Refinancing a mortgage means paying off an existing loan and replacing it with a new one. There are many reasons why homeowners refinance:
A point is a percentage of the loan amount, or 1-point = 1% of the loan, so one point on a $100,000 loan is $1,000. Points are costs that need to be paid to a lender to get mortgage financing under specified terms. Discount points are fees used to lower the interest rate on a mortgage loan by paying some of this interest up-front. Lenders may refer to costs in terms of basic points in hundredths of a percent, 100 basis points = 1 point, or 1% of the loan amount.
Yes, if you plan to stay in the property for a least a few years. Paying discount points to lower the loan's interest rate is a good way to lower your required monthly loan payment, and possibly increase the loan amount that you can afford to borrow. However, if you plan to stay in the property for only a year or two, your monthly savings may not be enough to recoup the cost of the discount points that you paid up-front.
Mortgage rates can change from the day you apply for a loan to the day you close the transaction. If interest rates rise sharply during the application process it can increase the borrower’s mortgage payment unexpectedly. Therefore, a lender can allow the borrower to "lock-in" the loan’s interest rate guaranteeing that rate for a specified time period, often 30-60 days.
It's unclear how interest rates will move at any given time. If you are happy with the current rates, you should strongly consider locking as it is difficult to accurately forecast future rates. Or, if you wish to take a risk that rates may go lower and your budget could handle a higher loan payment if they go higher, you may want to let interest rates "float" until the loan closing.
Even with poor credit getting a home loan is still possible. A lender will consider you to be a risky borrower and to compensate for this they will charge you a higher interest rate, and expect a higher down payment usually 20%-50%. The worse your credit history is, the more you can expect to pay.
Not necessarily, if you've been late with your payments less than 3-times in the past year, and the payments were no more than 30-days late, you still have a good change at getting a competitive interest rate. Most lenders will accept certain reasons for this like an illness, or job-change, but explanations are required.