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If you were having trouble affording your mortgage payments and you put your home on the market, but it has not yet attracted a buyer, you may consider staying there and refinancing instead. However, that may be challenging.

Why Lenders May Be Reluctant to Refinance Your Mortgage
If you refinance your mortgage, the lender will have to pay for loan origination costs and other upfront expenses. If you try to refinance while your house is listed for sale, a lender may be concerned that you will sell it soon after refinancing and quickly pay off the new mortgage. That won’t give the lender enough time to make a profit from interest payments. If you refinance and the lender sells the loan on the secondary market, and then you pay it off quickly, the lender that refinanced the mortgage may be required to buy back the loan.

How You May Be Able to Refinance Your Mortgage
Before you can refinance, you will have to show the lender that you no longer want to sell the house and that you have decided to continue living there. Many programs will require you to take your house off the market and keep it off the market for a period of time before you can refinance the mortgage. That may range from one day to several months or more, depending on the lender.

A lender may also require you to sign a document saying that you intend to live in the house for a minimum amount of time after refinancing. If you violate those terms, you may be charged with fraud.

You may be able to find a lender that will refinance your mortgage to a new loan with a prepayment penalty. That will allow the lender to make money if you sell your house and pay off the new mortgage before the term has ended. 

A prepayment penalty may be several thousand dollars. If you choose to refinance to a loan with a prepayment penalty, you may be able to sell your house after, but that won’t always be a wise financial move. When you consider the penalty and refinancing costs, you may not save much money, if any, in the long run. 

Refinancing Your Mortgage May Be Difficult, But Not Impossible
Refinancing may be possible, but if you decide to go that route, you should expect the process to be challenging. You may have to search hard to find a lender that will be willing to refinance your mortgage and commit to staying in your house longer than you had planned.

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