Veteran Services: Finance Questions

Finances

You're working, and you've got a family that depends on you - both now and down the road. Where do you invest your money? Do you borrow against the equity in your house? Through a preferred provider relationship with USAA, The American Legion can provide expert financial advice to just about any question.

Questions & Answers

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Financial Questions & Answers

Question:

I am a former U.S. Marine, currently in the National Guard. A mortgage company called and they want to refinance my mortgage with a VA 3/1 Hybrid loan. Starting interest is 2.75 percent with an adjustable rate that can only go up or down 1 percent a year. Interest rate changes are applied to the amount I owe at the time of change. The loan is for $75,000. I do not know much about this corporation and want to make sure it is not a veteran scam. -Josiah

Answer:

We both have VA mortgages and like you, have gotten lots of calls and emails requesting that we consider refinancing. While we can’t attest to the quality or intentions of the companies making those solicitations, we can say we’d be hesitant about refinancing to an adjustable rate loan. While the lower payment may look good now, when the rate starts adjusting in three years that may not be the case.

If you plan on being out of the house in a few years (before or soon after the interest rate starts adjusting) this could make sense, but only if the costs were very low.

On the other hand, if you plan to be in the house for the long haul and currently have a loan with an interest rate of 5 percent or higher, refinancing to another fixed rate loan might make sense. The average rate on a 30-year fixed mortgage continues to hover around 4 percent, so that’s pretty exciting. Good luck and as with any mortgage move make sure you shop and compare rates and costs before you sign on the dotted line.