What Happens When You Refinance a House?

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Refinancing a house is a significant financial decision that many homeowners consider at some point. Refinancing a mortgage can lower monthly payments, shorten the loan term, or provide access to cash. However, the refinancing process can be complex, and it’s essential to understand what happens when you refinance your house.


Refinancing a house is the process of replacing an existing mortgage with a new one. This new loan pays off the original mortgage and creates a new loan agreement with different terms. Homeowners may choose to refinance for various reasons, such as lowering monthly payments or interest rates, shortening the loan term, or accessing cash.

Reasons to Refinance a House

There are several reasons why homeowners may choose to refinance their homes. Here are the most common reasons:

Lower Interest Rates

One of the most common reasons to refinance a house is to take advantage of lower interest rates. When interest rates drop, homeowners may be able to refinance their mortgage at a lower rate, which can result in significant savings over time. By refinancing to a lower interest rate, homeowners can reduce their monthly payments and save money on interest charges over the life of the loan.

Lower Monthly Payments

Another reason to refinance a house is to lower monthly payments. By refinancing to a longer loan term or a lower interest rate, homeowners can reduce their monthly mortgage payments. This can be helpful for homeowners who are struggling to make ends meet or want to free up cash for other expenses.

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The Refinancing Process

Refinancing a house involves several steps that homeowners must follow to complete the process successfully. Here are the typical steps involved in refinancing a mortgage:

Preparing to Refinance

Before refinancing a house, homeowners should review their current mortgage terms and financial situation. They should consider their credit score, debt-to-income ratio, and other factors that could impact their ability to refinance. Homeowners should also research current interest rates and compare them to their current rate to determine if refinancing is the right choice.

Finding a Lender

Once homeowners are ready to refinance, they should shop around to find a lender that offers the best terms and interest rates. Homeowners can work with their current lender or explore other options, such as online lenders or mortgage brokers.

Submitting an Application

After choosing a lender, homeowners must submit a refinancing application. This application includes information about the homeowner’s income, assets, and debts, as well as details about the property being refinanced. The lender will use this information to determine if the homeowner qualifies for refinancing.

Appraisal and Underwriting

After receiving the application, the lender will order an appraisal to determine the value of the property. The lender will also review the homeowner’s credit history, income, and other financial information to determine if they are eligible for refinancing.

Closing on the New Loan

If the lender approves the refinancing application, the homeowner will receive a new loan agreement with updated terms and interest rates. The homeowner must sign this agreement and pay any closing costs associated with the new loan. Once the loan is closed, the old mortgage is paid off, and the new mortgage takes its place.

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Benefits of Refinancing a House

Refinancing a house can provide several benefits for homeowners, including:

Lower Monthly Payments

Refinancing to a lower interest rate or longer loan term can result in lower monthly mortgage payments. This can be helpful for homeowners who want to reduce their monthly expenses or free up cash for other expenses.

Pay Off Mortgage Faster

Refinancing to a shorter loan term can help homeowners pay off their mortgage faster. This can result in significant savings on interest charges over the life of the loan.

Reduce Interest Rates

Refinancing to a lower interest rate can save homeowners money on interest charges over the life of the loan. This can result in thousands of dollars in savings over time.

Access to Cash

Cash-out refinancing allows homeowners to access the equity in their home to pay for expenses such as home renovations, college tuition, or debt consolidation.

Costs of Refinancing a House

While refinancing a house can provide significant benefits, it’s essential to understand the costs involved. Here are the most common costs associated with refinancing a mortgage:

Closing Costs

Closing costs are fees charged by the lender during the refinancing process. These fees can include an application fee, appraisal fee, title search, and attorney fees. Closing costs can vary depending on the lender and the location of the property. Homeowners should expect to pay between 2% to 5% of the loan amount in closing costs.

Application Fees

Some lenders charge an application fee when homeowners apply to refinance their mortgage. This fee can range from a few hundred dollars to several thousand dollars. Homeowners should ask their lender about any application fees before applying to refinance.

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Prepayment Penalties

Some mortgages come with prepayment penalties, which are fees charged if the homeowner pays off the mortgage early. If a homeowner refinances a mortgage with a prepayment penalty, they will need to pay this fee before closing on the new loan.

Private Mortgage Insurance (PMI)

If a homeowner has less than 20% equity in their home, they may be required to pay Private Mortgage Insurance (PMI). PMI is an insurance policy that protects the lender if the homeowner defaults on the loan. If a homeowner is refinancing to remove PMI, they will need to have at least 20% equity in their home.


Refinancing a house can be a smart financial decision, but it’s important to consider the costs and benefits carefully. Homeowners should weigh the potential savings against the costs involved in refinancing. Factors to consider include the current interest rate, the loan term, and the costs associated with refinancing. By understanding what happens when you refinance a house, homeowners can make an informed decision about whether refinancing is the right choice for their financial situation.

At UCPCCU, we provide up-to-date information about mortgage refinancing and other financial topics to help our readers make informed decisions. Visit our website to learn more about refinancing a house and other financial topics.

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