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How it works
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With a 15-year fixed mortgage refinance, you can refinance your existing mortgage to take advantage of lower rates. The new loan will have different terms than your old one, including interest rate, monthly payment, and loan term.
With a 15-year refinance, rates tend to be lower than loans with longer loan terms, so you can save money over the length of your loan. And, you can pay off your loan sooner.
Lower interest rate:
By opting for a shorter term, you’re eligible for lower interest rates than you’d get with a 30-year fixed mortgage refinance.
Earlier payoff date:
When you select a 15-year fixed mortgage refinance, you’ll be able to pay off your mortgage faster.
Higher monthly payments:
With a shorter loan term, your monthly payments might be bigger than they were before. If you’re not prepared, those higher payments might strain your budget.
When you refinance your loan, you’ll have to pay closing costs. These costs can be a portion of your home loan amount, adding thousands to your loan cost. Keep in mind, though, that this will typically only be a disadvantage if you plan on selling your house soon. If you sell before the point when the benefits of the refinancing outweigh the closing costs, then you've lost money.
If you want to refinance your home mortgage to a 15-year refinance loan to take advantage of lower interest rates, compare rates from multiple lenders before submitting your application. Interest rates and loan terms can vary widely from lender to lender, so use Credible to compare mortgage rates from several lenders at once.
The best time to refinance your home loan is when market conditions are favorable for borrowers. A good time to shop around for mortgage refinancing rates can be when the Federal Reserve lowers interest rates. With a 15-year refinance loan, you could qualify for a much lower rate on your mortgage.
What Is a Mortgage Rate and How Do They Work?
How a cash-out mortgage refinance works
Cash-out refinancing allows you to take money out of your home equity by refinancing your current mortgage for an amount that is greater than your existing loan and the refinancing loan’s closing costs. Find out more about how a cash-out refinance works.
How to refinance your mortgage
Refinancing your mortgage can be much simpler than the process you went through when you bought your home. Here’s how to refinance your mortgage — and everything you need to know before you do.
When to refinance your mortgage
If you own a home, it’s a good idea to reassess your mortgage periodically to see if you can find a better deal elsewhere. Check out some of the reasons refinancing your mortgage could be a good idea.
How to get the best mortgage refinance rates
You really have to do your research if you want to get the best mortgage refinance rate. We’ll take some of the burden off you by doing most of the legwork so you can find the best rate for your situation.
As a Credible authority on mortgages, Chris Jennings covers topics including home loans and mortgage refinancing. His work has appeared in Fox Business and GOBankingRates.
The lowest 15-year refinance rate was in August 2021 at approximately 2.15%, according to historical data from Freddie Mac.
Regardless of how low current refinance rates are, it’s always wise to compare mortgage refinance rates from several lenders. Minimizing your APR is an easy way to save money with fewer lifetime loan costs. Rate shopping with Credible is one way to find a great monthly payment for your circumstances.
A good refinance rate is one that’s significantly lower than your current one. When you refinance, you’ll want to aim for a rate that’s at least one percentage point lower than your current rate. This will provide you with meaningful monthly savings and allow you to break even on your closing costs in a reasonable amount of time.
Today’s 15-year refinance rates sit below 3%, and they’ve been below that threshold since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Typically, the best refinance rates assume you have a credit score of 740 or higher and an 80% loan-to-value ratio (LTV). They also assume you’re refinancing a single-family, primary residence. You can qualify for a great rate by maintaining an excellent credit score and a low debt-to-income ratio.
Several economic factors affect 15-year mortgage rates. For example, the movement of the 10-year Treasury yield can directly influence refinance rates.
Two additional factors are the general health of the economy and inflation. A sluggish economy with rising unemployment can lead to lower rates, while upticks in inflation may cause lenders to raise rates.
There are a number of personal factors that determine the rate you qualify for as well, including:
Credit score: Most lenders require an excellent credit score — typically 740 or higher — to qualify for the lowest rates.
Debt-to-income ratio: Try to have a debt-to-income ratio below 36% to impress lenders. You may qualify with a DTI as high as 45%, but expect a higher rate.
Loan-to-value ratio: A loan-to-value (LTV) ratio of 80% or lower can help you get a lower rate. It’ll also allow you to avoid private mortgage insurance.
Loan type: A traditional, rate-and-term refinance usually offers lower rates than a cash-out refinance. This is because the latter option is often riskier for the lender due to higher loan amounts.
Refinancing fees: Paying your refinancing fees upfront and instead of rolling them into your loan can reduce your APR. Buying mortgage points can also decrease your rate.
Repayment term length: Shorter repayment terms have lower interest rates but require a bigger monthly payment.
Most lenders will recommend a 15-year or 30-year repayment term when you’re ready to refinance. Either option can help you save money in comparison to your existing mortgage. A 15-year term has a higher monthly payment, but you’ll pay significantly less in total interest.
The two main benefits of a 30-year fixed-rate mortgage are:
Paying less per month for the life of the loan
A 30-year term allows you to enjoy cheaper monthly payments. It also offers flexibility: you can choose to make extra payments to pay down your loan faster while still having the ability to fall back to a smaller monthly payment if you can no longer afford to do so.
The major downside to 30-year mortgages vs. 15-year mortgages, of course, is the interest — because you have twice as long to pay off your loan, you’ll end up paying far more in interest over the course of the loan.
Here’s an example of what your monthly payment and total interest costs might look like for a $200,000 refinance loan. The example assumes an excellent credit score of 740.
|Mortgage term||15 Years||30 Years|
|Interest rate (APR)||2.513%||3.134%|
|Lifetime interest cost||$40,264.48 |
Lenders offer multiple repayment terms for fixed interest rates, usually between 10 to 30 years.
Here is a glance at how refinance rates might differ by term. The table assumes a $200,000 standard refinance and a $600,000 jumbo refinance, with the consumer having a 740 credit score and paying all closing costs up front:
Switching from an adjustable-rate mortgage to a 15-year mortgage to secure a fixed interest rate makes a lot of sense when rates are rising and you have several years of payments remaining. You’ll enjoy more stability in your monthly payments and be protected against further rate fluctuations.
While 15-year refinance rates are higher than the interest rates on adjustable-rate mortgages up front, you’ll save money if the rate increases above your current rate in the future. In a rising interest-rate environment, you could be looking at thousands of dollars in savings.
However, it may not be worth refinancing an adjustable-rate mortgage if you can pay off your loan within a few years, interest rates are falling or staying relatively flat, or a potential rate hike would have minimal impact on your finances.
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