We have been keeping busy with any number of things recently. Another thing that we decided to add to our list (and weren't planning on or even thinking about) was to refinance our home. We were browsing rates and were shocked at how low the rates have gotten.
After doing some calculations, we found out that we were able to refinance our place for a 15 year loan and pay less than $100 more than our initial rate that we got when we bought our home 5 years ago. We refi'd just about 1 1/2 years ago so will be paying more than what we currently pay by a few hundred as the new refi rate is for 15 years and our previous loans were 30 year terms.
We have found an amazing refinance lady in the Portland area-Ann Hays with NW Mortgage (phone: 503-439-9191)-she makes the process pretty much painless and we have been able to do the whole process by phone and e-mail which is awesome for us. Lugging a toddler to an office is not our idea of fun.
It basically takes a 10 minute or so phone call to talk with Ann (or whomever you are working with) and figure out if the numbers all make sense. She then e-mails a check list of things (W-2s, paystubs, bank statements) that she needs to process it all (I just downloaded statements or scanned them in and e-mailed them off) and if you give the ok, she will lock in a low low rate for you.
Then, you pretty much pay an appraiser a bunch of money (I believe it is about $400) to come assign a value to your home (we are currently trying to feverishly finish up projects before the appraiser comes sometime this week or next). If the appraisal goes along with what you owe on the home (you'll know after a few days), then you wait for all the paperwork to be processed and meet to sign final documents. Then you get to skip a month on your mortgage before starting with the new mortgage.
I wonder who will "buy" our home this time? It's cute and well loved, I promise.
Here are a few websites that look pretty decent for info on refinancing your home. many of them have refi calculators that help you figure out how much you will save if you refi.