Lower your mortgage rate and payment

One of the most common reasons that homeowners refinance their mortgage is to lower their rate and payment*. If your current interest rate is higher than what is currently available in the market, it's a good idea to see how much you could potentially save by refinancing. There are no-cost and low-cost options that could save you money with little to no investment.

* Refinancing your existing loan may lead to higher total finance charges over the life of the loan. 

Reduce your term
Take advantage of low rates to reduce the term of your loan.  Shorter terms mean lower rates.

Convert your adjustable-rate mortgage into a fixed-rate mortgage
Adjustable-rate mortgage (ARM) loans are a great way to ease into your payments, especially if you are a first-time buyer or if you need lower payments initially. Eventually, if you decide you will stay in the home longer, you may want to consider refinancing into a long-term fixed-rate loan. Doing so will give you peace of mind, knowing that your rate and payment will not change for a set period of time.

Convert your interest-only loan into a fully-amortized loan
Like ARMs, interest-only mortgage loans are a great way to minimize payments at the beginning; however, because you are not paying any principal, your loan balance does not decrease. If you plan to keep your home long-term, you may want to start focusing on that pricinipal balance. Often, you can refinance your interest-only mortgage loan to a 30 year fixed mortgage loan while keeping your payments about the same.

Remove mortgage insurance
If you purchased a home with less than 20% down, chances are you're paying private mortgage insurance (PMI). Refinancing helps eliminate that extra expense if you've paid down your balance and/or have seen an increase in your home's value to a point where you have at least 20% equity in or a loan-to-value (LTV) of 80% or less.

Convert your 30-year loan to a shorter term loan
Sometimes plans change and the home that you thought you were going to have for a while turns from a permanent situation into a temporary one. If you are planning to sell sooner than you thought and no longer need a long-term rate, then you may consider converting your 30-year fixed to either an ARM or a 3/1, 5/1, or 7/1 loan program, which often have lower rates and payments

Take cash out to consolidate your debt
Leveraging your equity is one of the smartest ways you can make your money can work for you. Use the cash to pay off higher interest, non tax-deductible credit cards, student loans, or medical bills. By consolidating your debts, you can enjoy the benefit of having only one payment each month, and in most cases your overall monthly outflow decreases.

Take cash out for home improvements
What better way to use your hard-earned equity than to invest it back with repairs or home improvements? Whether you would like to fix your leaky roof or update your kitchen, you can tap into your equity and have a tax-deductible way to tackle your projects. Consult with your tax advisor today.

Take cash out to purchase an investment property
When home prices and interest rates are favorable, you may consider buying a vacation home or an investment property. Now may be a great time to take action on your home loan. Tap into your equity and use the cash for your down payment, home improvements, and more.