Have you heard? Mortgage rates hit their lowest point of the year last week.
Wow, every time I think they can't go any lower and just have to start climbing soon, rates go down. Again. That probably has many of you wondering whether it's worth it to refinance your mortgage when it's probably already at an enviable rate by historical standards.
To help you answer this question, I came up with the Refinancing Rule of 5s.
Here it is:
Refinancing Rule of 5s:
The old rule of thumb was that you should refinance if you could get a rate that was 1 to 2 points lower than your current one. Well, the rules have changed, because rates in recent years have been at historical lows, so a half point drop makes up a larger percentage of your existing rate.
Many people refinance into the same type of loan they started with out of habit. That can be a money mistake. If you are several years into a 30-year mortgage, don't sign up for another one because the money you save with the lower interest rate you will lose by stretching out your payments over several more years. Solution? Say you have only 23 years left on your existing mortgage. Refinance into a 25-year loan so you are not adding more than five years or -- better yet -- refinance into a 20-year mortgage and pay it off even more aggressively.