The New Year is approaching quickly, and many people are thinking about refinancing their home. Because of the holidays, your bank account might be a little smaller, so you need to find ways to save money. Before you refinance your mortgage, you need to know what to expect.

Here are some mortgage refinance tips for 2013.

Tip #1: Shop around for lenders. Even though you currently have a mortgage lender, you can still compare rates. Rates will vary among lenders, so you want to make sure you are getting the best deal. However, it is important that you choose a reputable lender. Keep in mind that there are other things to consider besides the rate. Other things you need to consider include customer service and closing costs.

Tip #2: Know how much you will save. Before you refinance your mortgage, you need to make sure that you are saving money. One of the main things you need to consider is the closing cost. You should not refinance your home if there is a possibility that you will be moving within the next few years. Only refinance your home if the new interest rate is at least a point below your current one.

Tip #3: Be prepared. The process will go more smoothly if you have the proper documents available. You will normally need copies of your recent pay slips, bank statements and tax returns. You will probably also need a copy of a recent mortgage statement.

Tip #4: Know your credit score. Because people are defaulting on their mortgages, lenders have more strict guidelines before approving a mortgage loan. Before you apply for a mortgage, you need to order a copy of your credit report. Check to see if there are any mistakes, and correct those mistakes before you apply. A higher credit score will mean a lower rate.

Tip #5: Get your rate locked in. When you are approved of a loan, make sure you have the lender lock in your rate in writing. They can fax or email you a confirmation of your rate, and the rate will be good for a certain amount of time. Therefore, you need to make sure you close on the loan before the rate expires.

Tip #6: Look for hidden fees. Be cautious of lenders who say that no closing costs are involved. When you are refinancing a mortgage, you will still be required to pay certain fees. In some cases, you will be offered the opportunity to just roll the closing cost into the amount of the loan. If you’re not sure how to make sense of your contract, consider talking to an expert. Australian readers can get advice from Smartline Mortgage Brokers; they’ve got specialized experts who can help you to make the right decision.