Lenders still being picky with loans

Financial institutions are lending more money these days, but Pat Esswein with Kiplinger's Personal Finance reminds us that they're still very picky.

So what does that mean?

"You will have to have at minimum five to ten percent equity in your home, a very good credit score and a squeaky clean history of mortgage payments."

Esswein says it could be a problem if you've had a payment that's more than 30 days late in the last year.

One more thing you'll need: some cash on hand.

"Lenders also want to know that you have enough readily accessible savings that you can cover at least two months of mortgage payments in an emergency."

Kiplinger's says in some cases, you can refinance even if your house is underwater right now - that is you owe more than it's worth.

There are special programs designed to help. You can see if you qualify at

For more information

New Rules of Refinancing Your Home