I took a gander at mortgage rates today and realized that the rate on a 10 year mortgage is only 3.25% at our local credit union. My husband and I currently hold a 15 year mortgage at 4.5% and I am unbelievably tempted to refinance our property. If I decide to move forward with this decision it will be the fourth time we’ve refinanced in ten years!
We last refinanced two years ago, so we have roughly 13 years remaining on our current mortgage. I refuse to refinance for another 15 years, because I don’t want to push our payoff date back any longer. In essence, we shrink this mortgage down to 10 years or we simply keep it just the way it is.
There are pros and cons to refinancing again. On the plus side, refinancing would save us $60,000 in interest over the next 10 years. We’d also pay off the mortgage three years faster, which means we’d be mortgage free on our primary home by the time I turn 45.
On the negative side we’d have to go through the hassle of refinancing our property yet again. The paperwork alone can make this a total nightmare. We’d also have to pay upfront closing costs, which totaled over $6,000 last time.
Lastly and most importantly our mortgage payment would increase by nearly $500 a month, which is a big chunk of change considering I’m not sure how soon I want to go back to work after the baby is born. I worry about adding an even bigger mortgage payment to our budget when I’m not sure if I’ll bring in any income.
Rather than refinancing we could include additional principal in our monthly mortgage payment. This would save us $20,000 or so over the life of the loan, rather than $60,000. However, it would provide more flexibility if I decide not to return to work for awhile. If we have money to throw at the mortgage we could do that. If time passes and we don’t have the money available we don’t have to worry about not meeting our financial obligation.
A third alternative could be to refinance the loan while simultaneously paying off a chunk of principal using a portion of my severance payment. Shrinking the total loan amount would decrease our monthly payments. The goal would be to add only $100 or $200 a month to our payments rather than a whopping $500.
Of course, the downside to this approach is that we’ll have less money in our bank account to fall back on if I decide to stay out of the workforce longer than expected. We’ll also lose out on any interest or growth this money could have earned.
At the end of the day I’m not certain how to proceed. After weighing the pros and cons it seems the safest approach is to stick with the mortgage we currently possess. On the other hand with mortgage rates this low it’s hard to pass up $60,000 in interest savings!