Contributor, Benzinga
June 10, 2020

If your mortgage loan is no longer working for you, a refinance can give you access to a more affordable loan, a lower monthly payment or a portion of your equity in cash. If you’re thinking about applying for a refinance in Florida, our guide to refinancing options and the best refinance mortgage companies will make everything a little simpler. 

Refinance Calculator

Best Refinance Lenders in Florida

The best place to refinance your mortgage loan will vary depending on where you live, the type of refinance you need and the application process you prefer. If you don’t already have a lender in mind, consider a few of our favorite refinance lenders offering loans in Florida. 

Current Florida Refinance Rates

When you refinance a mortgage loan, you’ll accept a new interest rate that’s in line with current market rates. Though the specific rate you’ll pay will vary depending on the specifics of your loan and the lender you choose, market rates play a heavy role in determining what rate you’ll lock into when you apply. Locking into your refinance when rates are low can mean thousands of dollars saved by the time you fully own your home.

Online mortgage lenders have made it easier than ever before to track and compare interest rates. Take a look at our chart below to learn a little more about what you might expect to pay for your refinance today. 

Loan TypeRateAPR
30-year fixed 6.749% 6.872%
15-year fixed 6.124% 6.264%
7/1 ARM (adjustable rate) N/A N/A
5/1 ARM (adjustable rate) N/A N/A
Rates based on a loan amount of $180,000 and property value of $225,000.
See more mortgage rates on Zillow

Refinance Process

The refinancing process is usually faster and less complicated than getting a mortgage loan. Knowing what to expect and what you’ll need to apply can speed things up even more.

Before you apply for a refinance, you need to determine what your goals are. There are many reasons to refinance, including:

  • Changing your monthly payment
  • Changing your interest rate
  • Taking cash out of your equity, called a cash-out refinance

The best mortgage company for you will depend on your individual needs, so it’s good to have a solid idea of why you want to refinance before you begin the process.

After you know what you want, you can start comparing mortgage lenders based on your needs. Contrary to popular belief, not every mortgage lender is the same. Every lender offers its own unique advantages and disadvantages. For example, if you’re searching for the easiest and most streamlined refinancing process available, consider refinancing with the help of Quicken Loans’ Rocket Mortgage platform. If you’re more interested in finding the fastest refinance available, you might want to consider refinancing with Figure. Figure’s team prides itself on closing in days, not months. This can be especially beneficial if you need to pay off debt or lower your monthly payment as soon as possible.

Once you decide which lender is right for you, you’ll apply for your refinance. Many lenders now offer 100% online applications, but if you apply through a local bank, you might also have the option to apply in person. Your lender will usually ask you for the following documents to complete your refinance:

  • Your last 2 W-2s
  • Your last 2 months of bank statements
  • Your 2 most recent pay stubs

If you’re self-employed or a small business owner, you might need to provide additional documentation to prove your income.

After you apply for your refinance, your lender will give you the opportunity to lock in your interest rate. Rate locks are usually valid for 15 to 60 days while the lender completes the underwriting process. If you’re happy with the rate you receive, it’s usually a good idea to lock in your loan.

As soon as you apply, your lender will begin underwriting your loan. During underwriting, your lender will:

  • Verify your financial information
  • Check your credit report
  • Ensure that you qualify for your loan and that all the information you submitted on your application is accurate
  • Schedule a new appraisal to ensure that your home hasn’t significantly decreased in value

After all underwriting steps close, you’ll attend a quick closing meeting to sign on your new loan. From there, all you need to worry about is managing your new loan and making payments to your new lender. 

When Should You Refinance in Florida?

Every homeowner refinances for a different reason. Some situations when it makes sense to refinance include the following:

  • Taking advantage of a more affordable rate. If you locked into your mortgage loan when rates were high, you might be able to save money by refinancing to a lower rate now.
  • Getting rid of FHA insurance. FHA mortgage insurance will stick with you for as long as you have an FHA loan. However, if you have at least 20% equity in your property, you can refinance to a conventional loan to remove your FHA insurance requirement. You also won’t have to pay for private mortgage insurance (PMI) as long as you own 20% of your home or more.
  • Change your monthly mortgage payment. If you now have less income than you did when you applied for your loan, you might want to refinance to a longer term. Extending your loan’s term lowers your monthly payment but it also causes you to pay more in interest over time. You can also refinance to a shorter term and increase your monthly payments if you want to own your home sooner and pay less in interest in the long term.
  • Pay off high-interest debt or fund a remodel. Taking cash out of your home’s equity is almost always more affordable than racking up debt on a credit card because mortgages represent a more affordable way to borrow money. From paying off student loans to getting out of credit card debt to funding a home improvement project, there are no limitations on how you use the cash from a cash-out refinance. 

