Compare Mortgage Refinance

From mortgage types and qualifying to mortgage related fees and financial reputation, we research everything you need to compare mortgage refinance and make a decision. Learn how our editors compare the different factors of mortgage refinance below.
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How we Compare Mortgage Refinance

Mortgage Types - 25%
Qualifying - 20%
Mortgage Related Fees - 25%
Financial Reputation - 15%
Reviews & Support Service - 15%

Mortgage Types

There are four major ways with which you can choose to refinance your home. The first is a rate and term refinance, where you renegotiate either the rate and the term of your mortgage, or both. For instance, you may refinance your 5/1 ARM after five years, because the current low mortgage rates might keep your monthly payment the same, without the risks inherent in an ARMs' ever-changing rates. Another option is the cash-out refinance, in which you pull equity from your home. This raises the overall loan balance, but offers the benefit of immediate cash on hand, which you can use for home repair, college, debt repayment, or unforeseen expenses. The opposite of that is the cash-in refinance, in which you bring cash into the process, perhaps because you had a windfall, or simply to keep the loan-to-value ratio low. A fourth option comes from the government. In response to the ongoing mortgage crisis, the federal government developed the Home Affordable Refinance Program (HARP). This initiative refinances homes for 125% of their value, as a tool to help "underwater" homeowners whose loan amounts are higher than the current market value of the property, which must be insured by either Fannie Mae or Freddie Mac. If you think you qualify, be advised that the program ends in December 2017.

As regards rates and specific loan types, here's a quick outline: 

Conventional Loans - these are not insured by a federal agency. They can come in many different forms, including fixed-rate, ARMs, conforming, non-conforming, jumbo, etc.

Adjustable Rate Mortgage - With this type of mortgage, you pay a fixed, low introductory rate for a period of time, and then each following year, your rate changes according to the market. For instance, a 7/1 ARM means you pay a low fee for seven years, and from the eighth year onwards, your rate changes annually. This type of mortgage can be ideal if you have a reasonable expectation of increased future earnings, or if you don't plan on living on the property once the fixed rate period is up.

30-year Fixed Rate Mortgage - This is the most commonly used mortgage, especially for first-time buyers. Interest rates remain fixed for the thirty years it takes you to pay off the loan. This gives homeowners long-term stability and helps with budgetary planning, as each monthly payment never changes. These mortgages work best for homeowners who expect to remain in one house for a long period of time, and don't wish to have a high monthly fee.

15-year Fixed Rate Mortgage - This builds the same stability as the 30-year FRM, but with higher monthly payments. Equity builds faster, and you end up paying less interest overall.

 

The following are government-insured mortgage refinance options:

HARP - If the loan for your primary residence in held by either Fannie Mae or Freddie Mac, was originated on or before May 31, 2009, you're current on your mortgage, and the total amount of your loan is larger than your home's current valuation, this type of refinance can be a great option for you. 

FHA Cash-out - This type of refinance, offered by the Federal Housing Administration, is convenient for those whose property has increased in market value since it was purchased. It allows homeowners to take out another mortgage for more than they currently owe, and therefore take cash out of their home equity.

FHA Streamline - This option is available for existing owners of an FHA mortgage. It allows them to refinance quickly, often without an appraisal, and features the added benefit of cutting down on paperwork and additional costs.

VA Interest Rate Reduction Refinance - This can only be used by homeowners already in posession of a VA mortgage loan. It streamlines the process, and can significantly reduce monthly payments by taking advantage of lower interest rates. Closing costs can even be rolled over into their overall loan amount, requiring no out-of-pocket expenses.

VA Cash-Out Refinance - Both holders of VA and conventional mortgages can qualify for this option. It replaces your existing mortgage, and gives you the opportunity to turn your home equity into cash, (for up to 100% of its value). 

USDA Streamline Refinance - This is only available for current holders of non-delinquent 502 USDA loans (either Direct or Guaranteed), and should be used to lower the monthly interest and premium payments, not to take cash out of the home equity.  However, the program does allow for up to 102% refinancing, with the money to be used for home improvement. As with any streamlined option, it requires less paperwork, closing costs and no property inspection.

