How to Refinance Your Mortgage: Rates & Fees

Interest rates continue to hover near historical lows, so it’s not too late to lock in a lower mortgage payment for potentially the next decade or more. But a mortgage refinance isn’t necessarily the right choice for everyone. You’ll need to consider a number of variables, and it’s important to understand the terms lenders use in a refinance and how the process works.

So before you start down the mortgage refinance path, take a look at our guide on how to refinance your mortgage and learn all the ins and outs — it’ll help you decide if a refinance makes sense for you.

Refinancing is the process of paying off your existing mortgage with the funds from a new mortgage. While most people refinance to take advantage of a lower interest rate on a new loan, other reasons to refinance include switching mortgage companies, changing the terms of your loan

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How to Move to the Country With a USDA Mortgage

Illustration for article titled How to Move to the Country With a USDA Mortgage

Image: Bogdan Sonjachnyj (Shutterstock)

This year isn’t what any of us expected, and between coronavirus, lockdowns, social unrest, and natural disasters, many Americans have been inspired to relocate, with an increasing number looking to move away from big cities.

While leaving the city may have some hidden costs, if you have the privilege of remote work and the funds to relocate—you may be looking for a quieter, slower-paced lifestyle in rural America—you’re not alone. According to a recent Realtor report, there was a 15% uptick in rural home searches in May.

With rock-bottom interest rates, you may also be eager to buy a home. But if you’re struggling to save enough for a down payment, there may be an option you haven’t considered: USDA mortgages. Here’s what to know about these loans.

Illustration for article titled How to Move to the Country With a USDA Mortgage

The benefits of a USDA home loan

The U.S. Department of

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Mortgage bailout numbers improve slowly, but real test is ahead

Jb Reed | Bloomberg | Getty Images

The number of borrowers in government Covid-19-related mortgage bailout programs is shrinking, but those in private-label or bank bailouts is rising.

This suggests that there is still pain ahead in the mortgage market, as some borrowers are simply not recovering enough financially to afford their home loans.

The total number of mortgages in active forbearance programs, where borrowers delay their monthly payments for at least three months, declined by 26,000 last week or 0.7%, according to Black Knight, a mortgage technology and data firm. This marks four consecutive weeks of improvement, but the pace has been slowing for the past few weeks.

As of Sept. 15, just under 3.7 million homeowners remain in these plans, representing 7% of all active mortgages. Together, these loans represent $781 billion in unpaid principal. The number of forbearance plans are now down more than 22% from the

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Home equity surges as demand soars and mortgage rates hover near lows

After a brief stall in home sales at the start of the coronavirus pandemic, homebuyers came rushing back in — so fast that prices never even took a hit. In fact, the gains in prices accelerated quickly, causing home equity to soar even more.  

Home equity for homeowners with a mortgage rose 6.6% annually in the second quarter, according to CoreLogic. Collectively, that adds up to a gain of $620 billion, or $9,800 per home.

Home values have continued to rise and are now up 5.1% annually, according to Zillow. Price gains accelerated in 48 of the 50 largest metropolitan housing markets across the country.

The reason is twofold: Demand is outpacing supply by a lot, and mortgage rates are sitting near record lows. The latter gives buyers more purchasing power.

The total supply of homes for sale was just over 29% lower annually for the week ending Sept. 12,

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11 programs that help first-time homebuyers get a mortgage

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  • To qualify for a conventional mortgage, you typically need a 620 credit score, 36% debt-to-income ratio, and 10% down payment.
  • But there are programs that help first-time homebuyers get mortgages even if they don’t meet conventional loan standards.
  • You may be eligible for a government-backed mortgage, a conventional loan backed by Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, or a program specific to your state.
  • You can also get a special loan if your home requires significant repairs after moving in.
  • Have the Personal Finance Insider newsletter sent straight to your inbox.

Buying your home may feel like an insurmountable challenge, because you have to meet multiple requirements to qualify. Conventional mortgages typically mandate at

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I moved into my in-laws’ home. My husband wants to pay his parents’ mortgage, but it will come out of my income. How can I protect myself?

Dear Moneyist,

I got married recently and moved into my husband’s house that he shares with his parents. (His name and his parents’ name are on the deed.) Currently, we pay a small amount for rent, but my husband hopes to take on the mortgage of the house over the next couple of years. I am the breadwinner, and so the majority (or even all) of the money that would go towards the mortgage would be coming from me.

Before fully committing to this, are there any precautions I need to take? Or what are the risks I could be facing? I am worried about what would happen if I end up paying off their home, and they want to sell it or my in-laws pass away, or if they decide to give their share of the house to my husband’s sister, or if my husband and I separate (which

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