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FAQs - Refinance Application

Ready to refinance your home? We’ve broken the entire experience into simple steps with great information. Check out GTE Financial’s Refinancing 101!

Refinancing Helpful Hints Application PDF

Do I have to be a member in order to apply?

No. Anyone can apply for a GTE Financial home loan; you do not need to be a member first! If you decide to finance with GTE, and you are not already a member, you will become a member of the credit union with your refinance and completion of a membership application.

Should I refinance? What should I consider?

Even though the loan process is similar to a first mortgage, refinancing is different than buying a home. Usually, people need a mortgage if they want to purchase a house. Refinancing only makes sense if it's of benefit to the homeowner - a way to save money. That's why research is really important with a refinance. Some things you may want to consider and know the answer to include:

  1. How long you plan on living in your home. Know your break-even period.

    There's something called a break-even period you need to take into account. When you refinance, there are costs very similar to when you signed for your first mortgage. When your refinance savings exceed the costs of your refinance closing - that's the break-even period. If it takes 5 years to reach that point and you're not planning on being in your home for 5 more years, it does not make sense to refinance. You will move before you realize the savings of your new mortgage.

  2. What your refinance Annual Percentage Rate will be.

  3. What your current APR is.

    When you are looking to lower your monthly payment, a common rule of thumb is to refinance when you can decrease your APR by 2%. Sometimes it is still advantageous with less of a rate reduction, but you have to consider your break-even period – when the amount you save surpasses the cost to refinance. If you are not going to be in your home past the break-even period, a refinance may not be valuable.

  4. How much will it cost for you to close on your new loan.

    How much you have to pay for your refinance is a big determinant of whether or not a refinance is an advantageous decision. Depending on the stage of your loan, there are 3 primary ways you will receive information on how much you owe at closing.
    • Good Faith Estimate (GFE): an itemized list of fees and costs associated with a loan usually provided within 3 business days of applying for a loan, but is highly subject to change.
    • Summary of Charges: another estimate that is also subject to change. When you apply online with GTE Financial, there is a page within the online system that will provide a Summary of Charges as well as Closing Cost Details. The Summary of Charges is usually a bulk number, for example $7,500, and then the Closing Cost Details specifically outline all of the line item costs that get you to your bulk sum. You can receive a Summary of Charges via our online mortgage application or using our Loan Consultant tool. By answering 12 simple questions, the Loan Consultant will calculate available interest rates, total closing costs and monthly payments.
    • HUD Closing Statement: the official and final detailing of what you owe at closing provided by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development. This will be provided to you usually 5 days or more in advance of your closing date.
  5. How much will it cost for you to close on your new loan.

    One of the major questions for a borrower who is refinancing is how much will I have to pay at closing? For a roundabout estimate, your refinancing fees may total between 3% to 6% of your principal balance – what you still owe on your first mortgage.
Should I talk to a Mortgage Specialist before applying?

Most of our applicants actually start a refinance online application without having talked to a GTE Financial Mortgage Specialist first. This website is one big resource, outlining how a refinance works from start to finish. But, of course, if you have questions, you can always call our 24 Hour Mortgage Application Department at 1.888.871.2690 ext. 40407 or visit a Community Financial Center, conveniently located throughout Tampa Bay.

When I ‘Apply for a Refinance’ what am I actually doing?

When you 'Apply for a Refinance' online, it is the first step to getting a mortgage with GTE Financial. Using our online application, you can actually receive an immediate pre-approval on your loan. Your loan is then subject to underwriting, a fancy word for "fact-checking", as well as verification. You will receive paperwork via your email and within our online application system that will verify your approved status for a certain amount and a certain loan program.

Does it cost money to apply for a refinance?

No. There are no costs to filling out the online loan application and receiving a pre-approval.

How long does the online application take?

This can vary a bit depending on how comfortable you are with the information you need to provide. If you are familiar with a home loan application, it will probably only take 30 minutes.

What if my current mortgage is already with GTE Financial? Do I still need to apply online if I want to refinance?

Yes. The online application is the first step for all individuals applying for a refinance.

What if I’ve refinanced before? Is there a limit to how many times I can refinance?

No. There is not a limit to how many times you can refinance your mortgage. Although, the closer you get to paying off your mortgage, the less likely a refinance will be advantageous. Additionally, every time you refinance, you are losing equity, which can take time to build up again.

Once I start an application, do I have to finish it all at once? Or, what if my application closes for some reason?

When you begin an application, you are essentially creating a loan account with a login and password. If you need to step away from the application, or if your computer goes down for some reason, you can always log back in and pick up where you started. Once you finish the application, you can login and check the status of your loan or send emails to us via our integrated emailing system that keeps everything complete within your application.

I am asked to select a loan type and amount in the online application. How do I pick the right one?

Selecting a loan is probably the most intimidating, yet one of the most important steps in the online application process. When you are asked to select a 'Loan Type' for your refinance, for example a 15 Year Fixed mortgage, our system will recommend loans to you based on information you provided in previous steps. You can review the details of a loan, monthly mortgage and even compare loans on this page.

How much can I refinance?

When you are applying for a refinance, select a 'Refinance Amount' that will be sufficient to pay off your existing mortgage(s), as well as any additional cash back you may want. However, you should not include the amount you need to pay in closing costs. Traditionally, the rule of thumb is that you can only refinance up to 80% of the current market value of your home (The market value today may not be what you bought the home for necessarily. You will need to use the current value though during the application). In other words, you need an 80% loan to value ratio (LTV) to qualify for a refinance.

How do I calculate my loan to value ratio (LTV)?

Here are some helpful steps to calculate your LTV.

  • Find out your home's market value.

    Let's use $200,000 (Even if you bought the house 4 years ago for $250,000, use the current value.).

  • Find out the balance of your existing mortgage.

    Your original mortgage was for $250,000, and you have paid $90,000 already, so your principal balance is $160,000 - what you still owe from your first loan.

  • Then divide the balance of your original loan by your home value to get your loan to value ratio (LTV).

    Your LTV ratio would be 80% ($160,000 / $200,000), indicating you have just enough equity in your home that you may qualify for a refinance.
Where can I find an Estimated Home Value?

A great place to start is online! Estimated Home Value is just that - an estimation. Prior to closing on your loan, an official appraisal will be done on the home to determine its actual value. There are several websites online that can provide you an Estimated Home Value. None of these sites are endorsed by GTE Financial, so we cannot guarantee their accuracy; however, they are a good place to start. Additionally, it will not benefit you to inflate your home value. It's best to try and get as realistically close to your market value as possible.

  • Step 1: On Google, search 'Estimated Home Value'.
  • Step 2: www.realestate.yahoo.com/homevalues is a website that comes up in the search results.
  • Step 3: Simply type in your address, city, state and zip, then hit search. This site will actually show you the 'Value Range 'of your home, as well as two different estimators, for example Zillow.com and eppraisals.com.
  • GTE Financial can guarantee the accuracy of external websites.
After I complete a refinance application what happens?

Once you complete all of the necessary steps, your loan application may receive an instant credit approval online or your application may require further review. You will receive correspondence from GTE Financial regarding your loan status. A GTE Financial Mortgage Specialist will also call you to follow-up.

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