We did it! After two months of hemming and hawing, Kris and I finally closed on our mortgage refinance, dropping our rate from 6.25% to 4.96%. Bright and early yesterday morning, we made a trip to the title company, and we signed all of the documents. We were out of there in only half an hour.

How’d we do it so fast? Don’t I advocate reading all contracts before you sign them? Absolutely. So when then the title officer called on Friday, I let her know in advance that I needed to read everything first.

“Thank you for telling me,” she said. “I’ll give you your copy of the documents so that you can read them at home over the weekend.”

And that’s just what I did. It took several hours, but I leafed through all 107 pages, looking for anything alarming. I can’t claim to have understood all of the arcane legalese, but I gave it my best shot (with Google’s help), and I didn’t find anything that raised a red flag.

Because I’d read everything in advance, closing was a breeze. The title officer was amused when she noticed I was making tick marks on a piece of scratch paper. “Are you counting how many times you sign your name?” she asked. I sheepishly admitted that I was. (Over the course of 107 pages, Kris and I signed our names 29 times. We initialed 21 items.)

Now we’re done, however, and we have a new mortgage. Our payments (for principal and interest) have dropped from $1386.60 to $1137.70 — a savings of $248.90 per month. It will take about a year to repay the closing costs, but then the new loan will save us money over the next 29 years. (Well, not actually 29 years. We’ll continue to accelerate our mortgage payments.)

Remember: Saving money on the little things every day is great, but saving money on the big things can make an awesome difference to your budget. You’d have to wash a lot of baggies to save $250 a month!

You can see the first two parts of this series here: from December 19th, When does it make sense to refinance a mortgage?, and from February 3rd, Refinancing made easy: Our story.

This article is about House and Home, Real-Life