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Refinancing Your Mortgage? Shop Around and Ask Questions

by Gabriel  Traverso
Mortgage Directory Columnist

You do yourself an incredible disservice if you don't compare loans and rates when refinancing your mortgage. Don't take the first home loan you're offered and don't work with the first lender you speak with. Mortgage rates differ and closing costs can sometimes be negotiated. Knowing what questions to ask will help you during this process.

Home Loan Questions

Asking questions will help you get the best possible deal on your home loan. But what are the right questions? Here's a start:
  • What kind of loan is it? Is it an ARM? An interest-only loan? Have the lender explain in detail how the loan works. Mortgage rates vary widely with different loan programs
  • How long is the term of the home loan?
  • What is the interest rate? What is the annual percentage rate (APR)? Can the rate change?
  • What are the points? Make sure to get a dollar amount, not just the number of points. Points are usually connected to mortgage rates. If you pay more points you can get a lower rate.
  • Will private mortgage insurance be required (PMI)? For how long? Hint: if you have more than 20% equity in your home you shouldn't have to pay PMI.
  • What are the fees? Some fees you'll have to pay, like the escrow or title fee, but others are negotiable. Get a listing of all the fees and find out where the lender will work with you.
  • Will an appraisal be required?
  • What will the property taxes be?

Home Loan Organization

Before you leave the door or call the first lender get organized. In order to make the best comparison, ask each lender the same questions. When shopping for a home loan you are more likely to get a good deal if you are well prepared and well organized. Put together a worksheet so that you don't forget any questions and you should be able to find a loan that meets your needs.


About the Author
Gabriel Traverso is a freelance writer, independent musician, and artist. He resides in Reno, NV.

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