Mortgage Refinance with the Best Mortgage Types:

LendingTreeSoFiLoan DepotRocketRefinanceCalculatorQuicken LoansRate MarketplaceAmeriValue
15-year Fixed Rate
30-year Fixed Rate
Adjustable Rate
HARP
FHA Cash-out
FHA Streamline
VA Interest Rate Reduction
VA Cash-out
USDA Streamline

Qualifying

As with any type of mortgage, lenders specializing in home refinance are going to look at a number of factors in order to determine your suitability. Knowing the requirements beforehand makes the application and approval process much easier and efficient. Companies are going to be looking at:

  • Employment and Income - Lenders will want to look at pay stubs, (generally for the past three months).
  • Tax returns - Usually, your W2 and/or 1099's for the last two years.
  • Debt-to-Income Ratio - This includes both housing-related debt and all additional recurring monthly debt
  • Credit Score - Lenders don't just look at the credit reports from all three bureaus, but also take into account if there is any derogatory credit such as bankruptcy or foreclosure (this can make you ineligible).
  • Statement of Assets - Lenders like to see between 3-6 months of mortgage payments in reserve.
  • Homeowner's Insurance and Title Insurance
  • Collateral - This is generally in the form of home equity. To that end, most companies require an inspection and appraisal of the property.

 

 

Mortgage Refinance with the Best Qualifying:

LendingTreeSoFiLoan DepotRocketRefinanceCalculatorQuicken LoansRate MarketplaceAmeriValue
EmploymentAt least 2 yearsAt least 2 yearsAt least 2 years2 YearsDepends on the lenderAt least 2 yearsAt least 2 yearsNot Stated
Tax Returns (W2 and/or 1099)Not StatedNot StatedNot StatedNot StatedNot StatedNot StatedW-2 FormsW-2 Forms
Income to Debt Ratio35% or more50% or more35% or lower50% or more40% or more50% or more50% or moreNot Stated
Credit Score580 or better620 or better580 or better620Fair620620 or betterNot Required
Statement of AssetsYesNoYesNoYesYesYesYes
Homeowner's InsuranceYesYesYesYesYesYesYesYes
Title InsuranceYesNoYesYesNoYesNoNo

Mortgage Related Fees

There are several fees included in the costs of refinancing your home. Choosing one of the streamlined refinance options we mentioned above may eliminate the need for some of them.

  • Application Fee
  • Loan origination fee
  • Appraisal fee
  • Inspection fee
  • Title Search
  • Escrow
  • Closing fee
  • Legal fees
  • Homeowners insurance
  • Private mortgage insurance (PMI)
  • Points (these are usually negotiable)

Some lenders can provide no-cost refinancing – an arrangement in which the lender agrees to pay the closing costs but charges you with higher interest rates. This can also be achieved by folding closing costs into your loan.

Mortgage Refinance with the Best Mortgage Related Fees:

LendingTreeSoFiLoan DepotRocketRefinanceCalculatorQuicken LoansRate MarketplaceAmeriValue
Application FeeYesNoYesNoNoYesYesNo
Loan Origination FeeYesYesYesNoNoYesYesNo
Appraisal FeeYesNoYesNoNoNoYesNo
Inspection FeeYesNoNoNoNoYesYesNo
Credit Report FeeNoNoNoNoNoYesNoNo
Insurance YesNoYesNoNoYesNoNo
TaxesNoNoNoNoNoYesNoNo
EscrowNoYesYesNoNoYesNoNo
Title SearchYesNoYesNoNoNoYesNo
Lender FeeNoNoNoNoNoYesNoNo
Legal FeeNoNoNoNoNoNoYesNo
Points (Optional)YesNoYesNoNoNoNoNo

Financial Reputation

Mortgage refinance can be even more daunting than a first mortgage, with so many options to choose from. More than ever, we wanted to make sure that the companies we reviewed had high levels of customer satisfaction, so we took into account not only their scores in customer review sites, but also their legitimacy and proven track record.

