When mortgage rates begin to fall, property owners are besieged with offers to refinance. And once intrigued, borrowers who do a basic search on the internet for prevailing mortgage rates will soon see their screens filled with mortgage rate advertisements. Search engines record what you search forrefianancing a mortgage then place ads that match your queries.

But mortgage rates have been so low for so long that the refinance train has long left the station. Mortgage rates hit historic lows back in January of 2013 and 30 year rates have bounced between 4.00 and 4.25 percent for the past six months or so.

And it’s not always the rate that matters. Yes, rates can fall but that doesn’t mean it’s always a good thing. For example, say you financed a rental property five years ago when 30 year mortgage rates were around 5.00 percent. You now notice 30 year mortgage rates are closer to 4.00 percent. On your $260,000 mortgage, the difference in monthly payments is noticeable. At 5.00 percent, the principal and interest payment is $1,395 and at 4.00 percent it drops to $1,241 for a difference of $154 per month, or $1,848 per year. That helps the old cash flow position, right?

But you’ve already paid more than $77,000 in interest. If you refinance a 30 year note to another, what happens to the interest you paid? It’s gone. It can never be recovered and you’ll have to pay it all over again. Five years were lost. That’s why it’s not always about the rate although many a sneaky loan officer will try and make you pay attention to the lower monthly payment and not the interest losses.

You might benefit refinancing a 30 year loan but remember there are other options. In this example, don’t lose those five years and refinance from a 30 year note to a 25 year loan. Or any shorter term. But replacing a 30 year loan after paying on it for a few years rarely, if ever, makes financial sense.