What does refinancing mean? Replacing a debt with a new debt having different terms. This is most often done for home mortgages.

Here's breaking news on refinance that you should consider.

Check out my new site - RefinanceMortgageNow.net.

The Baltimore Sun reports Dec. 23, 2007:

Despite the mortgage meltdown, the blizzard of advertising for home loans continues. Fewer pitches scream "Bad credit? No problem!" Instead, lenders struggling to remain profitable are targeting people with good credit and plenty of home equity. Mortgage firms that have survived the subprime shakeout are focusing on persuading homeowners to refinance. The lenders promote refinancing as a flexible tool to lower interest rates and stretch out payments. But critics say the offers often appeal to the same inclination that led many borrowers astray - the tendency of people to live beyond their means by using their home equity as an ATM.

"It's all the art of distraction," said Bruce Miller, chief executive of Dailey & Associates Advertising. "For some people, all they care about is the monthly payment. And that keeps them from digging in and concentrating on the hidden elements." The Federal Trade Commission sent warning letters this year to 200 lenders, brokers and other mortgage-market participants about misleading ads. The most problematic pitches are those that tout low interest rates or payments but play down the fact that they are temporary, or don't disclose it at all, FTC senior attorney Lucy Morris said.

Here are some tips to help you decide whether or not to refinance:

•Know the terms of the current mortgage. How often will the mortgage adjust? How much will it adjust? These are both important factors to consider when determining if refinancing is a viable option. Contact the lender regarding the terms of the loan to avoid any surprises when the mortgage adjusts.

•Think about how long you will live in the home. The longer you live in the home, the more money you can potentially save in interest costs from refinancing.

•Maintain a good credit score. A good credit score is one factor that could enable you to obtain more favorable financing terms. Paying bills on time and keeping credit card debt low are easy ways to maintain good credit. Check your credit report every year to ensure there are no negative marks on the credit history, such as missed credit card payments or large accounbalances.

•Determine refinancing costs. Consult a loan officer to figure out whafees are involved with refinancing. An application fee may be required as well as closing costs. You may also choose to pay discount points to buy down the interest rate. By knowing the upfront costs for refinancing, you can determine exactly how much time it will take to recover the expense.

•Roll-in refinancing. Avoid paying fees up front and immediately enjoy lower monthly payments by rolling in closing costs into the new loan. Rolling in the costs is particularly appropriate if you will sell your home or refinance again in a few years, because having a higher loan balance will likely matter less than being able to enjoy the immediate benefit of lower monthly payments.

From the Boston Globe, Jan. 2, 2008:

An estimated 2 million American homeowners face increased monthly mortgage payments this year. Many cannot afford the increased payment, or find buyers for their homes. They face foreclosure.

Also in 2008, state and federal officials must decide how to regulate subprime loans. The industry is gone for the moment. Lenders sold about $26.3 billion of subprime loans in the third quarter of 2007, down more than 80 percent from the roughly $139 billion sold at the peak of the boom in the fourth quarter of 2005, according to Standard & Poor's. But its recovery in some form is widely considered inevitable. Both issues remain substantially unresolved. The steps taken in 2007 were modest. The problem continues to expand.

From the WSJ:

• The Issue: The Bush administration's program to help homeowners with subprime adjustable-rate mortgages doesn't include borrowers with good credit who took out an unusually complex type of loan known as an option adjustable-rate mortgage.

• What's at Stake: Loan balances on many option ARMs are rising, even as home values are falling, a scenario that economists say is likely to lead to another spike in foreclosures. Because option ARMs are so complicated, the attorneys general of several states are starting to focus on option ARMs, which they believe were an inappropriate mortgage product for many borrowers.

• What's Next: Some economists call option ARMs "ticking time bombs" that could result in losses of $100 billion, on top of an estimated $400 billion in expected losses on subprime and other mortgages.

Says Wikipedia: "Refinancing may be undertaken to reduce interest costs (by refinancing at a lower rate), to extend the repayment time, to pay off other debts, to reduce one's periodic payment obligations (sometimes by taking a longer-term loan), to reduce or alter risk (such as by refinancing from a variable-rate to a fixed-rate loan), and/or to raise cash for investment, consumption, or the payment of a dividend. In essence, refinancing can alter the monthly payments owed on the loan either by changing the loan's interest rate, or by altering the term to maturity of the loan. More favourable lending conditions may reduce overall borrowing costs."

