What Is A Limited Cash Out Refinance & How Does It Work?

What Is A Limited Cash Out Refinance & How Does It Work?

Refinancing is a beneficial financial resource enabling homeowners to exchange their current mortgage for a new one with improved terms. This can lead to lower interest rates, shorter loan durations, or even access to cash. When considering a refinance, borrowers have two options: the limited cash-out refinance and the no cash-out refinance. Understanding the differences between the two can help homeowners make informed decisions about which option aligns best with their financial goals.

What is a Limited Cash-Out Refinance?

A limited cash-out refinance is a form of mortgage refinancing where a new loan replaces the existing one at a slightly higher amount. This choice is favored by borrowers who wish to incorporate refinancing costs into the new loan balance rather than paying them upfront. One significant advantage of limited cash-out refinancing is the ability to incorporate closing costs into the new mortgage, reducing immediate financial burden.

How Does a Limited Cash-Out Refinance Work?

  1. Preparation – Before initiating a limited cash-out refinance, borrowers must gather all necessary financial documents, including income statements, credit reports, and property appraisals. Lenders will utilize this data to evaluate qualification and establish the highest loan sum possible.
  2. Loan Application – The subsequent stage involves presenting a loan application to the selected lender. The lender will review the application and evaluate the borrower’s creditworthiness, income, and current mortgage status.
  3. Appraisal and Underwriting – To determine the home’s current value, an appraisal is conducted by a qualified appraiser. The lender will then conduct a thorough underwriting process to assess the borrower’s ability to repay the new loan and ensure compliance with Fannie Mae’s guidelines for limited cash-out refinancing.
  4. Loan Approval – If the underwriting process is successful, the lender will issue a loan approval and provide the borrower with a Loan Estimate detailing the terms and conditions of the new loan.
  5. Closing – Once the borrower accepts the terms, a closing date is scheduled. At the closing, the borrower signs the necessary documents, and the new loan replaces the existing mortgage. Any closing costs and a small cash-back amount (up to 2% of the new loan balance or $2,000) are incorporated into the new loan.
  6. Repayment – After closing, the borrower starts making monthly mortgage payments based on the new loan terms. While the closing costs and cash-back amount are spread out over the life of the loan, the borrower enjoys the benefits of the lower interest rate and potential cost savings.

The Pros and Cons of Limited Cash-Out Refinance

Pros of Limited Cash-Out Refinance

Eases Financial Burden – By incorporating closing costs into the new loan, borrowers can avoid paying them upfront, preserving their savings.

Lower Interest Rates – Limited cash-out refinances frequently offer reduced interest rates, which can result in significant savings throughout the loan duration.

Access to Cash – Borrowers can receive a small cash-back amount, usually capped at 2% of the new loan balance or $2,000, to be used at their discretion.

Cons of Limited Cash-Out Refinance

  • Limited Cash Amount – The cash-back amount in a limited cash-out refinance is restricted, making it unsuitable for those seeking significant funds.
  • Increased Loan Amount – Including closing costs and cash-back in the new loan results in a slightly larger mortgage balance.

What is a No Cash-Out Refinance?

A rate-and-term refinance is another term used for a no-cash-out refinance. In this option, borrowers replace their existing mortgage with a new one, solely to secure better interest rates, change loan terms, or switch from an adjustable-rate to a fixed-rate mortgage. Unlike a limited cash-out refinance, no cash is received by the borrower from the new loan. However, closing costs can still be rolled into the loan, easing the financial burden.

How Does a No Cash-Out Refinance Work?

  1. Preparation – As with limited cash-out refinancing, borrowers start by organizing essential financial documents, including income records, credit reports, and property appraisals.
  2. Loan Application – Afterward, the borrower applies for the loan with their selected lender, who reviews their creditworthiness, income, and existing mortgage information.
  3. Appraisal and Underwriting – An appraisal is conducted to assess the home’s current value, followed by a comprehensive underwriting process to verify the borrower’s ability to repay the new loan.
  4. Loan Approval – Upon successful underwriting, the lender issues a loan approval and provides the borrower with a Loan Estimate detailing the terms and conditions of the new loan.
  5. Closing – Once the borrower accepts the terms, a closing date is scheduled. At the closing, the existing mortgage is replaced by the new loan. Borrowers have the option to either include closing costs in the loan amount or pay them upfront, based on their financial preferences.
  6. Repayment – Following the closing process, the borrower commences making monthly mortgage payments as per the terms of the new loan. The absence of cash-back in a no-cash-out refinance allows borrowers to preserve their existing equity without increasing their loan amount.

The Pros and Cons of No Cash-Out Refinance

Pros of No Cash-Out Refinance

  • Lower Monthly Payments – With better interest rates, borrowers can enjoy reduced monthly mortgage payments.
  • Lock-in Better Rates – Homeowners can lock in favorable interest rates, protecting them from potential rate increases in the future.
  • Preserve Equity – No cash-out refinancing allows borrowers to maintain their existing equity without borrowing against it.

Cons of No Cash-Out Refinance

  • Limited Access to Funds – Borrowers do not receive any cash back, which might not be suitable for those in need of immediate funds.
  • Potentially Higher Loan Amount – Rolling closing costs into the loan may result in a slightly larger mortgage balance.

Cash-Out Refinance Vs No Cash-Out Refinance

The primary distinction between a cash-out refinance and a no-cash-out refinance centers around the cash amount that borrowers can obtain. While a cash-out refinance allows homeowners to access substantial funds by borrowing against their home’s equity, a no cash-out refinance only permits them to change the terms of the loan without receiving cash. The decision between the two options depends on the borrower’s financial objectives.

For those seeking extra funds, a cash-out refinance is more appropriate, especially when facing significant expenses like home renovations or consolidating high-interest debts. However, borrowers must be cautious when tapping into home equity, as it increases the loan amount and risk of potential financial strain.

Conversely, a no cash-out refinance is suitable for homeowners aiming to benefit from reduced interest rates and better loan terms without raising their debt or utilizing their home equity. It is suitable for individuals who are not in immediate need of additional funds and prefer to preserve their equity. 

Bottom Line

Choosing between a limited cash-out refinance and a no cash-out refinance depends on individual financial needs and goals. While a limited cash-out refinance offers the convenience of incorporating closing costs and small cash-back amounts, a no cash-out refinance allows borrowers to secure better interest rates without taking on additional debt. Before making a decision, homeowners should thoroughly assess their financial situation and consult with mortgage professionals to determine which option best aligns with their unique needs.


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