Connect with us

Breaking News

Business financial make money capital trading What it’s like to refinance your mortgage in quarantine, according to a Florida couple who signed the papers through a screen door


Business financial make money capital trading What it’s like to refinance your mortgage in quarantine, according to a Florida couple who signed the papers through a screen door

Personal Finance Insider writes about products, strategies, and tips to help you make smart decisions with your money. We may receive a small commission from our partners, but our reporting and recommendations are always independent and objective.Justin and Jessica Herndon used a cash-out refinance to pocket $32,000 and complete home renovations, pay off a car,…

Business  financial  make money  capital  trading What it’s like to refinance your mortgage in quarantine, according to a Florida couple who signed the papers through a screen door

Business financial make money capital trading

Personal Finance Insider writes about products, strategies, and tips to help you make smart decisions with your money. We may receive a small commission from our partners, but our reporting and recommendations are always independent and objective.

  • Justin and Jessica Herndon used a cash-out refinance to pocket $32,000 and complete home renovations, pay off a car, and contribute to their kids’ college funds.
  • Their 3-year-old daughter has health complications, so they almost backed out of refinancing when they found out they had to sign the closing documents in person during the coronavirus pandemic.
  • Their title agent came up with a creative solution for them to meet in person and sign the documents in a way that made the family feel safe.
  • Justin recommends people prioritize their safety and comfort when refinancing during the outbreak, regardless of whether someone in their family has health risks.
  • Coming soon: the Personal Finance Insider email. Sign up here »

Justin and Jessica Herndon started the cash-out refinance application process in the first week of March. At the time, they had no idea just how hectic life was about to become as the coronavirus spread across America.

During the pandemic, many homeowners applying to refinance are dealing with rapidly changing interest rates and long wait times. But for the Herndons, there was an even more chaotic element of refinancing during an outbreak: keeping their family safe.

The Herndons have two children, Michael (6) and Ryleigh (3). Ryleigh’s immune system is at risk due to preexisting respiratory problems, so the Herndons have been strictly quarantining themselves so she isn’t exposed to COVID-19.

“The coronavirus, being a respiratory issue … we can’t imagine what that would be like for her,” Justin said.

The couple had been developing their plan to do a cash-out refinance for several months. But when they found out they had to meet with an agent in person to sign the closing documents, they questioned whether refinancing was the right choice for their family.

In the end, they found a creative way to make it work.

A cash-out refinance is helping them meet personal and financial goals

The Herndons bought their house in Land O’ Lakes, Florida, in November 2012. They moved into the house when Jessica was pregnant with their first child, Michael, but talked about someday moving to another place once their kids grew older.

But in early 2019, they had to pay around $20,000 to replace the roof. Then Michael got into a good charter school nearby through the lottery system — so they decided they were in the house for the long haul. They agreed to invest money in home renovations to make the house feel more like a home.

“My wife, since day one in this house, has said, ‘I want to do something with the bathroom,” Justin said. “And so we had contractors in last year to kind of look at it and sticker shock at what it was going to cost us.” 

That’s when they started to toss around the idea of a cash-out refinance.

Cash-out refinancing is a little different from regular refinancing. You still get a brand-new loan, but now the loan amount is for more than what you owe on the house. Subtract the amount you owe from the amount you receive as a loan. You get to pocket what’s left. 

The Herndons’ home had gained equity since they bought it in 2012, so when they refinanced, they received around $32,000 in cash. 

Their original mortgage was a 30-year fixed loan with a 3.25% APR, and their monthly payments were $1,467. “We kind of got lucky, as far as rates,” said Justin. “That was, like, the previous bottom, and that’s when we moved.”

They refinanced through Freedom Mortgage, which was offering the lowest rate they could find at the time. Their rate and monthly payment actually increased — now they’re paying 3.375% on a 20-year fixed mortgage, and their payments are $1,837 a month.

Because they opted for a shorter loan term, they still expect to save money — and Justin said he hopes to be aggressive with payments so they can pay off the 20-year mortgage early. But the true motivating factor was having tens of thousands of dollars to put toward personal and financial goals.

They’re using the money for home renovations, such as redoing the bathroom and building a stone wall and new flower bed in their front yard. They’re also paying off Jessica’s car and putting the money they were spending on her car payments into college funds for the kids. 

Jessica owns her own photography business, so they’ve also planned to put some of the cash toward new photography gear.

The Herndons started talking about a cash-out refinance months before the coronavirus pandemic hit the United States, so the virus didn’t have anything to do with their decision. However, Jessica has lost income during the outbreak.

“Her business has completely dried up during this time, and understandably so,” Justin said. “A lot of her clients were either family portraits or corporate gigs … Her business basically evaporated as the stay-at-home orders started going into effect.”

Justin has kept his job as a public relations manager for a Fortune 100 company during the pandemic, and they own a rental property, so the family isn’t feeling stretched too thin at this point. However, the cash-out refinance does give them some cushion going forward — just in case.

They’re happy they refinanced now, but they almost backed out before closing. They were worried about their daughter’s health, and the refinancing process had the potential to put her at risk.

The couple’s 3-year-old daughter, Ryleigh, was hospitalized with respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) about a year and a half ago. RSV is a virus that can lead to serious respiratory infections, especially in young children and older adults.

“Everything for our daughter kind of tends to … all go to her lungs,” Justin said. “She has asthma, and she does breathing treatments every day, morning, and evening. So she’s been seeing a pulmonologist.”

