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if I'm only 17 years into my 40-yr mortgage w/a balloon pmt at 30 yrs, when I refinance do I only need to pay for 17 yrs of amortized principal payments at that time?

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You will need to pay the balance on the loan, remaining principal (probably most of it if this is a balloon loan) plus any interest that has not been paid along the way and instead was rolled into the balloon. If you'd been paying nothing, you would owe the entire principal plus 17 years of compounded interest.

You didn't say what you have been paying or what the interest rate on the loan is, which makes being more specific difficult, but the bank can always tell you what it would cost to close out your loan; contact them and ask.

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