When you choose to refinance something, you usually decide to do it because it makes your previous financing options or purchases more affordable. What exactly does it mean to refinance? Fundamentally, it’s when you decide to revise the terms of a previous credit agreement. Most often, you’ll refinance when nationally-set interest rates go down and can result in savings on monthly payments with a new agreement.
How Does Refinancing Work?
Refinancing is essentially just getting a new loan to replace an old one. The main motivation for refinancing is dependent on the market and the current interest rate environment, but if your business credit has improved, that’s also a reason to refinance a loan. Typically, during times of slow economic growth, interest rates will be lower to stimulate spending and investment. During times of expansion, however, interest rates will be higher.
Different Types of Refinancing
- Rate-and-term refinancing: when a borrower directly replaces the existing loan with one with a lower rate.
- Cash-out refinancing: when a borrower takes out a loan for more than they owe on the previous loan, so they can use the extra cash to pay off other debts.
- Cash-in refinancing: when a borrower pays cash for some of the remaining loans, in order to lower the loan-to-value ratio or get smaller monthly payments.
- Consolidation refinancing: when a borrower takes out one, lower-interest loan to pay off several, higher-interest debts.
The Best Strategies
How do you know when the best time to refinance is, or if you should refinance at all? First, calculate it (this one is specifically for mortgages, but the results are easily transferable to other loans), then, consider these factors:
Falling Interest Rates
The best strategy for loan refinancing is to pay attention to national interest rates. Interest rates fluctuate based on policy, global factors and the economy. If national interest rates fall, and you can get a new loan at one to two percent below your current rate, then it’s reasonable to consider refinancing in order to secure that lower rate and save money. This is an example of rate-and-term refinancing, where the existing loan is paid and replaced with one with a lower rate.
Increase in Value
If the thing you used the loan to purchase – property, equipment, etc. – increases in its value (this will usually only happen with property because most equipment depreciates in value), that could be a reason to refinance. This idea works well with cash-out refinancing. With this, you take out more than your current loan amount left to pay and use the extra cash to pay off other debts. If your property has increased in value, you’re more likely to be able to take out more money than what you owe.
The better your credit, the better your rates and terms on loans usually are. If your credit score and financial health have increased significantly, refinancing could save you money because it can lower your interest rates.
The technique of consolidating debt means that a borrower takes out a lower-interest loan to pay off one or several higher-interest debts. This is a refinancing technique used with things like credit card debts – if you have several different credit card debts, it might be beneficial to take out a single loan to pay them all off, so you can only have one payment at a single, lower interest rate.
Things to Look Out For
Closing costs – Some new loans may have closing costs, which are usually based on a percentage. Make sure you calculate in the closing costs when you’re trying to figure out if the refinancing will save you money, because you could end up paying more even if the interest rate is lower.
Prepayment penalties – Make sure the loans you’re paying off in full don’t have prepayment penalties for paying them off earlier than the agreed-upon term. If they do have prepayment penalties, make sure you calculate to check that their cost doesn’t outweigh the lower interest rates in the long run.
Keep in mind – It often makes more sense to refinance early in a mortgage or loan repayment because you don’t own as much equity in the thing your financing (like property). Most loans amortize, and therefore most early payments go more toward the interest than the cost of the actual purchase. Later-on in a loan, you’re making more payments toward the actual purchase, so you own more equity in the purchase. When you refinance, you’re essentially starting over by taking out a new loan, and it will take you even longer to build up equity.
There are also things you shouldn’t do. Just because refinancing can lower the total cost of a loan doesn’t mean it’s always the best idea in the long-run. When you refinance unsecured debts with a secured loan, it can be a risk – which is sometimes the case when consolidating debts. This is because you risk putting assets – like your home or car – at risk for repossession or foreclosure. Another risk could be that you end up paying more because you extend the loan, as opposed to paying more per month but for a shorter period of time. If you start a new 30-year loan when you only have 10 years left on the original loan, it could add up to paying more, even if the interest is less.
Confused by all these options? If you’re looking to refinance debts, reach out to us at FaaSfunds. We have business financial experts that can help you make all the right choices for your business. Click the button below to get started today!