California based Mortgage Consultant Joe Almirantearena reveals mortgage refinancing secrets at a new web site (http://findmyloanonline.com) that is full of free reports, a home buying guide, and free mortgage calculators. The site is designed to give California residents all the facts about mortgage refinancing so they can make an educated decision when obtaining a mortgage.

Fresno, CA -- (SBWIRE) -- 12/31/2007 -- It seems like everyone in California is jumping on the mortgage refinancing bandwagon. Maybe you're thinking about it yourself? After all, with rates as low as they are, the promise of lowering your monthly payments, sometimes significantly, is a great attraction for many homeowners.

But before you sign on the dotted line, there are a few things you should know about the way refinancing works so you don't make a mistake that could wind up costing you big time.

"With refinancing as popular as it is right now, California residents have to be even more careful about shopping for the best loan," says Joe Almirantearena, a California based mortgage consultant. "Even the most attractive offer can wind up being a disaster once you realize how much the loan is really costing you."

Almirantearena offers these tips when considering refinancing:

* You should get a significantly lower rate for refinancing to make sense. Don't rush to refinance unless it's truly worth your while. If you're working with a mortgage broker rather than going it alone, you can be assured that they're bringing you the best offers out there. If you're going it alone, you'll have to do the legwork for yourself.

* Consolidating unsecured debt with a refinance loan can be a dangerous idea. You may not be in financial trouble now, but if in a few years things change, instead of simply missing a credit card payment or two, you'll now be in danger of losing your home as well.

* Your credit score counts... big time. If you've had credit problems in the past like a bankruptcy, it might make sense to wait a while for your credit score to recover before trying to refinance. Most lenders make it hard for people with less than perfect credit to get the best deals. But, again, if you choose to let an expert like a mortgage broker get involved in the process, they can often find loan options that most homeowners didn't even know existed - which can save you thousands over the long haul.

California - based mortgage expert Joe Almirantearena specializes in providing mortgage information to California residents that allows them to make informed decisions about their mortgage financing options and learn the insider secrets that can save them thousands of dollars over the life of their loan.

Joe Almirantearena is available for interviews and will welcome all your mortgage related questions.

Call 800-785-4952 for a Free No-Obligation Consultation, or visit http://findmyloanonline.com

SFGate.com reports on the mortgage crisis:

Chase spokesman Tom Kelly said a deed in lieu is possible when the customer clearly cannot afford the house, and the loan servicer agrees there is no way to make it work financially. (Many servicers ask homeowners to try to sell the house first, which Cil had already done.) A deed in lieu helps the borrower because "it clears the decks on what they owe," and appears on a credit report as settled debt, Kelly said. It also is advantageous for the investor who owns the mortgage because it avoids the legal and holding expenses of a foreclosure, which can drag on for many months. The Cil's house will now become an REO - short for "Real Estate Owned" by a bank. Chase will hire a property management firm to inspect it and make any needed repairs, and then engage a real estate company to put it on the market. Realtors who specialize in REO properties have work pouring in these days, as more and more foreclosures hit the market. That in turn depresses prices. Cil said a six-bedroom house a few blocks away is listed at $420,000 - $30,000 less than he paid for his much smaller house two years ago.

Steve Tytler writes Dec. 16, 2007: "You should refinance as soon as possible because the longer you wait, the more equity you are likely to lose. As I said before, I expect home prices to drop about 10 percent to 20 percent over the next year or so, and then the housing market will flatten out with very little appreciation or depreciation for a few years. And it's already happening in several areas of the Puget Sound region. One of the top local appraisers that we often use at my mortgage company says that about 75 percent of the homes that he is appraising today have comparable home sales in their neighborhood with depreciating prices. He says home values have dropped anywhere from 2 percent to 12 percent, depending on the area in which he is working. In general, the farther a neighborhood is located away from the major urban job centers, the more its home prices have depreciated. It's simple supply and demand. Lots of homes for sale plus few buyers equals lower home prices."

David Faulkner writes:

There are a few important steps to be aware of when refinancing.

1. First you get the loan application and then complete it. This can be very difficult to do, I hate all forms!

2. The loan consultant then offers many different mortgages to you.

3. You must carefully decide which mortgage is right for you.

4. Complete the documentation that you need to apply to that specific loan.

5. When you receive the disclosures for the loan, including all legal information, terms and other forms you must complete these and send them back to your loan consultant.

