Debt Refinancing

Replacing existing debt with new debt

Austin Anderson

Reviewed by

Austin Anderson

Expertise: Consulting | Data Analysis


October 2, 2023

What is Debt Refinancing?

The debt refinancing process works when a person takes a new loan, considering more favorable interest rates and loan period, to pay off the previous loan. This process may be assisted by a bank or company that specializes in loans.

The new loan need not necessarily be the same amount as the previous loan. It may be more or less than the previous loan, depending upon what kind of remortgage is required.

During changing circumstances, at times, it is deemed favorable to replace existing debt with new debt. This is done when a beneficiary still owes an old loan and replaces it with a new one at a more favorable interest rate and term (length and amount).

It is usually done when the interest rates drop since the issuance date of the original debt.

The most common reasons for debt refinancing are as follows:

  • Lowering monthly payments or interest rates
  • Shorten the length of the loan
  • Change amortization schedules
  • Get rid of fees and points and/or
  • Any circumstance-specific reason

It is preferred when the following condition is met:

A borrower has not repaid the original loan or owes money on the original loan amount. One can also asset finance, borrowing against an asset like home equity to pay off debts such as study loans or credit cards.

Debt Refinancing Practical Example

For example, a person has three car loans and two credit card loans. He utilizes a home equity loan to refinance two car loans and one credit card loan.

He is now left with one car loan, one credit card loan, and a home equity loan. Home equity finance assisted the individual to substitute an overall large number of credits by refinancing it with home equity finance and hence lowered the overall sum of loans.

Seldom do people take advantage of low mortgage rates through remortgaging debts.

For example, a person with a large mortgage rate, requiring him/her to make excessive monthly payments, benefits through refinancing by taking another loan with a lower mortgage through the same amount of money.

Similarly, when a company takes a large loan and finds out that the interest rate is higher, it appears more profitable to replace the existing strenuous loan with a new one having a relatively lower interest rate or period.

Governments also use this strategy to refinance extensive national debts by borrowing money to pay off large interests.

Understanding Mortgage Refinancing

Refinancing a mortgage can be an effective way to achieve financial goals. There are several types of recapitalization programs. Each program varies from the other based on eligibility criteria and the objective/purpose of the loan.

The type of remortgaging that one chooses will depend on the type of loan, his/her qualification, and financial goals. Again, the need of the borrower is the defining factor in deciding the type of refinancing program.

Following are the common types of remortgaging:

  • Rate-and-term refinance
  • Cash-out refinance
  • Streamline Refinance
  • Cash-in refinance
  • No closing cost refinance
  • Short refinance
  • Fannie Mae High LTV Refinance Option (HIRO)

Types of debt refinancing

Some common types of refinancing are:

1. Rate-and-term refinances

This is the most common type of refinancing. In this case, a homeowner replaces the original loan with a new mortgage loan, with a lower interest rate and better terms and conditions. This may also be used to get rid of mortgage insurance (PMI) or to shift to a lower time loan duration. 

To stabilize monthly payments, an adjustable-rate mortgage may be replaced with a fixed-rate mortgage. Such a refinance option is utilized if the new interest rates are lower than the current rates. Such an option may also be available to remove the PMI.

Rate term refinance loans include conventional fixed rate, adjustable rate, veteran affairs, federal housing administration, and USDA loans. Private money, construction to permanent loans, and seller-financed loans also qualify the criteria.

This option is open for a minimum of a 620-credit score. Further requirements may vary from lender to lender.

2. Cash-out refinances

Homeowners sometimes replace their current home loan with a new mortgage. This allows them to secure a new rate and term. They pull cash out of their homes. This results in a relatively higher principal balance in their new loan. 

Some of the most common reasons homeowners get a cash-out to refinance are to pay for home improvements or repairs, consolidate debt, pay for school, or buy an investment property or vacation home.

People prefer this type of remortgaging when they need cash and do not want to use a credit card or personal loan. This is because it offers a relatively lower interest rate.

Cash-out refinances are available for both conventional and government-backed loans (like VA, FHA, and USDA). However, USDA loans must be refinanced into a new type of loan.

Such a refinance requires a minimum credit score of 620 and a DTI ratio of less than 50%. Equity in the home is also required to retain a part of the LTV ratio.

3. Streamline Refinance

This type of refinancing is preferred by house owners having government-backed mortgages. This type is easier and quicker, as the name suggests. It includes lesser paperwork and no home appraisal.

Credit qualifying and non-credit qualifying are the two types of streamlined refinances. The former type requires a person to have a credit check. The latter requires no credit check. In this type, the new loan is still with the previous organization, just at a different interest rate.

This type of remortgaging is preferred by individuals or organizations who want to continue their affair with the same loan granting entity but simply require a change in interest rates. Federally backed mortgages, including FHA and VA, and USDA loans backed by the U.S.

Unlike other refinancing programs, the department of agriculture requires one to have an existing government-backed mortgage along with a strong history of on-time payments to approve such refinancing.

debt Refinancing Programs

Some unconventional refinancing programs are:

1. Cash-in Refinance

This is the opposite of cash-out refinance. This is done when an entity desires to infuse cash into its home. This type is less common. It is mostly availed by parties who seek to keep their loan amount below a certain threshold or those who desire to keep their LTV below a certain limit.

