How Does Refinancing Your Mortgage Affect Your Credit Score?

Jun 13, 2023 | Mortgage Guides

Credit Impact Unveiled: How Refinancing Your Mortgage Affects Your Score

Refinancing is the process of taking out a new mortgage to pay off an existing one. It can be achieved for assorted reasons. Mortgage refinancing can be a great way to save money, get out of debt faster, or even tap into home equity. However, deciding whether it is appropriate before you refinance is crucial since it can affect your credit score.

This article will discuss the basics of refinancing, including what it is, how it works, and the potential benefits and risks. We will also provide tips on how to decide if refinancing is suitable.

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What Is Refinancing? 

Refinancing is taking out a new loan to pay off an existing one. When you refinance, you apply for a new mortgage. This can be done for various reasons, such as:

  • Lower interest rates: If interest rates have decreased since the original loan was taken out, you may get a lower interest rate. 
  • Get a shorter loan term: If you can afford higher payments, you may be able to shorten the term of your loan. 
  • Consolidate multiple loans: If you have multiple loans with different interest rates and terms, you might save money by consolidating them with a lower interest rate and longer term.

When you refinance, you trade the old loan for a new one. The new loan will have unique terms and conditions, including interest rate, loan term, and payment. Always compare the terms of different loans before proceeding.

What to Consider When Refinancing

  • Closing costs: You will likely pay closing costs. These costs can be thousands of dollars.
  • Credit score: Your credit score will be checked.
  • Credit utilization ratio: Refinancing can affect your credit utilization ratio, which is the debt compared to available credit.

What Is a Credit Score?

A credit score is a numerical representation of a person’s creditworthiness. It is based on various factors, including payment history, the amount owed, length of credit history, and credit mix. Credit scores range from 300 to 850, with higher scores indicating a lower risk of default. Lenders use credit scores to assess an individual’s eligibility for credit and the terms, such as interest rates and fees.

Here are some other items that can affect your credit score:

  • The number of open credit accounts you have
  • The types of credit you have
  • Your credit utilization ratio (the debt compared to available credit)
  • The length of credit history
  • All inquiries made on your credit report

It is vital to keep your credit score in good shape. You can do this by making timely payments, keeping your credit utilization low, and having a robust credit history. Also, check your credit report for inaccuracies. Request your free credit reports from the three major credit bureaus at AnnualCreditReport.com.

How Refinancing Affects Your Credit Score

All hard inquiries made on your credit report can temporarily lower your credit score. Other factors include the terms of the new loan and your credit history. 

Here are some additional tips:

  • If you plan to apply for a new loan, do so before refinancing. This will minimize the number of hard inquiries.
  • If you’re uncertain, talk to a financial advisor. 
  • Refinancing can also affect your credit score in other ways. For example, if you refinance with a co-signer, their credit score might also be impacted.
  • If you refinance a loan with a shorter term, you may have higher payments. 
  • If you refinance a loan with a higher interest rate, you will pay more interest over the loan’s life. 

Process of Refinancing

Refinancing replaces an existing loan. The new loan may have different terms, such as a lower interest rate, a longer repayment period, or both. Refinancing can be a good option if you can get a lower interest rate on your loan. It can also be great if you want to extend the length of your loan, which can lower the payments.

Steps Involved in Refinancing a Loan:

  1. Get pre-approved: This will give you an idea of how much you can borrow and your interest rate. You can get pre-approved by a lender online, by phone, or in person.
  2. Shop around for the best interest rate: Compare rates from different lenders online or by phone. Be sure to compare both the interest rate and the fees.
  3. Apply for the new loan: Once you have found a lender, you will apply for the loan. You will now inform the lender about your income, assets, and debts.
  4. Close: Once the loan is approved, you can close on it. That involves signing paperwork and transferring the title of your property to the new lender.

What to Consider When Refinancing Your Mortgage 

Refinancing is a complex process. To avoid common mortgage refinancing mistakes, it is essential to understand all of the options. If you have concerns, you should also talk to a financial advisor or mortgage lender.

Here are additional considerations:

  • The interest rate on your existing loan.
  • The length of your current loan.
  • The fees associated with refinancing.
  • Your financial situation.
  • Your goals for refinancing.

Pros and Cons of Refinancing

There are many potential benefits to refinancing your mortgage. For example, if interest rates have decreased since you took out your original mortgage, you might lower the payments. You may also get a shorter loan term. If you have built up home equity, you can also tap into equity with a cash-out refinance.

However, there are also some risks. For example, if interest rates have gone up since you took out your original mortgage, you may pay more in interest. You may also pay closing costs on the new loan, which can add to the upfront cost. And, if you refinance into a shorter loan term, the payments will be higher.

Alternatives to Refinancing

  • Make extra mortgage payments. This can help you pay off the loan faster and save money on interest.
  • Consider a home equity loan or line of credit. These loans allow you to borrow against equity, which can be used for debt consolidation, home repairs, or other expenses.
  • Sell your home and buy a new one. Selling is a good option if you want to move or if you can sell your home for more than you owe.
  • Talk to your lender about a loan modification. Programs are available to help you lower your mortgage.
  • Consider a deed in lieu of foreclosure. This is an agreement in which you return your home to the lender in exchange for debt forgiveness.
  • File for bankruptcy. This is a last-resort option, as it can stay on your credit report for up to 10 years.

Conclusion

To conclude, mortgage refinancing can be a great way to save money, get out of debt, or make home improvements. However, some research is needed to understand the risks beforehand. 

If you are uncertain whether refinancing is appropriate, talk to a mortgage lender, such as Wesley Mortgage. They have a team of loan officers who can offer you personalized advice on refinancing and a multitude of other homeownership resources. Call today or click the link below to get started!

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