What Is a Cash-Out Refinance?
A cash-out refinance is a refinancing of an existing mortgage loan, where the new mortgage loan is for a larger amount than the existing mortgage loan, and you (the borrower) get the difference between the two loans in cash. Basically, homeowners do cash-out refinances so they can turn some of the equity they’ve built up in their home into cash.
Here’s an example to illustrate: Let’s say you own a $300,000 house and still owe $200,000 on the current mortgage. (This means you’ve built up $100,000 in equity – a fancy word for ownership). You could do a cash-out refinance to get this money. If you did this, you’d get a new loan worth a total of $230,000 (the $200,000 you still owe on your home, plus the $30,000 you’re going to take out in cash).
Costs of a Cash-Out Refinance
A cash-out refinance is similar to a regular refinancing of your mortgage in that you’re going to have to pay closing costs. These can add up to hundreds or even thousands of dollars. Plus, you’re going to have to pay interest on the cash that you get out (in addition, of course, to the mortgage amount), which can add up to thousands of dollars over the life of the loan.
Uses of the Cash
Typically, you can use the cash you get from a cash-out refinance on pretty much anything you want, be it paying down your credit card debt or taking a vacation. In practice, however, some uses of the money are smarter than others.
If you have high interest debt such as credit cards, it may make sense to use a cash-out refinance to pay off this debt (do the math to make sure the all-in costs, including the closing costs for the cash-out refi, work out), because the interest you pay for your credit card likely far exceeds the interest on your new mortgage loan.
In doing this, you get other perks, too: You may boost your credit score by paying down your maxed-out credit cards, and you can get a tax benefit from moving the credit card debt to mortgage debt because you can deduct mortgage interest on your taxes.
It may also make sense to use this money to do home improvements, which can boost your home’s value down the road. Just remember, no matter what you use the cash for, it’s risky: You could lose your house if you don’t repay the new mortgage loan amount.
Restrictions of a Cash-Out Refinance
Many lenders won’t give borrowers in certain kinds of situations the option to do a cash-out refinance. Some common limits include: You may have to https://paydayloansohio.net/cities/heath/ have a minimum credit score (often this is higher than with a regular refinance), have owned your home for at least a year and have a loan-to-value ratio (that’s the mortgage amount divided by the appraised value of the property) that’s a maximum of around 85 percent.
Because of the costs associated with a cash-out refinance, you should also consider options such as a home equity loan (HEL) or a home equity line of credit (HELOC). Unlike a cash-out refinance, a home equity loan or line of credit is taken out separately from your existing mortgage. A home equity line of credit is basically a line of credit in which your home is the collateral; similar to a credit card, you can withdraw money from this line of credit whenever you need it up to a certain amount.
The interest rate tends to be adjustable. A home equity loan is a separate loan on top of your existing mortgage (again with your home as collateral), where you get the money you need in one lump sum (rather than withdrawing it when you need it as you do with a HELOC). Interest rates are fixed.
To pick which one is right for you, consider your needs: Do you want the money in a lump sum? If so, opt for a HEL or a cash-out refinance; if not, consider a HELOC. And, most importantly, do the all-in math: With closing costs, fees and total interest costs, which one will be the least expensive option for you? Note that interest rates are often lower on cash-out refinances than on home equity loans or lines of credit, but closing costs are often higher. Plus, the cash-out refinance resets the term of your loan, so you may pay more in interest over the long haul.
The Bottom Line
A cash-out refinance can be a good idea assuming you get a good interest rate, you know you can easily – and ideally quickly – pay back the new loan, and you need the cash for a worthwhile cause such as home improvements or paying down high-interest debt.
Just be careful: If you don’t pay off this loan in full and on time, you can lose your home. On the other hand, you should not do a cash-out refinance if you’re not getting a better interest rate on the new loan, you want to spend the money on something such as a vacation or shopping spree and/or you’re worried about being able to pay back the new, larger loan.