Getting a new mortgage to replace your original is called refinancing, which a great way to potentially lower the interest rate, change the term, or get cash-out. To refinance a home can be intimidating when you aren’t sure about the details. You know it is something you should look into, but you may not know where or how to start.

With a free mortgage calculator and the help of an expert mortgage professional, the process can be far less intimidating. Read on to learn five basic tips for refinancing your home mortgage.

Think about the reason why you want to refinance.

When you pay your mortgage every month, are you certain that there is not a better deal out there for you?

Has your financial situation improved from the time you took out the original mortgage? Or have you built up enough equity in your home to be able to drop the mortgage insurance requirement?

Maybe you would like to retire or get a lower-paying (but less stressful) job, and you would like to consolidate some non-mortgage debt with a cash-out refinance before making those career changes.

If you have non-mortgage debt, consider a cash-out refinance.

Here is a cash-out refinance example of a homeowner. At the time of the refinance, Joseph from Arvada had $88,964 equity in his home that was valued $200,000. He also had non-mortgage debt of $23,634 borrowed at around an 18% interest rate. With the cash-out mortgage refinance, Joseph eliminated his non-mortgage debt payment of $495 a month and increased his mortgage payment by only $43.

By refinancing, Joseph consolidated his credit card debt, and he is now paying $538* less per month.

Make sure your credit score is error-free.

Your credit will have a major impact on your efforts to refinance your mortgage. You can easily check your credit to avoid any surprises during your refinance. Run a free report and see if there are any blips on your credit history. Check for errors on your credit report. If you find information that does not seem to belong to you or incorrect, contact the credit reporting agencies. The three main credit reporting agencies are Experian, Equifax, and TransUnion.

Make sure you set some cash aside to cover costs.

Set aside money to pay the closing costs and other possible expenses of your refinance. Check with your lender to find out about all closing and related costs with a refinance. During the refinance, you may need to pay for a home appraisal. Wait to start this process, though. Your lender may want to use a specific appraiser.

Regarding costs, each refinance is different, but there may be some additional fees and expenses such as mortgage application fee, loan origination or document preparation fee, flood certification, title search, and title insurance and recording fee.

Strive to get the best rates.

Don’t just rely on the advice of your friends or family. Do your homework and check out mortgage rates and closing costs for several mortgage companies. Look at the lenders’ customer ratings. Don’t limit your research to the bank down the street.

If you plan on staying in your home for a while, you might look into purchasing points when you refinance your mortgage. Purchasing points is a way to buy down the interest rate of your mortgage. How do you know if purchasing points is a good idea? You can use a mortgage refinancing calculator to run some numbers.

Here’s an example of a $200,000 mortgage with a 30-year term. If you pay one discount point, to reduce the interest rate to 4%, you could end up saving over $6,800 in 10 years. As you can see in the above example, buying mortgage points when you refinance can reduce the interest rate, which in turn reduces the monthly payment. Keep in mind that, generally, each point will cost 1 percent of your mortgage balance.

Don’t procrastinate!

Sure, you would rather spend your weekends planting flowers, reading a novel, or playing Fortnite, but instead, take a few minutes to look at your current mortgage documents. What rate are you paying? How long is the term of your current mortgage?

Then, check your credit. See if there are any hiccups in your credit history that need fixing.

Contact lenders about possible refinance options. Use a mortgage refinance calculator to see how much you could save each month by refinancing.

Think about how truly relaxed you will be participating in your favorite activities when you know that you have been diligent with your finances. Take care of it today!