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Refinancing your mortgage can help you lower your monthly payments and/or spend less in interest. If you refinance, you may be able to lengthen or shorten the repayment period. Here are some factors to consider.

Should You Extend Your Loan Term?
If you want to reduce your monthly payments, you can refinance to a new mortgage that will extend the overall repayment period. For example, if you took out a 30-year mortgage and have been making payments for 15 years, you have 15 years left on the original loan. You may choose to take out a new 30-year mortgage and spread your remaining principal over a new 30-year period. That will reduce your monthly housing costs, but it will take you a total of 45 years to pay off the mortgage, not the 30 you had originally planned on. You will also pay more in interest overall.

If you have a lot of high-interest credit card debt or another type of loan, refinancing and reducing your mortgage payments can give you some breathing room to tackle your other debt. Lowering your mortgage payments can also give you additional funds to put toward saving for retirement or your children’s college education. On the other hand, extending the loan term may affect your retirement plans.

Is Shortening Your Mortgage Term a Better Choice?
Maybe you took out a 30-year mortgage to have affordable payments, but your income has increased, and you can now afford to pay more each month. If you’re financially secure, have little debt aside from your mortgage and are already saving for retirement and college, it may make sense to refinance to a shorter term, pay off your home loan faster and pay less in interest. Doing so may also help you achieve another important goal, such as freeing yourself from debt before you retire.

Because of the way mortgage payments are structured, you pay more in interest in the early years of the repayment period. As time passes, less money from each monthly payment goes toward interest and more goes toward principal. If you have paid off the bulk of your principal and you refinance to a shorter loan term, your monthly payments may become more affordable. You may also qualify for a lower interest rate, which can reduce the total you will pay in interest charges.

Look at a Range of Options
The loan term you choose, the interest rate you qualify for and the amount of principal you owe will affect your future monthly payments, the total amount you will pay in interest and how long it will take to pay off your mortgage. If you’re thinking about refinancing, request quotes from several lenders and look at a variety of loan terms to choose the best option for you.