When Should You Not Refinance?

Refinancing doesn’t make sense in every situation. If any of the following apply to you, you might want to hold off on refinancing for now:

  • Your credit isn’t up to par. Your lender will need to check your credit score and credit report before they can issue you a refinance in most circumstances. Though there are a few exceptions that we’ll cover later, you’ll need a minimum credit score of at least 620 to refinance with most lenders. If your credit isn’t there yet, you might want to take some time to raise your score before you apply to refinance.
  • Interest rates are higher now. If interest rates are higher now than when you applied for your loan, you might end up paying thousands of dollars more for your mortgage after your refinance. Know your current APR before you apply. If you don’t remember your APR, contact your lender or check your most recent mortgage statement.
  • You don’t plan on staying in your home for much longer. You’ll have to pay closing costs when you refinance. The closing costs are usually less than what you’d pay when you sign onto a new mortgage loan, they can still equal thousands of dollars. The longer you plan on living in your home, the more benefits you’ll reap from refinancing. If you plan to sell your home or move within the next few years, you might actually lose money by refinancing. 

Bad Credit Refinance

Most mortgage lenders have minimum credit requirements for refinancing. However, this doesn’t mean that it’s impossible to refinance if you have bad credit. Let’s take a look at a few methods you can use to refinance when you have a low credit score.

  • Opt for a streamline refinance. If you have an FHA loan or a VA loan, you can refinance your rate or term with a streamline refinance. Streamline refinances are abbreviated refinance processes that eliminate the appraisal and credit requirement from the underwriting process. You must have a history of on-time payments before you can qualify for a streamline refinance. Additional requirements will vary depending on your loan type.
  • Add a non-occupying co-client to your loan. A non-occupying co-client is someone who doesn’t live in your home but agrees to take on financial responsibility for your loan if you fail to pay it back. Adding a non-occupying co-client to your loan makes you a less risky refinance candidate, which may increase your chances of approval. Just make sure you can pay for your loan after your refinance — otherwise, your friend or family member will be on the hook for payments.

Of course, you can also focus on building up your credit score before you refinance. Some foolproof ways you can raise your credit over time include:

  • Paying all of your bills on schedule. Your payment history makes up about 35% of your FICO credit score. Sign up for autopay or write your payment due dates in an area where you’ll be sure to see then to avoid accidentally lowering your score by forgetting when your payment is due.
  • Use less credit. The more of your available credit you use, the riskier you are as a borrower. Try to keep your credit usage below 10% of your total available credit by carrying cash and using your debit card as often as possible.
  • Check your credit report for errors. About 20% of Americans have some form of mistake on their credit report — these mistakes can lower your score. Pull your credit report from each of the 2 major bureaus and ensure that all information listed is correct and current. 

Get the Perfect Loan in the Sunshine State

Refinancing your mortgage loan doesn’t need to be a long, stressful process. However, finding the right lender and loan type isn’t something you should rush through. Don’t be afraid to speak with multiple lenders and explore all of your loan options before you begin the refinancing process. A little research now can save you a ton of cash later on!  

Get Ready for Take Off

Rocket Mortgage® is an online mortgage experience developed by the firm formerly known as Quicken Loans®, America’s largest mortgage lender. Rocket Mortgage® makes it easy to get a mortgage — you just tell the company about yourself, your home, your finances and Rocket Mortgage® gives you real interest rates and numbers. You can use Rocket Mortgage® to get approved, ask questions about your mortgage, manage your payments and more.

You can work at your own pace and someone is always there to answer your questions — 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Want a fast, convenient way to get a mortgage? Give Rocket Mortgage® a try.