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Thinking of Refinancing? No Shortage of Facts and Opinions

[Oct 28, 2009.]


Homeowners thinking about refinancing used to have one main source of refinance information: the bank or mortgage broker who was doing the deal.

Now, though, with the Internet, refinancing is almost a communal experience, with advice about how to get the best refinance interest rates and terms coming at home loan borrowers from 17 different directions at once.

There is such a thing as too much information, but there is also such a thing as using each source of information for what it's worth. Here areĀ four sources of refinance information that can help borrowers make an extremely informed decision about the best refinance rates and terms:

1. Online Rate Comparison Websites

Going to a large, data-intensive mortage website such as Rebuild.org or HSH.com is a great starting point for seeing what the best refinance rates are, as well as what any particular loan amount would cost as a monthly payment at a specific interest rate.

Online rate comparison websites are a superb starting point, but they don't tell the whole story of today's refinance environment. Interest rates and terms can vary widely depending on how much equity is in the house (if any), the borrower's debt-to-income ratio, and a number of other factors.

2. Trusted Mortgage Broker

The housing crisis of the past two years may make it seem like "trusted" and "mortgage broker" don't belong in the same sentence, but these tumultuous times are also proof that a trusted mortgage broker is worth his or her weight in gold.

Mortgage brokers know which lenders want to lend, what the exact refinance qualifications are, and how to use personal bank relationships to get difficult-to-close deals done.

3. Mortgage Bankers Association

The Mortgage Bankers Association is a solid source for what's actually happening now with purchase money mortgages and refinancing. On the MBA Web site, refinance applicants can learn about current mortgage rates, average points paid, and general trends in the mortgage marketplace.

A personal visit to the MBA Web site should be a part of any refinancing process.

4. The News Media

One very vocal source of mortgage information that has proven pretty suspect over time is the news media. Many news media outlets simply parrot the data findings of the Mortgage Bankers Association, and there has often been a good amount of hysterical panic thrown into mortgage stories.

It's best to view refinancing reports from most news media outlets with skepticism.


About Author:

Andrew Freiburghouse is a writer and businessman. He has worked as a magazine reporter, tax preparer, screenwriter, copywriter, and loan officer. He graduated from Santa Clara University in 1999 with a B.A. in English. Andrew was born and raised in the City of Los Angeles.

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