Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Think of the Savings: Our Refinance (Part 1)

Happy Leap Day! And it's time to start wrapping up our refinancing story! Turns out I have a lot to say about refinancing, so our experience is going to be a multi-part series.

And before I leap jump into everything, I have to thank John's sister and her husband for talking about refinancing their mortgage shortly before Christmas. If it hadn't come up in conversation, we probably would have put off refinancing for a while. They purchased their house after us (we've had our house for less than a year) so it really made us think hard about why we were delaying refinancing.

I think we were intimidated by the process. But looking back, it was extremely fast and easy! John and I quickly cruched the numbers over Christmas and decided to talk to the bank once we were back in town. Our original mortgage was sold to Chase, so we asked them about refinancing on December 30, 2011. We closed on our refinance on February 10, 2012. That's less than 1.5 months!

So back to the story. You know how they say everything happens for a reason? I believe it. When we called Chase to schedule a meeting with a loan officer, they asked us to bring a few documents (W-2's, tax returns, bank statements, etc.), but I couldn't find one set of W-2's. I knew we had to provide those items for our original mortgage, so I called Wintrust Mortgage, the bank where we secured our original loan.

I explained to Ryan Mecum (our amazing loan officer) that we were talking to Chase about refinancing and needed copies of W-2's from our file. He had someone from his team pull the documents and said to call back after our meeting with Chase. He told us that Wintrust offers loans at 0.125% less than Chase with the same fees (~$1,850). Had I found the W-2's, we may have waited longer to call Wintrust.

Chase quoted us 4.125% for a 30 year mortgage. And true to Ryan's word, we locked in at 4% with Wintrust. Either way, Lesson #1 of mortgages and refinancing: Get multiple rate and fee quotes. [Side note: We could have locked in at 3.875% had we escrowed our property taxes, but we waived escrow. I'll speak more about our decision in a future post.]

Going with Wintrust had other advantages. Since we had worked with Ryan a year ago, we already had a relationship and knew how their process worked. We knew it was going to be smooth and professional. Wintrust also had all of our financial information from the original loan, so all we had to do was send over updated bank statements and pay stubs for the end of 2011 and early 2012.

By the way, I'm not compensated to say this, but Wintrust Morgage finances mortgage loans in all 50 states. So if you're looking for excellent service, I would give Ryan a call. Ryan might be in Chicago, but he also gets cool points for owning a restaurant in Nashville :)

Next up, cruching the numbers! We were blown away by how much we would save by refinancing!
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