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Get a second refinance out of one appraisal?

Dr. Don Taylor, Ph.D., CFA, CFP
Don Taylor

Dear Dr. Don,
If I have recently completed a refinance, can I refinance again using the appraisal I obtained just two months ago?

-- Roxanne Refi

Dear Roxanne,
It doesn't hurt to ask, but it isn't likely to work. The bursting of the housing bubble changed the rules concerning appraisals. The lender doing the refinancing will almost certainly require a current independent appraisal of your home.

While not all mortgages have a seasoning requirement, which refers to the length of time the loan has been in place, if yours does, your existing mortgage may not have seasoned enough for you to be able to refinance again so soon. Review your loan documents or talk to your lender before you start filling out mortgage applications.

For the refinancing math to work, you have to capture enough in interest savings to cover your closing costs. Even a no-cost loan has its closing costs baked into the interest rate. Being able to use the prior appraisal would have lowered the bar in terms of making the refinancing worth it. But if you need to be able to use the old appraisal to make the refinancing decision work, then you're cutting things too close.

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