6. The loan consultant will then set up an appraisal company to contact you. This appraisal company is responsible for valuing your home. This is an essential step as you need to find out how much your home is worth now.
7. Your loan consultant pays off your old loan with the new one you've just taken out, and then process the loan file.

8. The underwriters of the loan will get all the information they need from the loan consultant. They will either approve the loan, or request extra information they need. If they do require any additional information then your loan consultant will give them your contact details.

9. The completed loan document is then sent off to the company that is issuing the title, or the lawyer who is responsible for closing the loan.

10. You have a 3 day cooling off period during this time. This is when you can cancel the loan without any obligations.

11. The refinance process is complete, and you have refinanced your mortgage.

If you are interested in refinancing your mortgage, then you should defiantly consider using a trustworthy mortgage company, or somebody that you have already done business with. You should be able to find a trustworthy mortgage broker, however if you do struggle, you can use one of the many online mortgage comparison services.

The online comparison services are very easy, they only take a minute to do and you get a list of suitable mortgages.

RISMedia posts:

Many people flock to refinance while mortgage interest rates are low, particularly when rates are about two percentage points below their existing home loans. Other factors, like when to finance, will depend on how long you plan to hold on to your home and whether you have to pay considerable fees to refinance. It also will depend on how far along you are in paying off your current mortgage. If you expect to sell your home relatively soon, you are not likely to recoup the costs you incurred to refinance. And if you are more than halfway through paying your current mortgage, you probably will gain little by refinancing. However, if you are going to own your home for at least another five years, that is probably long enough to recoup any refinancing costs and realize real savings as a result of lowering your monthly payment. In fact, if it costs you nothing to refinance, you can gain even more. Many lenders will let you roll the costs of the refinancing into the new note and still reduce the amount of the monthly payment. Plus, there are no-cost refinancing deals available. Contact your lender, and its competitors, before you refinance.

Here are five reasons to refinance:

Lower My Payment
Refinance to cut your monthly mortgage payment.
Consolidate My Debt
Pay off your high-interest debt with the right refinance loan.
Get Cash from My Home
Refinance to access equity in your home like cash.
Keep My Payment from Rising
Refinance to lock in your mortgage rate and payment.
Get Cash from My Investment Property
Refinance your investment property to use toward whatever you need.

From MortgageHome:com:

Benefits of Home Refinancing

Imagine a scenario where you can have access to extra cash, while simultaneously lowering your monthly mortgage payment. This dream can become a reality through mortgage refinancing.

A house is the largest asset you may ever own. Likewise, your mortgage payment may be the largest expense you'll have in your monthly budget. Wouldn't it be great to use this asset to reduce your monthly payment and put extra cash in your pocket? When you refinance your mortgage, you can take advantage of the equity in your home and enable this to take place.

Lower Refinance Rate, Lower Payments

When you purchased your dream home, the financial environment dictated interest rates. While certain factors, like your credit rating and the amount of the down payment that you were able to afford, influenced your interest rate, the single most important factor was the prevailing rates at that moment. However, interest rates fluctuate. When the Federal Reserve enters a rate-cutting period, the prevailing rates may become significantly lower than when you originally purchased your home.

By refinancing your mortgage when interest rates are lower, you can exchange a higher interest rate for a lower one, which, in turn, will lower your monthly payment.

Shorten the Length of Your Mortgage when Refinancing

Another advantage of home refinancing is that you can shorten the term of your mortgage. Let's say, for example, that you originally had a 30-year mortgage and have been paying it for eight years. Thanks to mortgage refinancing, you can switch to a shorter term of either 10, 15 or 20 years. This can save you thousands of dollars of interest. Also, if the refinance rate is lower, but you maintain the same monthly payment, you will build up equity in your home more quickly, because more of your payment will be going towards principal.

Exchange an Adjustable Rate for a Fixed Refinance Rate

When interest rates are low, adjustable rate mortgages (ARMs) are the housing market's darlings. However, as interest rates increase, that adjustable rate may not look as sweet. It's also possible that you opted for an ARM because your financial future was less secure, or you weren't sure how long you'd stay in your home. If, however, you've become financially stable and know that you'll be staying in your home for several years, it may be beneficial to swap that fluctuating adjustable rate for a fixed one. You'll have more security knowing that your monthly payment will remain steady, regardless of the current market environment.

Here are my recommended links about refinance: