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5 Tips for Deciding Whether to Refinance Your Mortgage: An Interview with Jeff Tufford of Epic Mortgage Group

By Jeff Tufford NMLS #160841

Tell us a little bit about your company and the services you offer.

We are a division of Success Mortgage Partners NMLS 130562, which is a Michigan based lender in Plymouth. So, we make the lending decisions and typically don't rely on outside underwriters who may not be reachable when we need them or have the same values and goas as we do. So, it works really well.

We offer Conventional, FHA, VA, USDA (RD / Rural) and Jumbo loans. We have a system that updates all parties each step of the way so as the loan progresses, the client and the realtors (on purchase loans) are all on the same pages and don't wonder what is going on.

We are able to get things done that others can't due to a few things: Doing our own underwriting, knowing the program guidelines inside and out and having one of our core principles be that we will go the extra mile to make sure we help our customers reach their goals if humanly possible. So, just because a deal isn't easy doesn't mean we aren't getting it done!

What are the main reasons people choose to refinance their mortgage?

I'd say there are four:
1) Lower their payment: The focus is simply to lower the monthly amount.
2) Lower their overall cost: The focus is how much am I going to pay in total before the loan is gone. So, they may refinance into a 15 yr loan which increases their payment, but will save them money in the long run.
3) Eliminate PMI: People HATE PMI and if you have, say, an FHA loan that was written after June 2012, you will have MIP (different name, same concept) until the loan is paid off. If you refinance into a conventional loan and you have 20% equity, you can rid yourself of PMI.
4) Get cash out: It can be to pay off debt, renovate, fund your business, take a vacation or a number of different other reason.

How much equity do you need before considering refinancing?

It depends on the program. VA, FHA and USDA (RD) have programs that allow you to refinance one of their loans into another one of their loans without an appraisal, so you need no equity. Conventional loans with Fannie Mae or Freddie Mac as the servicer (you won't know if they are or not, but we can help figure it out) have a program that allows for people to refinance even with negative equity. These are for deals with no cash out, but they can be done.

If a homeowner's credit scores are low, will this affect their ability to refinance their mortgage?

Yes. Refinances and purchases alike generally have the same credit requirements. The terms of the mortgage are also effected by credit score as well.

Can someone refinance if they have a second mortgage?

Yes. Second mortgages can be paid off with proceeds from the first mortgage (it will generally be considered cash out if the mortgage wasn't obtained in conjunction with the purchase of the home) or they may be re-subordinated which means the lender on the second mortgage must allow for the first mortgage to be replaced while it remains in place as the second lien.

Are there any risks associated with refinancing a home?

The biggest risk is the cost of the appraisal. Appraisals generally costs $375-$500. So, if you pay that and the loan is denied due to the value being insufficient, then you have lost that money. That is the primary risk.

What's the best way for people to contact you and/or your company?

They can call the office or email me. They can also find us on the internet and Facebook.


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