By Brandon Durham

Is your blood pressure rising with today’s interest rates?

Take a deep breath, because it’s never too late to explore refinancing options.

The mortgage market has had interest rates near historic lows for the better part of a decade with many consumers taking advantage and lowering their monthly housing costs by refinancing to a lower rate. Beginning last fall and accelerating after the election, interest rates have been on the rise and we have a lot of clients asking if now is too late to refinance. In short, it’s never too late to explore your options since refinancing can bring out a number of opportunities in any interest rate environment.

15-Year Fixed Refinance

Look at the term of your loan. There are alternatives to the standard 30-year fixed. Refinancing down to a 15-year fixed generally comes with a reduced rate and will help you pay off your mortgage at twice the speed. Adjustable Rate Mortgages (ARM) are great for homeowners only planning to stay in the home a shorter period of time, five to seven years as an example, before moving on to another home. These offer a lower rate because the fixed period is much less than the 30-year traditional term. Selling or refinancing again within that fixed timeframe would ensure you do not enter the adjustable period and have any surprises.

Cash-Out Refinance

Since the economic crisis of 2008, homeowners are enjoying the benefit of increasing equity in their homes, with Phoenix at a 9.2-percent increase over the last 12 months, according to Zillow. A cash-out refinance allows you to install a new pool before summer comes or upgrade your kitchen to granite counters for the next dinner party. Putting this equity back into the home is a great way to reinvest into the property, and enjoy it too. For the savvy investor, the cash out refinance may give you the down payment necessary to purchase a second home for your family or a rental property for another family to enjoy while you begin your real estate portfolio and make your money work for you.

When talking about a refinance, know that rates can change at the drop of a dime. When discussing with your lender, make sure you ask about the importance of “locking,” which protects you from that point of any market swings through the lock period.

Brandon Durham is the corporate training manager for Homeowners Financial Group.