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Refinance & Wipe Away That Holiday Debt

By Tristan Hunt Published 12/29/2006 | Finance

Its that time of year again, and homeowners from coast to coast are feeling the pinch in their pockets from the financial stress of the holiday season.  Retailers across the country are reporting record breaking consumer spending, and in the era of big ticket items like the Ipod and HDTV, its easy to see why consumer credit card debt has reached an all time high.  All of this spending is occurring at a time when the average Christmas bonus doesnt cover quite as much as it did a few years ago, and overtime hours are on the decline.  Many homeowners are looking to the recent reduction in home loan interest rates, still historically very low, to help clear up high interest, high payment credit card debt.  And theyre not just stopping at their credit cards, whose minimum payments are on the rise industry-wide. All types of payments, from student loans to car loans, are cheaper to pay for each month when rolled into a refinance, and a growing number of homeowners are taking advantage of innovative new mortgage products to help them improve their debt to income ratios and preserve their quality of life.

Why Is Debt Consolidation Refinancing so popular after the holidays?

  1. Gift Giving: Lets face it, we all love our families, and nothing makes us feel quite as good as giving the gift of their dreams.  Even if we have to stretch our last dollar or go into debt, its hard for anybody to put a value on a smile this time of year.
  2. Increased Housing Cost: In most of the country, holiday spending is accompanied by cold weather, which means higher heating bills in most states.  With oil and gas prices at record high levels, and houses being built bigger than ever, heating expenses are rising rapidly.
  3. Travel Related Expense: Whether youre driving or flying, chances are you travel more than twice as much as usual in the months of November and December, and all those miles cost more than ever because of fuel costs and higher tolls and taxes on travel to fund security initiatives in this post 9/11 world. With schools closed, many families make trips to vacation destinations, which can really ring the register!
  4. Hospitality: If youre not traveling much, thats probably because everyone is coming to YOUR house.  And while playing the host can be a lot of fun for everybody, throwing a party can get expensive.  If youre the type that loves to entertain, your credit cards might be feeling the effect right now.

What Can Debt Consolidation Refinancing Do for You?

  1. Lower Your Total Monthly Spending: Consolidating your debts can reduce your total monthly spending, even if you just look at the minimum payments, by half or more.
  2. Make One Payment: You can choose to refinance all of your debt into one loan, which means just One easier to make payment each month.
  3. Improve Your Credit: By reducing your total monthly spending, you decrease your total Debt Ratio (often referred to as Debt to Income Ratio) making you a more attractive candidate for financing.
  4. Reduce Your Overall Interest Rate: Interest rates on credit cards can be as high as 40%, and even car loans average more then 9% once all factors are considered.  Borrowers with more debt than they could realistically pay off in 3 months can save thousands of dollars in interest each year. 
  5. Take a Break from Making Payments:  Ask about minimum payment refinances which may allow you to make no payments for as much as 90 days with start rates of 0% or 1%, which are incredibly popular for debt consolidation because you can stop making all payments for a few weeks or even a couple of months!

How Can I Qualify for a Debt Consolidation Refinance?

  1. You Must be a Homeowner
  2. You Need to Have Equity In Your Home: The current market value of your property should be worth more than what you currently owe on your mortgage.  There are exceptions to this rule for borrowers with excellent credit, who may borrow up to 125% of their homes value.
  3. Consult a Debt Consolidation Refinance Professional: Unlike your local bank, which specializes in lending money to people who dont need it, a Mortgage Professional specializing in debt consolidation refinances can help you secure financing, and will work with you whether you have great credit or even if its not so great.