Sunday, December 21, 2008

Refinancing Calculator

I'm actually pretty proud of the utility of this calculator. I hope you find it as helpful as I have in finding the interest rate needed to make refinancing make sense.

Loan Balance: $
Lender Fees: $
Fixed Costs: $
Total Closing Costs: Your javascript is disabled.

Finance Closing Costs:
Final Loan Balance: Your javascript is disabled.

Current loan information:
Monthly payment: $
Current rate:

Show rates:
Your javascript is disabled.

First off, I apologize for any style issues. Using blogger has it's drawbacks, especially when putting scripts or styles in a post - the formatting has to be unreadable or the automatic line-breaks-to-br-tags conversion makes them not work at all. I also can't make the table any wider without really screwing things up, apparently. Now, on to the explanation:

Hopefully all the columns are self-explanatory except the last few. The "Monthly Savings" column refers to the difference in total payment amounts. The adjacent "Months to Recoup Costs" column uses this value to figure out how many months it would take before your out-of-pocket costs are back in your pocket. Thus, this column is best used when you are NOT financing your closing costs as part of the new loan.

The "Monthly Interest Savings" column is how much less (or more) interest you pay per month as part of your monthly payment. When you finance the closing costs, then, the last "Months to Recoup Costs" column shows how many months it will take to get the new loan balance back to your current loan's levels.

Any comments or suggestions on how to improve this post? Barring blogger limitations, I will do my best!

Saturday, December 6, 2008

Mortgage Refinancing

I submitted my info to a couple days ago and have been talking with mortgage people all yesterday. At the moment, the best rate I can get is 5.125% with 0 points. My current rate of 5.75% is already a decent rate, but refinancing would lower my minimum monthly payment by about $100, while increasing the amount of principal I pay each month. I would recoup my refinancing costs inside a year, but I'm still not sure if it's worth it.

The worsening economy hints that interest rates may fall further, but every month I wait, I'm effectively adding $100 to my closing costs. I'm not sure if refinancing works the same way as a first mortgage, but with my first one, it was best to close at the very end of the month to reduce the amount of prepaid interest you have to pay. Sometime next week I think I might be going to the Community Home Lending offices and discussing the timing of everything. It may be that I have a few weeks to think about it just waiting for an optimal closing date.

What are other people's thoughts on refinancing? Any questions I should definitely ask?

Friday, December 5, 2008

Chase Freedom Rewards

My Chase Freedom credit card gives me an extra $50 bonus if I save up my rewards until I get $200. I'm quite close, and after this month, I may just hit the $200 mark. I've been putting tons of stuff on my credit card, including buying gifts online on behalf of my parents as a method of paying them back the money I borrowed earlier. I also purchased a new TV for the living room; a Sharp Aquos 42" LCD 1080p.

All told, I've got $1300 in purchases racked up over just two orders. Since I get at least 1% back on that (plus 2% of the ~$500 I spent at, I'm estimating a healthy reward for doing my part in helping the economy recover. Oh, and I'm thinking of spending another $350 or so to get a second 24" monitor so I can be more productive during my online TV watching. In fact, I may just do that tomorrow...