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For most homebuyers, a mortgage is a 30-year commitment. If your financial situation or goals change at some point during those 30 years, it might be helpful to reduce your payment without changing anything else about your loan.
Mortgage recasting is one way to do that. If you’ve benefited from a recent windfall, such as a work bonus or inheritance, you can use that extra cash to make a lump-sum payment that reduces your mortgage balance and monthly payments.
Here’s what you need to know about about mortgage recasting:
- What is a mortgage recast?
- How mortgage recasting works
- Qualifying for a mortgage recast
- Pros and cons of recasting your mortgage
- Is a mortgage recast right for you?
What is a mortgage recast?
A mortgage recast, or loan recast, is when you make a large, lump-sum payment toward your mortgage principal. Upon making the payment, your lender will reamortize your mortgage — that is, recalculate your monthly principal and interest payments based on the new, lower principal balance.
Tip: Nothing changes with a mortgage recast except the payment amount — you’ll get a new amortization schedule, but your interest rate and the number of years remaining on your loan will stay the same.
Some lenders require a minimum lump-sum payment amount before they’ll recast a loan. The minimum varies by lender, but expect to pay at least $5,000. Most lenders also charge a small service fee, such as $250.
Recast vs. refinance
Mortgage recasting differs from refinancing. Here’s a breakdown:
- A mortgage recast is a good choice if you’re satisfied with your current loan term and interest rate, and your financial goals are best met by investing your cash in your home in exchange for a lower payment.
- A mortgage refinance, on the other hand, is an entirely new mortgage that replaces your current home loan — you use the funds from the new loan to repay the old one. Most homeowners will refinance to a lower rate to save on interest costs over the life of their loan.
While both recasting and refinancing can lower your monthly payment, you might be better off refinancing if mortgage rates are low. Since a loan recast doesn’t change your interest rate, you could end up saving more in the long run by choosing to refinance instead.
Keep in mind, refinancing a mortgage can cost between 2% to 5% of the loan amount so be sure to crunch the numbers to find your biggest savings payoff.
Credible can help you easily find the latest mortgage refinance rates. With Credible, you can compare multiple rates from our partner lenders in just a few minutes — checking rates is free, secure, and won’t affect your credit score.
Recast vs. loan modification
A loan recast and loan modification both reduce your monthly payments, but under different conditions:
- Loan recast: A recast simply recalculates your monthly payments based on the lump sum that you applied to the principal balance; your loan terms don’t change.
- Loan modification: A modification changes your loan terms. Your lender may extend the loan term, reduce the interest rate, and/or reduce the principal balance.
Important: Depending on the type of modification and the circumstances, modifying a mortgage can damage your credit, come with significant tax liability, and lead to you paying more in interest over the long term.
How mortgage recasting works
To see how a mortgage recasting works, let’s run through a quick example.
Say you have 15 years and $100,000 left on a mortgage loan. With a 4% fixed interest rate, the monthly payment would be approximately $740 (not including taxes and fees).
If you were to make a $10,000 lump-sum payment, the principal balance would drop to $90,000. Recasting the loan so that the remaining 15 years’ worth of payments only need to repay $90,000 would reduce your payments to $665.
That doesn’t seem like much, but $75 per month for 180 months is $13,500 you’ll have freed up by the time your loan is paid off. That’s a 26% return on a $10,000 investment that carried minimal risk.
Qualifying for a mortgage recast
Not all lenders recast loans, but larger ones, such as Quicken Loans and Chase, often do.
To qualify for a mortgage recast, you’ll need to:
- Have a conventional loan (VA, USDA, and FHA loans can’t be recast)
- Make a lump-sum payment that meets your lender’s requirements
- Have loans in good standing
- Make at least two payments in a row at your current payment amount
Pros and cons of recasting your mortgage
Lowering your monthly mortgage payment is the main reason to consider a loan recast. But there are also downsides to be aware of.
- Lower payments: Once you’ve recast your mortgage, you’ll have the same number of payments left on your loan but a smaller balance to repay, so your monthly payment will be lower.
- Save on interest: Mortgage recasting reduces the amount of interest you pay over the remainder of your loan because you’ll be paying it on a smaller principal. A longer remaining loan term will result in greater interest savings because a larger portion of your mortgage payment goes toward interest in the early years of your loan.
- Loan term stays the same: Recasting won’t add years to your loan, nor will it prevent you from paying the loan off early.
- Low cost: You’ll pay a modest fee to recast your loan, but it’ll be much lower than the cost of refinancing your mortgage.
- No credit check or appraisal needed: Because you’re not changing your interest rate or loan term, the lender doesn’t need to check your credit or review an appraisal of your home.
- Cash tied up in equity: The money you pay to reduce your principal will be inaccessible. That means you’ll have less cash on hand, and less to put toward other investments or unforeseen expenses.
- Interest rate stays the same: If you’re more than a few years into your current loan, it’s possible that you could save more by refinancing into a loan with a lower rate than you would by reducing your principal.
- Not the fastest option: You might save more money in the long run by making an extra payment each month without recasting the loan. In that case, you could shave years off the time it takes to repay your loan.
- Modest payment reduction: As the earlier example showed, it takes a large lump-sum payment to reduce your monthly payment by a significant amount.
Is a mortgage recast right for you?
Whether or not recasting a mortgage is a good idea depends on your current financial situation and your goals for the future. Consider running numbers through a loan calculator to see how different options affect the amount of interest you pay and the time it takes to pay off your loan.
Don’t rule out refinancing, either. If your current interest rate is higher than rates on new loans, refinancing could save you more in the long run.
Credible makes refinancing easy. You can see prequalified rates from our partner lenders in the table below in just three minutes. We also provide transparency into lender fees that other comparison sites don’t.