The difference between loan modification and refinancing is that with a loan mod, the lender agrees to reduce the interest rate or extend your repayment plan. A refinance will generally involve changing payment terms on an existing mortgage.

When it comes to loan modification vs refinancing, which is better for you? The “does covid loan modification affect credit score” will help you decide.

Loan modification vs refinancing: Which is better for you?

Homeowners who are behind on their mortgage payments have two options for getting out of debt: a home loan modification or a mortgage refinance, both of which have advantages and disadvantages.

Let’s look into loan modifications vs. refinancing to discover whether either is suited for your specific financial circumstances.

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What Is a Loan Modification and How Does It Work?

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A home loan modification is a change in the way a house mortgage loan is structured, with the goal of providing financial assistance to homeowners who are suffering.

Unlike refinancing a mortgage, which pays off the existing loan and replaces it with a new one, a loan modification modifies the present loan’s terms and circumstances.

The following are examples of loan conditions that may change if the mortgage lender approves them.

  • The payback schedule for the loan. A loan modification may lengthen the loan’s term, giving the borrower extra time to repay the amount.
  • A reduced rate of interest. Borrowers may be able to cut their interest rates on an existing mortgage loan via loan modifications. A homeowner’s monthly mortgage payment might be reduced if the interest rate is lower.
  • Switch to a fixed-rate loan from an adjustable-rate loan. Some borrowers may have adjustable-rate mortgages, which enable interest rates to fluctuate throughout the course of the loan. Over the life of the loan, a fixed-rate loan provides predictable monthly payments.

Because mortgage lenders are under no duty to amend the terms and conditions of a house loan, even if the borrower is behind on payments, a loan modification may be more difficult to qualify for than refinancing. The lender may need hardship letters, bank statements, tax returns, proof of income, and other documents to demonstrate financial hardship.

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What Does It Mean to Refinance a Loan?

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A house loan refinancing does more than change the terms of a mortgage loan; it also replaces the existing loan with a new loan with a different interest rate, a longer or shorter term, or both.

Refinancing a house loan may be done to take advantage of reduced interest rates, but there are many other reasons to do so.

  • Extend the time for payment. Paying out a debt over a longer period of time reduces the monthly payment and relieves some of the borrower’s financial stress. It might be a viable alternative for keeping the house out of foreclosure.
  • Reduce the time it takes to repay a debt. Some homeowners may choose to refinance their mortgage into a loan with a shorter term (e.g., from a 30-year to a 15-year home loan). While this may raise monthly loan payments based on the new loan’s interest rate, it will almost certainly lower the total cost of the house loan since the homeowner will be able to pay off the full mortgage loan sooner.
  • Refinancing a cash-out loan. If there is sufficient home equity, mortgage refinancing may also be a feasible option to a personal loan, allowing homeowners to borrow more than the present loan total.

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Pros and Cons of Refinancing vs. Loan Modification

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Each homeowner’s reasons for a mortgage loan modification or refinancing are unique.

Borrowers who are unable to make payments and are hoping to protect their homes from being foreclosed on generally seek loan modification.

Refinancing a mortgage is more of a choice than a last option before foreclosure since lenders often want a loan to be in good standing in order to qualify for refinancing.

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The Advantages of Refinancing a Loan

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Borrowers with a solid financial foundation are more likely to qualify for a new loan with favorable conditions. A loan refinancing may be advantageous to a borrower for a variety of reasons:

  • Interest rates are lower. A creditworthy borrower may be able to qualify for lower interest rates than their existing loan, perhaps saving money throughout the loan’s term.
  • Change the loan’s repayment period. A shorter loan period may result in higher monthly payments, but it is likely to save money in the long run. A longer loan term normally implies cheaper monthly payments, but if the interest rate is not lower than the present mortgage, it may cost more over the life of the loan.
  • Refinance with cash out. One approach to take advantage of home equity is to refinance a mortgage, which is a loan secured by the borrower’s house. The new loan is for a higher amount than what is owing, the previous loan is paid off, and the remaining funds may be utilized for home improvements or debt consolidation.

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Refinancing a Loan Has Drawbacks

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Considering the disadvantages of refinancing as well as the advantages might assist borrowers in making financial choices that are in their best interests.

  • It’s time to start processing. Refinancing entails taking out a new loan and completing all of the necessary paperwork, which may take anywhere from 30 to 45 days. Even if it’s the same lender as your present mortgage, the lender may need an evaluation of your house. Lenders will also need proof of income and employment, as well as a debt check on the applicant’s credit history.
  • Qualifying. An applicant with excellent credit is more likely to be accepted for a home loan refinancing than one with poor credit. When evaluating a home loan application, lenders will look at credit reports. Small changes in your credit score may have a major impact on the interest rate you’re given and, as a result, the total cost of your loan.
  • Closing Expenses Refinancing may or may not be a suitable choice depending on how much time is left on the loan. It’s critical to evaluate the total cost of the two loans — the existing mortgage and the possible new loan — taking into consideration any lender-imposed closing expenses, whether those costs are paid in cash or rolled into the new mortgage loan, and how soon they may be recouped.

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The Advantages of Loan Modification

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Loan modification may be seen as a bad choice for avoiding foreclosure, but there are perks that might be associated with it as well.

