Today was supposed to be a morning spent going to DC's preschool graduation. And it was. Her class sang for the group, we had punch and cookies. A fun time had by all. But I also came across a tidbit of information: interest rates had dropped to a new low for house loans again. And so I started looking into things, and next thing you know, I'm applying for a refinance. It's lowering my rate from 5.25 to 3.875, which used to mean absolutely nothing to me, but now means a whole lot--in terms of actual money I'll be saving each month on my loan. When you pay interest on something for 30 years, every little quarter of a percent matters.
One of the things I like most about my job is how it forces me to stay current on how to research information quickly and effectively. When you're sitting at a research desk, you have no idea if the person who's coming up to ask you a question is just going to want to know where the bathroom is (often the case) or if they're going to have a deep question about laws in Maine in the 1850s. Or maybe the genetics of moose. Who knows? And maybe they ask you an easy one--anything on literature or linguistics, in my case--but maybe you're suddenly helping them research medical studies. You just never know.
But the thing is, you don't need to know everything. You just need to know the basics of how to search. When you have those down, you can find out anything these days--very quickly. That's how I taught myself the basics of TV antennas. It's how I analyzed what kind of car would be best for me, and what a fair price to pay for it would be. It's how I helped my son decide which Beyblade was "the best". It's how I researched what backup/cloud storage solution would be best for me. And it's how I taught myself all about mortgage rates, refinancing costs, and the like.
Some of it is Google. (Although even Google can be tricky to use right--something I'm reminded each time I help someone find something on Google that they just. couldn't. find.) Some of it is knowing who to call or email (my brother in this case, and a realtor friend). Knowing the answer is "out there" and knowing where that is in each specific case is a huge difference.
If you have access to the internet, you can find just about any information you need. Whenever you want. The trick is sifting through all the garbage to find the right information. Reliably. That's what librarians are great at. And now I'll stop bragging about my profession. Sorry.
In case you were wondering, if you can drop your interest rate by about a percent or more--and you're planning on staying in your house for another couple years at least--then it's often a great idea to refinance. Especially if you're like me and have a ton of time left on your loan anyway. Rates are low right now. If yours is 4.75 or higher, you should look into it, at least a little.
And now, back to the rest of my day.