Home owners in Berks County and around the nation are taking advantage of incredibly low mortgage rates and refinancing their homes. If you're thinking about refinancing your mortgage, what should you expect in this current market?

It takes time

Typically, a refi can be completed in as little as 21 days, and it's possible it may happen that fast right now. But there is a huge increase in loan applications, so you should expect it to take a bit longer. Even last year, it was taking as long as 35-45 days to complete the process. Be patient and allow for time for the process to complete.

Rates may fluctuate

As low as rates are now, they could go even lower. But it's hard to tell exactly where they will go in this market. That's why you should talk to your lender about when you should lock your rate.

Locking in your rate means that your interest rate won't change between the offer and the closing, as long as you stick to the closing date on your application. Rate locks are typically available for 30, 45, or 60 days, and sometimes longer. If your rate is not locked, it can change at any time.

You might not get the lowest rate 

The rate you get depends on your credit, so that means you may not get the lowest rate. You need a credit score of at least 700 to get the lowest rates. If you have a rate lower than that, check your credit history to see if you can clear up any discrepancies to try to raise your score.

You might need an appraisal

Depending on the type of loan you're getting, you may need to get an appraisal. If you’re refinancing from one FHA loan to another, you’ll probably only need an exterior appraisal. In this case, an appraiser will come and measure and take pictures of the outside of your home only. 

If you are refinancing to a conventional loan from an FHA loan, then you should plan on having an appraiser to do a thorough examination of your home, both inside and outside. A streamline refi will not usually require an appraisal.

You may get money back

In some cases, you may get some cash back in hand. Talk to your lender to see what your options are if you want cash to make home improvements. You may also be able to skip a couple of payments instead of getting cash back directly.

Even though we live in turbulent times, there are ways we can restructure our lives to make things a little easier to handle. Refinancing your home in Berks County may just be what you need to ease your financial burdens.

Make sure to visit to our blog every week for more real estate advice, along with local Berks County articles. Need help finding the perfect home for sale in Berks County? Our powerful home search tool will help you find the home of your dreams.