Overcoming Refinance Hurdles, Tips For Success

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The Federal Savings Bank comments on how to overcome hurdles when trying to refinance a loan.

When mortgage rates fall, many homeowners jump on the chance to reduce their monthly mortgage payments by refinancing their home. While this is a great option for many and can drastically improve affordability, there are sometimes hurdles that homeowners face when going through the mortgage refinance process.

Loan-to-value ratio
The LTV ratio is the amount of the loan against the value of your home as a percentage. If your home is worth $100,000 and your loan amount is $60,000, the LTV ratio is 60 percent. Many lenders restrict the LTV ratios, though having a high ratio doesn't mean you won't be able to refinance.

Some borrowers with high LTV ratios will try to lower the figure by paying off a large part of the mortgage. This will reduce the size of the loan and reduce the amount owed against the value of the home. Other homeowners will refinance with higher LTV ratios, but they will have to get mortgage insurance to cover the cost owed to the lender in the case of default.

It is possible to refinance with a high LTV ratio through the Federal Housing Authority if you already have an FHA mortgage. Someone with a VA home loan can also refinance with high ratios and without having to get mortgage insurance.

Credit score
Lenders take a hard look at credit scores when determining mortgages and refinancing. If your credit score is too low, it may not qualify you for new loan terms. To make sure you are eligible for the best mortgage refinance rates, you can try to boost your credit score responsibly. It is important to note that it may not be possible to change your credit rating overnight. You can improve your score by making payments on time, paying off large balances and having only a few credit cards.

For eligible veterans, having a credit score that is less than pristine may not affect refinance or loan qualifications, as VA home loans are usually based on type of service and length of duty rather than financial requirements.

Lenders will typically want a homeowner to have at least 5 percent equity in their home before they approve a refinance, though others may say at least 20 percent is required. During the recession, this presented a large problem to many homeowners who lost equity in their properties after the housing market collapse.

For homeowners without enough home equity, there are still other options. For those who qualify, VA home loans or mortgages through the FHA require much lower standards for home equity when it comes to refinancing. VA home loans don't have any requirement at all, while FHA loans are lower than other types of loans. The Home Affordable Refinance Program, also known as HARP, is another choice not all homeowners are aware of. It is possible to refinance with HARP, even if you have negative equity.

Contact The Federal Savings Bank, a veteran owned bank, to explore mortgage refinance rates.

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