Can I refinance after bankruptcy?
Refinancing may be prudent but could be difficult after a bankruptcy. If you're considering bankruptcy, you may want to go to your current lender first and explain the situation. If you have been current on your payments, the lender may be accommodating and refinance your loan, easing your financial situation.

When is the best time to refinance?
It depends on how long you plan to hold on to your house and if you have to pay anything to refinance. In addition, it also depends on how far along you are in paying off your current mortgage. If you are going to be selling your house shortly, you probably will not recoup any costs you incur to refinance your mortgage. If you are more than halfway through paying your current mortgage, you probably will gain little by refinancing. However, if you are going to own your home for at least five years, that's probably long enough to recoup any refinancing costs you incur and to realize real savings on lowering your monthly payment. If it is going to cost you nothing to refinance, you can gain even more. Many lenders will allow you to roll the costs of the refinancing into the new note and still reduce the amount of the monthly payment. Also, there are no-cost refinancing deals available. In any case, it pays to consult your lender or financial advisor, or run the numbers yourself, before you refinance.

Where do I get information on refinancing?
For information on refinancing, the following booklet may be helpful: * "A Consumer's Guide to Mortgage Refinancings;" Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco, Public Information Department, P.O. Box 7702, San Francisco, CA 94120; call (415) 974-2163 to order.

What about these ads for no-cost loans?
In many states, real estate regulatory agencies are cracking down on such advertising. The very term, "no-cost" loan, is misleading because borrowers are actually paying a higher interest rate in exchange for not having to pay fees or closing costs up front when the loan is secured. A "no-points" loan is one for which the lender does not charge points (one point is equal to 1 percent of the loan amount). But there are other fees involved in no-point loans, as with most loans.