I live in Wisconsin. I'm trying to refinance my condo right now. I have next to no experience with refinancing, but I'd like to do some research on the subject before I start asking these questions, so I can talk the same language. I have very little equity because the price of my condo dropped (based on other condos in my building) to about the same amount of my mortgage principal, but I've had two adjustable mortgages since September 2005. An arm and a balloon at different interest rates. I've never missed a payment, and I have excellent credit.
The arm is still in place ($130K roughly). The balloon ($30K roughly) expired on October 1, and BMO Harris Bank never told me before it happened. So now I have finance charges I need to pay on the first month after it ballooned. They said if I refinance another adjustable with them, they will wave the $1.5K charges. But one broker I talked to said I should just go with him and he'll get me a better deal. He also said because I don't have much equity (won't know until an appraisal) and I didn't take advantage of the 2009 stimulus money (not sure what he was referring to), I might be eligible for something in 2013 if I refinance.
What are the best questions to ask a mortgage broker when trying to refinance a condo, so they don't take advantage of me? Also, what things should I do to make this simple and to save money, with the lowest interest rate? Everyone keeps saying, "Go with a credit union because they have better rates" or "Don't shop too much because each time you go to another bank, they pull your credit, and your credit score drops". How can I shop for a better interest rate if I don't do that?