  • Processing time is reduced. Because loan modifications must be performed with the same lender — as opposed to refinancing, which is an entirely new loan with the applicant’s choice of lender — the time from start to completion is likely to be shorter.
  • Increased home equity is a possibility. Negotiating a loan principle decrease might effectively boost the borrower’s equity in their house. The home’s value is unchanged, but the amount due is reduced.
  • Modifications to the loan’s terms. It may be feasible to extend the loan term, resulting in lower monthly payments. Alternatively, if the initial interest rate was variable, switching to a fixed rate might result in a savings throughout the life of the loan.

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Loan Modification’s Drawbacks

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Because loan modification is often used to save a borrower’s house from going into foreclosure, there are certain disadvantages to be aware of.

  • Credit score may suffer as a result. A loan modification is a negative notation on a credit report that may reduce a borrower’s credit score. A foreclosure, on the other hand, or simply missed payments, might be more damaging to a person’s total creditworthiness.
  • It is not possible to withdraw money. A loan modification, unlike refinancing, cannot be utilized to access home equity and get cash in a flat amount. However, if monthly payments are reduced as a result of the modification, the borrower may have more money available to pay for other monthly costs.
  • It is necessary to be in a difficult situation. To qualify for a loan modification, you must often demonstrate financial hardship. Before contemplating loan modification, lenders may want to see that your challenging financial circumstances are unavoidable and that you’ve made an attempt to solve them, or have a strategy in place to do so.

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Is It Better to Refinance or Modify Your Loan?

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“Better” is a subjective term. The decision between refinancing and loan modification, and which is the preferable alternative, is based on the borrower’s financial circumstances and logic.

Borrowers with good credit who are current on their mortgages may choose refinancing over loan modification. Strong borrowers may choose a new loan primarily to take advantage of reduced interest rates or to access their home equity.

Borrowers with poor credit may have difficulty paying their home loan payments, putting them at danger of foreclosure. Refinancing may not be an option in this case since the borrower may not be able to qualify for a new loan.

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Refinancing and Loan Modification Alternatives

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Borrowers wishing to save money on their loans don’t have to choose between loan modification and refinancing.

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Forbearance on your mortgage is a great way to save money.

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A mortgage forbearance may be an option to explore for borrowers who are experiencing short-term financial difficulties.

Lenders may give a period of forbearance — usually three to six months, with the option to extend — during which the borrower does not make or makes lower loan payments. In addition, the lender promises not to seek foreclosure.

Proof of hardship, as with a loan modification, is likely to be needed, and lenders may take into account things like divorce, job loss, natural catastrophes, medical emergency expenditures, and other factors.

Interest will continue to accumulate throughout the forbearance period, and the borrower will be liable for expenditures such as homeowners insurance and property taxes.

The borrower may be required to refund any missing payments, as well as any interest, at the conclusion of the forbearance term. Rather than demanding a single lump sum payment, some lenders may collaborate with the borrower to set up a repayment plan.

What is Mortgage Forbearance and How Does It Work? 

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2. Recasting of Mortgages

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If a borrower is able to make a lump-sum payment against the mortgage loan principle, mortgage recasting may be a better option than loan modification or refinancing.

A lender may impose a small fee to recast a mortgage, as well as a minimum amount that they will accept. The average starting point is $5,000.

The lender will recast, or re-amortize, your remaining loan repayment schedule once the lump-sum payment is paid. Because the principle is reduced after the lump-sum payment, each monthly payment for the remainder of the loan’s term will be reduced.

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3. Additional Principal Payments

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As long as the lender does not levy a prepayment penalty, using extra money in each month’s budget to make additional principle payments on a mortgage loan may be an efficient approach to lower loan expenses.

Extra principal payments made sooner in the loan period rather than later in the loan term might have a higher financial impact. The principle and interest on an amortized loan are paid in equal monthly installments.

Monthly interest rates are highest at the start of the loan period and gradually reduce with each payment. The principle, on the other hand, is the lowest at the start of the loan and grows with each payment.

If a borrower makes an additional payment toward the principle, the amount owing is gradually reduced, possibly saving both interest costs and time to pay off the loan if this technique is followed regularly.

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FAQs

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What are the drawbacks of modifying a loan?

Because lenders are not obligated to offer loan modifications, additional solutions may be necessary.

Is it true that a loan modification hurts your credit?

A loan modification may have a bad impact on a borrower’s credit record, but missing payments or having a foreclosure on a credit report can be far more damaging.

Is It Better to Refinance or Modify Your Loan?

The decision to refinance or modify a loan is mostly based on the borrower’s financial status. A loan modification is more likely to be a deliberate decision made by the borrower to save money or tap into home equity, while a loan refinancing is more likely to be a conscious choice made by the borrower to avoid foreclosure.

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The Remainder

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Choosing between loan modification and refinancing is a procedure that is influenced by a number of elements, the most important of which is the borrower’s financial status.

Borrowers who are experiencing financial difficulties and may be facing foreclosure might consider loan modification, which may be simpler to qualify for than refinancing. Refinancing, on the other hand, may be a better alternative for borrowers searching for a reduced interest rate — or simply general loan savings — or who want to tap into their home equity.

More information is available at:

MediaFeed.org syndicated this story, which first appeared on SoFi.com.

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AlertMe

The “loan modification calculator” is a tool that will help you understand the difference between loan modification and refinancing. The calculator will also give you an estimate of how much money you can save by refinancing your loan.

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