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6 Steps to Refinancing Your Country Home

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Terry Lambert
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Depending on your need for cash (are college or remodeling costs in your near future?), your current mortgage term length and interest rate, and your personal objectives, refinancing could be a good financial strategy for your household. The questions, however, typically outnumber the answers. What options are out there? Is this a good time? Is it right for my specific situation?

When considering refinancing your home, follow these six steps and you’ll be well on your way to reaching your goals.

Step 1. Identify Objectives
Think about your circumstances and what you’re trying to achieve overall. From there, pinpoint your specific end goal for refinancing. Is it to reduce monthly payments? Leverage equity? Switch from A.R.M or Fixed? Clearly articulate (and even write down) why you’re looking to refinance.

Step 2. Refresh old paperwork
If you’ve read our e-book, “Moving from the City to the Country: 8 Blunders Rural Home Buyers Make”, you may recall the last few tips included filing your paperwork in a safe place. Now’s the time to dig it up and update each piece.

It’s also a great time to obtain a new credit report, take some time to understand your score and then take the proper steps to correct any errors. TIP: Now is not the time to be applying for new cards or opening new accounts. This affects your score and your lender will run your score again.

Step 3. Use a Mortgage Calculator
Use tools like our refinancing calculator to figure out what makes sense for your personal budget. Don’t forget about the closing costs. Even most “no cost” refinancing options have fees.

Step 4. Select a Lender
There are a few unique characteristics of rural homes and properties that make them “un-mortgageable” with many lenders. If you have income-producing land, such as tillable acres, outbuildings that house livestock or a property with two habitable residences, you likely won’t get funding from a traditional lender. You need a lender who focuses on rural properties and can navigate the roadblocks and show you the path to reach your goals.

Step 5. Submit Your Application
Be sure to come prepared with the following six pieces of information to submit with your application: (1) name, (2) income, (3) social security number, (4) property address, (5) estimate of the value of the property, and (6) mortgage loan amount sought. After you receive your Loan Estimate, be prepared to provide additional documentation including recent paystubs, bank statements, and possibly two or three years of tax returns.  Every lender has different requirements, so make sure you understand exactly what you need to provide to your lender. 

Step 6. Get an Appraisal
The appraisal report is important when determining the outcome of your loan. Getting an appraisal will tell how much your home is worth. TIP: Save for the appraisal! You will need to pick up the bill, which generally runs from $500-$2,000.

Congrats!
You’ve done your homework, compiled the right paperwork and selected a lender and obtained an appraisal. The next step on how you’re going to leverage your new situation to reach your personal and financial objectives is completely up to you. Good luck!
 
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