 

 

Mortgage Refinance with the Best Financial Reputation:

LendingTreeJG WentworthSoFiCrossCountry Mortgage RefinanceLoan DepotHARP QuizLower My BillsRocketAmerisaveBankrate Mortgage RefinanceClose Your Own LoanSebonic FinancialRefinanceCalculatorQuicken LoansRate MarketplaceGuide to LendersAmeriValueWells FargoChaseBank of AmericaPenFed
BBB RatingA+A+A+A+No RatingA+ANo Rating
Years in Operation2052231Not Stated313Not Stated
FHA/HUD ApprovedYesYesYesYesNoYesYesYes
No Regulatory Actions in NMLSNoYesYesNoNoYesYesNo
Registered with one of the following: NAMB, FDIC, HMDAYesYesYesYesYesYesYesYes

Reviews and Support Service

If it turns out refinancing completely isn't the right choice for you, there are several other alternatives you can rely on for taking cash out of your home's equity (the dollar value difference between the outstanding balance in your mortgage and your home's market value). We discuss these in more depth in other sections, but here's a brief description.

  • Reverse Mortgage - If you're 62 or older, and are house-rich but cash-poor, a reverse mortgage can help you obtain the liquidity you need by allowing you to convert part of your home equity into cash. As a direct opposite to a traditional mortgage, in which you pay the lender and buy your home over a period of time, in a reverse mortgage the lender pays you as a kind of advance payment on your equity. The money is generally tax-free, and doesn't have to be repaid as long as you live in your home. When you die, sell, or move, your estate must repay the loan. Ideally, this would be covered through the sale of the property, and not by saddling your estate with debt. 
  • Home Equity Loans - If you have built up enough equity on your house, you can consider the possibility of taking out a home equity loan. This uses your house as collateral, and generally feature lower APR's, tax-deductible interest costs, and can be easier to qualify for even if you have bad credit. 
  • Home Equity Line of Credit (HELOC) - This operates on the same basic principle as a Home Equity Loan, only instead of giving you a lump sum, it establishes a line of credit for you, with your house as collateral. You withdraw money as you need it, pay it off, and then use it again. Though the interest is typically much lower than a credit card, for instance, you still have to be careful if you're constantly borrowing and repaying.
  • Bridging Loan - Also known as a bridge, caveat or swing loan, this is designed to help you complete the purchase of a property before selling their current home, by offering you short-term access to money at a generally high interest rate, to compensate for the risk involved.

Mortgage Refinance with the Best Reviews and Support Service:

LendingTreeSoFiLoan DepotRocketAmerisaveRefinanceCalculatorQuicken LoansRate MarketplaceAmeriValue
Free ConsultationYesYesYesYesYesYesYesNo
Toll-Free PhoneYesYesYesYesNoYesYesNo
EmailYesYesYesYesYesYesYesYes
Online ChatYesNoNoYesNoYesNoNo
Credit OptimizationYesYesYesYesYesYesYesYes
FAQ and Knowledge BaseYesYesYesYesNoYesYesNo
BBB Positive Reviews43%19%68%85%N/A85%0%N/A

Full Mortgage Refinance Comparison

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Latest Reviews

Reviews help other customers make decisions. Share your experience with Mortgage Refinance
L
Lucy
Brooklyn, New York
6/5/2017
I just recinanced my house with LDW, I did not have any problems at all. Every step they did they communicated electronically to me. I started the process on 4-27-2017 and I closed on 5-30-2017 with very good interest rate. Thank you very much. Luvel.

Layo V
2/2/2017
great site and very use full, resourceful. has every thing relevant to what i was looking for, look no further than this site to gain what u are looking for. very easy to use, attractive site as well. i like this site

D
Deanna G
1/15/2017
I was referred by Quicken loans to one of their companies called OneReverseMortgage after filling out a loan application. OneReverseMortgage has found a way for me to payoff the remainder of my mortgage, pay off all my financial obligations, stay in my home and even leave my home to my loved ones when I pass. I thought bankruptcy was my only option. I lost my husband and managed my obligations until what was left of my husbands life insurance was exhausted. If you are struggling to make ends meet I would highly recommend Quicken Loans. They will help you find a way to financial freedom with a program that suits your needs. Not only that, their highly trained staff that I have encountered not only will help you through the loan process they are kind, caring and compassionate! They were very reassuring and made me confident from day one that what they suggested was the right option for me! I'm very grateful that I returned their phone call! These are two companies I highly recommend no matter what situation you are in!

Reviews help other customers make decisions. Share your experience with Mortgage Refinance