Agent

Interest-only mortgage could wipe out equity

Refinancing into higher-rate loan to tap cash questioned

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DEAR BOB: I am a 51-year-old widow of eight years with three children, ages 9, 11 and 15. I earn only about $3,000 per month and my children receive a total of $2,100 per month in Social Security benefits. I have owned my home for six years and currently have a 30-year fixed-rate mortgage at 5.375 percent interest. My monthly payment is $1,279, including $67 PMI (private mortgage insurance) plus $217 for escrowed property taxes and insurance. I have $16,000 in credit card debt at 8 to 10 percent interest, mostly for home improvements and medical expenses, and $125,000 in an IRA. My FICO score is 779. I recently met with a financial advisor/college planner who recommends I refinance with a 20-year, fixed-rate, interest-only mortgage at 6.75 percent interest. My new payment would be $1,317 including the tax and insurance escrow but no PMI. But I would go from having $70,000 equity to almost no equity. He anticipates I will refinance again in three to five years. I would walk...