refinance

Types of refinance loans

If you've decided to refinance a home loan, it's time to figure out which type of mortgage is right for your situation. Here's a list of some common refinance loans that might fit the bill:

  • 15-year refinance loans. Fifteen-year refinance loans are a popular option for homeowners who've paid off part of their existing mortgage and don't want to restart the clock on a new 30-year refinance loan. Fifteen-year refinance loans generally offer a lower interest rate, but have a higher monthly payment than 30-year refinance loans.
  • 30-year refinance loans. Refinance loans with a new 30-year term may be a good choice for homeowners who want to lock in a fixed interest rate, but don't want to commit themselves to a higher payment. Whether you choose a 15-year or 30-year refinance loan, consider the total interest expense as well as the new interest rate and payment.

Bankrate's 15-year or 30-year refinance calculator can help you compare these two types of refinance loans.

Other types of refinance loans include:

  • Cash-out refinance loans. Borrowers whose homes are worth more than they owe on the existing mortgage can use a cash-out refinance loan to gain access to extra cash. Lenders don't offer cash-out refinance loans to homeowners who owe more than their home is worth.
  • Cash-in refinance loans. Some homeowners choose cash-in refinance loans, which require them to bring cash to closing. They do this for three main reasons: to refinance when they owe more on the existing mortgage than the home is worth; to refinance and avoid the extra cost of mortgage insurance; and/or to refinance and avoid the higher interest rate and payment on a jumbo mortgage.
  • Government refinance loans. The federal Home Affordable Refinance Program, or HARP, lets homeowners refinance up to 125 percent of the value of their home. The Federal Housing Administration's "streamline" program lets homeowners refinance an existing loan that's insured by the FHA with less paperwork. Some states have programs that offer refinance loans to help homeowners avoid foreclosure.

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