Refinance in Less Than a Year? Maybe - WSJ.com: "• Find local rates and home values: Mortgage-interest-rate surveys such as Freddie Mac's give national averages each week, but market and lending factors will cause rates to be higher in some parts of the country and lower in others, Mr. Findlay said. Understand what the going rates are for your area.
The same goes for home values. Before shelling out money for an appraisal, look at online listing sites and talk to real-estate agents or appraiser friends who know how home prices in your area have changed since you got your mortgage. If you don't, you could be getting your hopes up in areas where home prices are still declining, said Kevin Marshall, president of Clear Capital, a real-estate valuation and data provider.
'It's tempting to look at the national levels and gain confidence or lose confidence,' he said. Don't be fooled by averages, and look at local trends. If the value of your home has dropped since your last loan closed, it could make refinancing more difficult or perhaps not worthwhile.
• Closing costs: In general, closing costs will typically be around 1.5% to 2% of the mortgage, Mr. McBride said, so assume they could add up to $4,000 for a $200,000 loan. Costs also vary by location."