/Refi
NMLS #216987, IL Lic. 031.0006220, WI Licensed. APMC NMLS #175656 - New Lenox, IL
708.921.6331 - 40+ yrs experience

Refinancing, as with any mortgage option, starts with asking questions ... you're so right about that, Rob Spinosa.  You don't ask (you snooze) ... you can lose, no doubt about it.  I'm finding with so many presently staying at home to work, they are increasingly finding the time to ask those questions.  Nothing much to find positive about COVID-19, but that is ...


May 15, 2020 10:04 AM