A refinance loan definition refers to a process where borrowers replace an existing loan to receive better financial benefits. It’s a good option for those looking to replace their current loan with one that has more favorable terms and payment options.
What exactly does this entail? How do borrowers benefit from refinancing, and what steps should you take to refinance a loan? Keep reading to learn more about what they are, how they can benefit you, and how to get started with the refinancing process.
What Is Loan Refinancing?
When a person refinances their loan, they replace their current debt obligations by applying for a new loan. A borrower seeks out a new offer with different fees, payment terms, and borrower obligations. This way, they can save money and pay off their existing debt without facing financial setbacks.
When you refinance, the existing terms of the original agreement go away. Some of the loans eligible for refinancing include:
- Car loans
- Student debt
- Personal loans
- Auto loans
- Business debt
Refinancing is not the same for all loans. For example, you can refinance student loans by consolidating subsidized, unsubsidized, private loans into a single repayment offer. If you want to refinance an auto loan, your bank will evaluate your car’s value before determining if you’re eligible for a refinancing offer.
4 Types of Refinancing
Now that we’ve covered the refinance loan definition, let’s discuss refinancing types. There are several types of refinancing agreements available, and the best option will depend on your existing payment structure and financial situation. Let’s walk through each refinancing option:
1. Rate-and-Term Refinancing
This is perhaps the most common type of refinancing. With a rate-and-term refinancing agreement, you receive lower interest rates and pay off your existing loan with a new one. You could also be eligible to receive lower monthly payments in exchange for an extended repayment period.
2. Cash-Out Refinancing
If you have a mortgage, you can use cash-out refinancing to replace your current mortgage with a new home loan. With a cash-out option, you receive the difference between the new mortgage and the old one in cash. You can then use the money on other necessities like home renovation projects.
The downside to cash-out refinancing is that your home becomes collateral for the loan, which means you risk losing it if you fail to make scheduled payments.
3. Cash-In Refinancing
Cash-in refinancing is not the same as cash-out. With cash-in refinancing, you’re putting more equity into your home, which is the difference between what a home is worth and what you owe on a mortgage.
With a cash-out option, you will convert your home’s equity into cash to pay for other necessities. With cash-in refinancing, you make a sizable payment on your principal balance to minimize what you owe while building home equity.
4. No-Closing-Cost Refinancing
Simply put, with no-closing-cost refinancing, you don’t pay closing costs up-front when applying for a new loan. These are the costs a lender will charge you to close a loan plus the principal you already owe. However, just because you don’t pay for closing costs when applying for a new loan, doesn’t mean those charges go away.
Instead, a lender will add it to the principal balance of your new loan, which will drive up your monthly payments.
Why Refinance a Loan?
Refinancing is all about re-evaluating your financial situation and exploring solutions that fit your budget. The question remains: How do you know if refinancing is the best solution? Refinancing makes sense if:
- You want lower interest rates: Depending on how much your credit score has improved, you might be eligible for a new loan with lower interest rates. The benefit of small interest rates is that you can reduce how much you owe on your existing debt.
- There is a shorter loan term available: If you can afford higher monthly payments, then refinancing would make sense as a way to pay off your debt faster. This could mean switching from a 48-month repayment period to a 36-month plan. In addition to getting rid of debt quickly, you can save money on interest rates.
- You want reasonable monthly payments: On the flip side, maybe you’re struggling with making your monthly payments because the rates are too high. In this case, you can refinance your loan by increasing the term length and reducing what you owe each month.
Downsides of Refinancing a Loan
Refinancing is not always the best strategy. Depending on your budget, financial circumstances, and refinancing agreements, you might end up in a larger debt hole than the one you started in. The problem with refinancing is:
- There might be a prepayment penalty: A prepayment penalty is what a lender charges a borrower for paying more than their periodic loan payments. Check with your lender if this applies to their new loan agreements.
- It will reflect on your credit score: If you’re refinancing with a new lender, they will run a credit inquiry to verify your credit score. When this happens, your score will drop by a few points.
- You might spend more on fees: If you’re refinancing a personal loan, expect additional fees. You might be hit with origination fees and additional APRs when applying for refinancing, so explore your options before you make a decision.
Power Finance Texas can set you up with installment loans to help cover sudden expenses. There are no prepayment penalties, and the approval process is quick.
3 Steps to Refinancing a Loan
If you’ve determined that loan refinancing makes sense for you, here are three steps you should take to get started:
1) Check Your Credit Score
A high credit score is crucial if you want to receive refinancing approval from a lender. For a conventional loan, you’ll need a score of 680 or higher.
Chances are, your lender will examine your FICO score before determining if you are eligible for refinancing. This is the number lenders consider when determining how likely it is you’ll stay on top of your periodic payments. Check with your lender for more information on this and credit score qualifications.
2) Shop Different Lenders
Not all lenders offer the same fees, repayment terms, or refinancing plans. Spend some time exploring reputable lenders and see which ones offer the best deals that align with your budget and financial goals. The last thing you want is to select a lender that surprises its customers with hidden fees or terms that increase what you owe.
3) Gather All Essential Documents
Once you’ve established that your credit score is high enough and selected a lender, gather all the documents you need to start the refinancing process. Your lender will inform you of all the paperwork you need to get started, but generally speaking, you will need:
- Pay stubs
- Bank statements
- Mortgage statements
- Tax returns
- Proof of expenses
The exact documents you will need will depend on the loan you refinance. If you’re refinancing an auto loan, you’ll need your driver’s license, car insurance documents, and proof of residency. For student loans, you’ll need your most recent loan statement document.
Explore Financing Alternatives with Power Finance Texas
Loan refinancing is one option you can pursue if you want to minimize your payments and deal with unexpected financial hiccups. If you’re facing money problems and need a quick solution, Power Finance Texas can help.
Contact our team to learn more.