Refinancing now could lead to big savings

By Courtney Lane - bio | email

SMITH COUNTY (KLTV) - Mortgage rates are the lowest they've been since 1971, so now may be the time to refinance or buy a new home. But it is a whole new game out there. While the rates are at a record low, the scrutiny on lenders is at an all-time high.

Getting a home loan is no longer easy for anyone. Mortgage banker Cody Castagno says now they have to validate things like your W-2's, social security number, tax returns, bank statements, not to mention you need a high credit score.

"Even if they have a 790 credit score putting down 20% they still might not take it," said Castagno.  "I mean they want months of reserves, they want to make sure if people lose their job they can make these payments until they get on their feet so it's a whole new ball game."

He says now it takes three to four weeks to close a loan when it used to take one.

"These banks just got burned," said Castagno, "They lost billions of dollars and they're just trying to make sure they don't give any bad loans."

But there is a flip side. Interest rates are plunging from 4.5% to 5%, a figure no one has seen in nearly 40 years.

"Congress is trying to figure out something cause there's nobody buying," said Castagno.  "Jobs, there are millions of people without jobs so they've got to get something to get it going."

Castagno says now is a great time to buy or refinance. Depending on your current interest rate you could save hundreds a month by refinancing.

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