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Personal Finance > Credit & Debt

Find $10/day: Refinance your mortgage
Refis can make sense even in a rising-rate environment.
September 27, 2004: 8:42 AM EDT
By Jean Chatzky, MONEY Magazine

• Reduce your credit card rates
• Refinance your mortgage
• Consolidate your student loans
• Refinance your car loan
• Get rid of mortgage insurance
• Change your withholding

NEW YORK (MONEY Magazine) - Even when mortgage rates rise, you might still consider refinancing your home if one of the following holds true:

* Interest rates are still lower than when you took out your loan, even by just a half to three-quarters of a point.

* Your credit score has improved by 25 points or more.

* You've paid down enough of your mortgage to turn a jumbo loan (which, in 2004, is more than $333,700 for a single-family house) into a conforming loan.

* Your situation is so dire that you need to think about stretching out the term of your loan even if you don't get a better rate.

The farther along you are into your mortgage, the more you can lower your payments with a refi.

So how do you proceed? Call your current lender and ask about a "streamlined refi," which has less paperwork, fewer administrative hassles and substantially lower costs than a regular refi.

If you can't get your lender to play ball, shop around.

There is no single source for the best rates on a mortgage these days. Check local lenders, online lenders and mortgage brokers to see whether any of them can give you a rate that makes the deal worth doing.

If you find a rate that works for you, lock it in. Rates can move as much as half a point from week to week.

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