This is the type most common among individuals who recently revive their inheritance or settlement, or bonus. This enables to ensure a lower monthly payment, decreasing principal.

Such a type of refinancing is considered when a person wants to reduce monthly payments, remove PMI, qualify for a better interest rate, or have a mortgage balance that is lower than the home’s market value.

This type of recapitalization is offered for conventional loans. They’re less common than other types of refinances. Cash-in refinance is available even if a person has less than 20% in their home.

Furthermore, a minimum credit score of 620 is required. Other requirements would vary from lender to lender.

2. Non-closing-cost refinance

The expensive nature of closing costs during a refinance is one of the reasons why people avoid it. The no closing cost refinance is the type that revolves around this issue. This provides a lender credit, which assists in closing costs associated with recapitalization.

In this type, the lender willingly reduces or eliminates the closing cost in return for higher interest rates.

This option is mostly available to homeowners who plan to refinance within 5 years. Otherwise, the concerned party ends up paying up more interest during the entire period of the loan than they would in up-front closing costs.

This option is mostly availed by parties to plan to refinance within a few years. Also, for the entities that do not have the money to pay the closing costs meanwhile, the interest rates are low.

The concerned party requires a minimum of 620 credit score, proof of income, and employment. Further conditions vary from lender to lender.

3. Short-term refinance

The homeowners who are at risk of losing their homes prefer this type of remortgaging. Homeowners who do not have an FHA loan or fall short of their mortgage are sometimes offered short-term refinancing.

In this type, the lender agrees to pay the mortgage sum and replace it with a new loan with a reduced balance. This helps a party to avoid a short sale or a foreclosure. This is the type of recapitalization which is hard to find because of the voluntary nature of the lender.

This option is mostly availed by parties who owe more on their home than the actual worth of the home.

Such entities prefer negotiating with their lenders to bring them into availing of this alternative. It is available on any non-FHA loan, but it is totally up to the lender to offer such an option.

Typically, a person who owes more at the property than the property is worth or is at the risk of foreclosure due to being underwater considers availing of this option. But as mentioned earlier, this is hard to find since it completely depends on the voluntariness of the lender.

For a person to avail of such an alternative, a minimum credit score of 500 is required. Voluntary lenders desiring to provide the borrower with this benefit must also be willing to pay off 10% of the original home debt.

4. Fannie Mae High LTV Refinance Option (HIRO)

This program is quite the same as HARP (home affordability refinance program). It is availed by parties who owe more than the worth of their home.

People who do not have enough equity to refinance and carry a conventional mortgage through Fannie Mae consider this alternative as a slight relief.

This option is availed by parties who have equity of less than 3% in their property and the desire to benefit from a lower interest rate.

Debt refinancing Advantages

Let's take a look at some of the benefits and drawbacks of the Debt Refinancing. Some of the advantages of debt refinancing is that in some cases, debt recapitalization can be beneficial when a beneficiary gets access to the equity in their home.

Recapitalizing a loan allows the benefiter to save money by getting a lower interest rate on a new loan. 

Another benefit of remortgaging is that it can help when a party is struggling financially and needs an extension of the original loan.

The process often involves consolidating debt from multiple different credit cards into one large loan with a lower interest rate. This lowers the borrowers’ monthly payments and can save money over the life of a new loan.

Debt Refinancing Disadvantages

On the other hand, the disadvantages of debt refinancing are;

It is not recommended for people with poor credit because they often face difficulty finding a lender who agrees. Recapitalization does not reduce old debt.

It is different from debt consolidation, which lowers the borrower's interest rate by consolidating all their loans into a new loan with a lower principal amount and new terms.

Debt recapitalization occurs when the borrower replaces an existing loan with a new loan without reducing the amount owed on the original loan.

Remortgaging allows the borrower to benefit from reducing interest costs if interest rates have fallen since they took out the original loan. Debt restructuring does not reduce what is owed on old debt. Borrowers typically must pay for this service when availing it.

Furthermore, refinancing adds more debt to a borrower’s credit card. People with bad credit may refrain from using this alternative as it may cause them to end up in more debt. Therefore, sometimes people find themselves more indebted than before.

This is because a lower interest rate does not necessarily mean a lower payment.

Lenders sometimes observe the timely and responsible nature of the borrower when they meet deadlines. This encourages them to lower their interest rates. It is sometimes suggested to wait for such an option rather than going for refinancing, which might increase the debt burden.

It is often advised not to refinance debt from one credit card to another, except for cases of emergency or when one card has a greater APR than the rest. This may potentially increase the overall debt. People prefer switching cards to a lower APR value.

This may mean ending up with more debt as they are adding another credit card to their balance. It is preferred to possess a card with a higher interest rate first and then transfer to lower rates.

Debt Refinancing FAQs

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Researched and authored by Safee Ullah Khan Babar | LinkedIn

Reviewed and edited by Aditya Salunke I LinkedIn

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