Loan Refinancing Explained

Loan refinancing is a way for consumers to change their debt obligations to better suit their financial goals. Common reasons include taking advantage of lower rates, consolidating debt, or getting cash out of their homes.


The refinance process typically requires a credit inquiry, which can negatively impact your score temporarily. You will also need to provide a variety of supporting documentation.

Lower Interest Rates

Refinancing allows you to replace your current loan with a new one that may have more favorable terms. This could include a lower interest rate, a shorter repayment timeline or the ability to borrow from more of your home equity.

Many consumers choose to refinance their loans because they see an opportunity to save money on their interest charges. This can be due to changes in their financial profile, the market or national monetary policy. However, when shopping around for a new loan, it’s important to understand all the fees and costs involved before making any final decisions. You should pay particular attention to the annual percentage rate (APR) of the loan, as this accounts for all fees, interest charges and mortgage insurance premiums.

For homeowners, this means taking the time to compare a variety of lenders and mortgage programs, including those offering zero down mortgages. It also means considering whether it makes sense to roll closing costs into the new loan or accept a higher rate in exchange for paying them upfront.

Refinancing to a shorter term can save you even more in interest charges because your loan will be paid off much faster. However, it’s important to make sure you’ll be able to stick to your budget if you refinance to a shorter term. Often, the extra monthly payments required by a shorter loan term can outweigh any savings gained from a reduced interest rate.

Consolidate Your Debt

Debt consolidation is an effective debt repayment strategy that rolls multiple debts into a single loan with better terms, such as a lower interest rate and a smaller monthly payment. This type of refinance typically uses a home equity product, but it can also use personal loans, credit card balance transfers and other types of mortgages.

You can use loan refinancing to consolidate your debt with a new mortgage or a home equity line of credit (HELOC). To do this, you’ll need enough home equity to pay off all of the existing debts that you’re trying to consolidate.

Once the refinance is complete, your lender will send checks to each of the creditors that you owe money to, paying them off in full. You’ll then make a single monthly payment on the newly consolidated loan.

One of the most common reasons people refinance is to take advantage of a lower interest rate, which can save them significant amounts of money. If this is your goal, then you should proceed with a refinance, but be sure to shop around for the best rates. You should also check for fees, such as closing costs and prepayment penalties, that may eat into your savings.

Refinancing to consolidate your debt can be a good option for many people, especially if you’re close to the end of your repayment timeline. However, if you’re refinancing to extend the length of your loan term, it will likely cost you more in interest charges than if you tackled the debts individually.

Get Cash Out of Your Home

A cash-out refinance allows you to access the equity you have built up in your home and use it for a variety of purposes. For example, if you are facing unexpected expenses like medical bills or college tuition, tapping into your home equity can help you pay those bills with a single, lower-cost loan payment.

The amount you can borrow depends on the overall value of your home and how much equity you have built up. Generally, lenders want to keep the loan-to-value ratio at 80 percent or less. You may also need to meet certain requirements, including proof of income and a home appraisal. You should do your research to find the best lender for you and compare rates before you begin the process of refinancing your mortgage.

One of the most common reasons people refinance their mortgage is to change the loan term. If you shorten your loan term, for example from 30 years to 20 or 15 years with a rate-and-term refinance, you could potentially save money on interest over the life of your mortgage but may have higher monthly payments.

While the benefits of loan refinancing can be significant, it’s important to weigh these benefits against the cost of the new loan and your long-term financial goals. Consider factors such as your current credit score, your projected retirement savings and the amount of time you plan to stay in your home before you make a decision about loan refinance.

Change Your Loan Terms

During the loan refinance process, your current loan is replaced with a new one that has different terms. For instance, if you have a personal loan with a long repayment timeline and you want to pay it off more quickly, you can refinance into a shorter term. However, keep in mind that extending your repayment period could lead to more interest charges.

Similarly, you can also refinance into a longer term to reduce your monthly payments, but this might not be an ideal option if you’re having trouble making your repayments on time. During the loan refinance process, you can also change your payment structure by consolidating your debt into a single monthly payment to a single lender.

Borrowers often refinance to change their repayment terms, but they may also do so to take advantage of lower interest rates, rework their credit profile or pay off debts in a lump sum. As the economy fluctuates, many people choose to refinance in order to take advantage of a lower interest rate environment, which can save them money in the long run.

To get started with the loan refinance process, start by prequalifying with lenders whose products you’re interested in. This usually involves a soft credit inquiry that won’t affect your score and allows you to see what your repayment terms might look like. After you’ve done this, compare the offers from different lenders and crunch the numbers to make sure your loan refinance will work for you.