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What is mortgage refinancing?

Mortgage refinancing is the paying off one real estate mortgage loan with another mortgage loan. There are two types of mortgage refinance transactions. The first type of mortgage refinance is where the first lien on a property is paid off, and less than $2,000 of equity is taken out of the property by the borrowers, either as cash, or to pay down or off other debt, such as a HELOC, credit cards, etc. This type of mortgage refinance is also known as a rate and term mortgage refinance. Closing costs are excluded from the $2,000 and often may be rolled into the refinance.

The second type of mortgage refinance is known as a cash-out refinance. This is where over $2,000 of equity is taken out of the property by the borrowers, either in cash, or to pay down other debt. Taking out a either a second mortgage, home equity loan or line or credit at a time after the first mortgage is taken out is also considered a cash out refinance from the lender's perspective.

When should I refinance my mortgage?

Homeowners typically refinance their mortgage for one of three reasons:

  1. The first is to get different terms than their current mortgage loan offers, i.e. a lower refinance rate, fixed rate, mortgage payment amount, etc.
  2. The second reason to go through a mortgage refinance is to leverage the equity in your home. This can mean either consolidating debt into one loan, or extracting equity in the home for other purposes.
  3. A third reason that a homeowner might want to refinance is that they have a balloon mortgage loan on their home that is coming due.

What are the benefits of mortgage refinancing?

One benefit of refinancing your mortgage is to lower your mortgage payment. Another is that borrowers can borrower money against the equity in their home at a lower cost than they can from other sources, such as credit cards, or car dealerships. A third benefit to mortgage refinancing is that if you pay off credit cards, the interest you pay on that money will now most likely be tax deductible, as is most mortgage interest.

Fixed-rate mortgages have stabilized over the last few months. Get the latest interest rate outlook report from

Read the fine print when thinking about refinancing your mortgage

Make sure that when you are refinancing your mortgage that the terms make it worth your while. Make sure to divide the cost of the mortgage refinance (including prepayment penalties, both if there are any, and they would apply) by the monthly savings you will realize after the new mortgage refinance rate takes effect. This is called the payback period. Please visit the U.S. Federal Reserve's and MBAA's (Mortgage Bankers Association of America) websites for recent forecasts on the housing industry.

Resources when refinancing your mortgage wants to make your mortgage refinance process as straightforward as possible for you by arming you with the tools that will help you to make informed choices when looking for a mortgage refinance rate and terms. These tools include:

  1. The Borrower's Bill of Rights - Our Borrowers Bill of Rights helps you avoid unethical lenders and get the most from ethical lenders.
  2. Truth about Loans - Our in-depth library of helpful articles tells you what to expect at every step of mortgage process. is your ultimate mortgage refinance resource, and will help answer many of your mortgage refinance loan questions. Use the Mortgage Refinancing Worksheet from the Citizen Information Service as a guide to help you estimate a refinanced mortgage payment amount and help you determine if you need to refinance your current mortgage.

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