To exploit continued decline in rates, the Barbos refinanced again in December. Their new 30-year fixed mortgage is at 7.375%, lopping another $55 off their monthly bill. Since the couple had chosen a no-cost refinancing each time, their total out-of-pocket expenses came to just $400 in appraisal fees. So by the time you read this, they will already have recouped their up front costs. "Now we can use the savings to build up a cash emergency fund," says Bob.
If you are considering a second refinancing, don't overlook this potential tax write-off: When you pay points to refinance, you must deduct the amount over the life of the loan, usually 30 years. But when you refinance a second time, all of the points that have not yet been deducted from the first refinancing can be written off in a lump sum. Say you refinanced to a 30-year mortgage in 1993 and paid $3,000 in points. By now, you would have written off roughly $500. If you refinance again this year, you could deduct the remaining $2,500 on your 1998 tax return. For a homeowner in the 28% tax bracket, that works out to a savings of $700 -- enough to offset some or all of your costs this time around.