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Watch Your Debt Ratio During a Cash Out Refinance
by Earl Baker
Many American homeowners have used refinance agreements to save money on their interest rates while pulling cash out of their homes to pay debt or make major purchases. Mortgage lenders tout the practice as a clever way to save money or achiev

Many American homeowners have used refinance agreements to save money on their interest rates while pulling cash out of their homes to pay debt or make major purchases. Mortgage lenders tout the practice as a clever way to save money or achieve a major life event like college tuition or a wedding.

If you're considering pulling some cash out of your own mortgage by refinancing, take a look at the rest of your personal credit. You could inadvertently cause yourself much grief while the savings you earned during the refinance get sucked away by other lenders.

All lenders look at your debt to income ratio, along with your credit score and other factors, to determine the lines of credit they want to extend to you, as well as the interest rates they expect you to pay. Most banks tie their credit card interest rates to the prime rate set by the Federal Reserve Bank. Because you pay a number of points higher than the prime rate, you might be used to seeing that interest rate fluctuate without experiencing any major surges.

When you take equity out of your mortgage during a home refinance, you increase your debt load. Therefore, your debt to income ratio looks less attractive to lenders.

In previous decades, credit card issuers would review your credit only once every few years. Usually, they would check your credit scores when renewing your card or when you requested a credit line increase.

Today's sophisticated credit monitoring systems report your activity on an almost daily basis. When you make a move with any of your creditors, the data create a trail of ripples through the fabric of your current credit relationships. Sometimes, your new debt burden may trigger an automatic system that shoots your credit card's interest rate by ten or fifteen percentage points.

Worst of all, you won't know about the increase until it shows up on your statement. Buried in the fine print of your contract with your credit card lender are statements that allow them to change your interest rate at will, with only a maximum of fifteen days' notice. Even if you thought you earned a promotional deal or a fixed rate, your interest charges could balloon overnight.

Therefore, before considering a cash out refinance, talk to representatives at your credit card companies about whether your plans could backfire on you. Pay off as much of your credit card balances as possible before you cash out so you can minimize your debt to income ratio. If your credit card interest rate increases, use some of that freed-up cash to free yourself from that card.

Earl Baker is a writer for and For additional articles and an extensive resource for everything about Debt-Consolidation and Refinance, please visit us at and

The site is not responsible for any content in it. E-mail: alldir[at]gmx[dot]com
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