Friday, February 8, 2008

Todays Million dollar question, "Should I refinance now?"

over the last four weeks... I cannot tell you how many times I have been asked, "Is now the time to refinance?" For that here is my advice:


“Should I lock my loan? Are the rates going up? Are the rates going down? What’s the market supposed to do in the next week?” These are questions that every experienced loan officer has been asked by his or her customers on various occasions. I’ll tell you one thing, if I had a hard and fast answer to any of these questions, I would be reading a book on my own private yacht in the Mediterranean Sea. And my butler would be asking me what I wanted for lunch.

Here’s the deal on locking in your loan. Typically a standard lock is for 30 days. This time frame gives all parties involved in the transaction adequate time to complete their responsibility in the loan process. If you are closing within 30 days, you should probably go ahead and lock your rate, provided you are comfortable with the terms quoted to you. What if the rate goes down .125%? I counter and ask what if the rate goes up .125%? Are you willing to risk it?

If you are happy with your payment, then I advise you to lock in the rate. Your mortgage lender will give you a picture of the general trend of interest rates, or you can research it for yourself. Find the loan payment amount you are aiming for and focus on this issue to lock your loan. I’ve seen it happen plenty of times: everyone speculates the rates are going down, but the next day you see a .25% increase. Of course the converse does happen at times, but I haven’t seen it happen as much!

I’ve had customers who have checked with me every day to see where the rates are and I’ve never seen this vigilance result in a significant rate improvement. Not to say it can’t happen, I’m just relaying the odds from personal experience that it won’t. But, if this course is what my customer is most happy taking, I’m just as happy to update them daily till they feel comfortable locking. But keep in mind it’s a gamble. If it was easy, there would be a lot of folks on the beach with their butlers. It is very difficult to predict short term movements in the market. Try it for a few days just for fun, and you’ll see what I mean.

When a loan is locked, your mortgage company has made a commitment to provide a product at that note rate to its secondary market source. If the rates go down, you still are expected to close at your locked rate. If the rates go up, you still expect to close at your locked rate. A lock represents a commitment from the customer and the lender. So, find your comfort zone and lock your rate. Spend your time worrying about what you’re going to do with all the money you saved on your refinance or how you are possibly going to get boxes packed in time to move in two weeks!

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