“When she got RSV, it was really crazy,” Justin continued. “It deteriorated in a matter of hours. And so it was a really, really serious, eye-opening experience for my wife and I … When she got moved down to ICU, that was really scary.”

Justin explained that Ryleigh’s time in the ICU made the parents very protective. “Any little thing that happens to her, we kind of — I think some people might say ‘overreact,'” Justin said.

The family has been strictly self-quarantining during the pandemic to eliminate the risk that Ryleigh could get sick. They even make a point to order all their groceries so they don’t have to go to the store.

So when they found out that Freedom Mortgage wanted them to sign the closing documents in person, they considered backing out completely. The lender offered a virtual signing option for an extra fee, but Justin didn’t think additional costs were fair, “given the circumstances and state orders.”

“There really was a point, I’ll be honest, where I told my wife, ‘Look, we don’t need to do this right now,'” Justin said. “And I hate having gone through all of this, but we are really, really strict in quarantine. And that’s our personal decision with our family. And I just told my wife, if they push this and it makes us uncomfortable at any point, to scrap it. We’ll figure it out later.”

The Herndons worked with a title company throughout the refinancing process. A title company acts as the middleman between the lender, buyer, and other parties in a mortgage transaction. They chose to go through the same title company they used in 2012, FLA Title Services.

The owner of FLA Title Services, Gigi Evans, said she would do whatever she could to make the Herndons feel comfortable during the closing process. 

The couple has a screened-in back porch, so Evans suggested she come to their house during Ryleigh’s scheduled nap time for them to go over the documents.

Justin and Jessica stayed inside their screened porch with the door propped open so Evans could set the documents on their table and walk out to the yard without touching anything. Then Evans, wearing a mask and gloves, sat in a lawn chair in their yard, eight to ten feet away from the porch.

“She had printed out a duplicate copy of everything so that we could go page by page, and she would know what page we were on since she couldn’t stand over our shoulder and see it,” Justin said. “She would confirm, ‘Okay, is this the page that you’re looking at? It says it’s labeled this, right? Yes, that’s what it is … all right, Justin, you need to print here, Jessica, you need to sign here.'”

They sprayed everything down with Lysol before and after the interaction, and Evans recommended the Herndons use their own pen so they wouldn’t have to hold anything she had touched.

“It was one of the weirdest transactions I’ve ever been involved in,” Jessica said. “I am incredibly grateful to have a person willing to go to those lengths to keep us safe and complete our closing.”

Whether or not you or a family member have health complications, Justin has one main piece of advice for people refinancing during the coronavirus pandemic: “Make sure that you are 100% comfortable with it.”

“I know it’s silly to say, and it’s cliché, but it’s just money,” he continued. “Unless it’s going to completely change your financial outlook for the positive … because maybe you lost your job or something like that.”

Justin recommended people be forthcoming about what does or does not make them comfortable during the process. 

“There’s not enough Lysol wipes or dollar bills that will make you comfortable … in my opinion,” he said. “So you just have to kind of marry those two — what makes you comfortable and what’s the right thing financially. And know that there will be another opportunity. It might be better, it might be slightly worse, but everything that you’re reading these days makes it sound like this is going to be the environment for a while with rates.”

Did You See This CB Softwares?


Join Affiliate Bots Right Away

The Herndons made their decision to follow through with their cash-out refinance, and they still believe it was the right decision for their family.

“I say it’s a personal story because people make their choices, and I don’t want to blame anyone for their choice,” Justin said. “This is ours.”

LoadingSomething is loading.

Do you have a personal experience with the coronavirus you’d like to share? Or a tip on how your town or community is handling the pandemic? Please email and tell us your story.

Get the latest coronavirus business & economic impact analysis from Business Insider Intelligence on how COVID-19 is affecting industries.

The information related to the following cards has been collected by Business Insider and has not been reviewed by the issuer: Chase Freedom Unlimited®, Chase Freedom®, Chase Slate®, Ink Business Preferred® Credit Card
Ink Business Cash℠ Credit Card, Ink Business Unlimited℠ Credit Card, Southwest Rapid Rewards® Premier Business Credit Card, Southwest Rapid Rewards® Performance Business Credit Card, IHG® Rewards Club Traveler Credit Card, United ClubSM Infinite Card, United℠ Business Card, British Airways Visa Signature® Card, The World Of Hyatt Credit Card, Citi Diamond Preferred Card, Citi Rewards+ Card, Citi Rewards+ Student Card, CitiBusiness AAdvantage Platinum Select World Mastercard, Citi AAdvantage Executive World Elite™ Mastercard, American Airlines AAdvantage MileUp Card, Citi Secured Mastercard, Costco Anywhere Visa Business Card by Citi, Citi Prestige Credit Card, Citi Premier Card, Citi Simplicity® Card

Take control of your money. SmartAsset’s free tool matches you with a financial planner in your area in 5 minutes. Learn more »

Disclosure: This post is brought to you by the Personal Finance Insider team. We occasionally highlight financial products and services that can help you make smarter decisions with your money. We do not give investment advice or encourage you to adopt a certain investment strategy. What you decide to do with your money is up to you. If you take action based on one of our recommendations, we get a small share of the revenue from our commerce partners. This does not influence whether we feature a financial product or service. We operate independently from our advertising sales team.


Mortgage Refinancing
Cash-out Refinancing

Chevron iconIt indicates an expandable section or menu, or sometimes previous / next navigation options.

Click to comment

You must be logged in to post a comment Login

Leave a Reply

To Top