While most Americans likely know their shoe size or age of their children, over a third do not know the interest rates of their mortgages. These people are more likely to care what their mortgage payments are, and what portion of their monthly budget this represents. Also, the cost to refinance to get a lower payment has its risks.
According to a study by a mortgage research company:
Just over one-third of mortgage borrowers (35%) aren’t completely sure of the interest rate they are paying, according to a new Bankrate.com report. That includes an alarming one in seven mortgage holders who are “not too confident,” “not at all confident” or simply have no idea.
The same organization’s management says the ignorance might have negative consequences:
“Your mortgage rate is one of the most important numbers in your financial life, and there’s a good chance that one of your neighbors has no idea regarding how much he or she is paying,” said Holden Lewis, a senior mortgage analyst at Bankrate.com. “Given how far mortgage rates have fallen, these people could be missing substantial opportunities to save money by refinancing.”
For many homeowners, perhaps the option is dangerous — financially. There are substantial costs to refinance mortgages, and many Americans may not qualify because of credit scores.
Bankrate warned against the refinance option, according to its own research posted less than two years ago:
According to Bankrate’s 2012 closing cost survey, the national average for closing costs on a $200,000 loan was $3,754. The fees in the survey don’t include taxes, insurance or prepaid items such as prorated interest or homeowner association dues.
For example, if your monthly payment goes down by $157, it would take 24 months of lower payments to recoup the average closing costs. Bankrate’s refinancing calculator lets you input your costs and the loan terms to calculate the months it will take to recoup your costs.
In theory, mortgage rates are important, financially. They do not rise and fall as rapidly as gasoline prices or the price for a cup of coffee. However, at least a gallon of gas or cup of coffee is not expensive enough that it matters.
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