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All the info you’ll need to refinance your mortgage

Jun 2, 2020
Empower Insights

Track down these documents and details before you apply

Interest rates have hit record lows during the global Covid-19 pandemic. Refinancing to take advantage of those super-low rates can be a great way to reduce your monthly mortgage payments at a time when many budgets are especially tight. With the extra savings, you gain more money to put toward other necessities and goals, such as building your nest egg for retirement.

Submitting your application to refinance is similar to the process you went through when you applied for a mortgage. It can be involved, and you may be asked for the same information more than once. But the more care you take in putting your application together, the more likely things are to go smoothly.

Here are the documents and details you’ll need to gather for your application, which you can tackle from home. In many cases, electronic copies are fine; just be sure to use your lender’s secure upload tool to protect your personal information.

Current mortgage information. Make a copy of your most recent mortgage statement, so you can show the interest rate, unpaid principal balance and maturity date of your current home loan.

Proof of income. Provide copies of your pay stubs or online employment records from the last 60 days, in addition to your W-2 forms from the previous two years, to show your employment income. If you’re self-employed, you may need to provide recent tax returns and profit/loss statements.

Credit history. A high credit score and strong credit history can help you get a lower interest rate and better terms. While you don’t need perfect credit, many lenders require a minimum score, such as 620, for refinancing. Contact your credit card company to get your credit score, and get a free copy of your credit report by contacting one of the three national credit bureaus.

Other income. If you receive child support, alimony, Social Security or a pension, make sure to include records that show how much you collect each month.

Total assets. Include records accounting for all your current assets, including how much you have in savings accounts, CDs, stocks, bonds, mutual funds and retirement accounts.

Debt load. Gather records for all your outstanding debt, including credit card debt, car loans, home equity loans and student loans.

Estimated home value. For your initial application, you can find and use an estimate from an online resource such as Realtor.com. Later in the process, you may be asked to get an appraisal of your home to provide a more thorough valuation.

Homeowners insurance. Your insurance company can give you a declaration page stating your policy coverage in detail. This page may be available through your online account, or you may have it filed away with your original policy paperwork. If not, contact your insurance company for a copy.

Letters of explanation. If you have a spotty credit history or any notable gaps in employment, you can write a letter explaining the circumstances and the measures you took to correct any financial issues you experienced.

All of your effort can help you lock in a lower interest rate that can provide greater financial flexibility

 Preparing all this information helps show lenders your overall financial picture and instill confidence in your ability to make payments. Remember to be careful and accurate in your application materials — and anticipate questions. All your effort can help you lock in a lower interest rate that can provide greater financial flexibility.

Save your extra money in an Empower Investment Account

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