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Marine Veteran Uses Cash-Out Refinance to Save $200 a Month


Doug and Nanette H. | Tampa, Florida | Cash-Out Refinance

Douglas Hardee equates the anticipation of closing on a loan refinance to the feeling of being close to heading back home from his tour in Vietnam as a Marine. “There’s a lot of anxiety, a lot of restless nights. Then when you’re back, on the other side, everything is better. The world is more beautiful. Things just feel right,” Hardee says.

In war, your mind never shuts down to relax with so many details swirling around. “It’s like that during the loan process...from underwriting all the way up to signing. Then when you’re finally at the closing table, you experience an enormous feeling of relief,” says Hardee.

Going Abroad

Hardee served in Vietnam during the 1970s as part of a combined action platoon (CAP), which teamed a Marine rifle squad with a South Vietnamese militia platoon to provide security for local villages. “Our job was to keep the peace, and basically to win hearts and minds,” he says.

Being a Marine is somewhat of a Hardee family tradition — Doug’s father and brothers were Marines too.

He joined the Marines in 1970 while studying at Santa Fe Community College in Gainesville, Florida and completed basic training at the Marine Corps Recruit Depot Parris Island, SC, where only 25 of the 80 in his class graduated.

“The next thing I knew I was in the Republic of Vietnam,” he says.

When Hardee left the Marine Corps in December 1972, he quickly jumped into the civilian world and found work in advertising and TV producing. In 2001, he started his own advertising agency.

Tampa Living

Hardee eventually settled in Tampa. For two years, Doug and his wife Nanette rented a condo in a high-rise development downtown. “We lived in the middle of everything, with sunshine and water everywhere, and plenty of things to do,” says Hardee.

When a unit in the same building came on the market in 2017, the Hardees were quick to act, using a 30-year conventional mortgage with a 4.125% interest rate they got from a large lender.

Three Years Later

When mortgage interest rates ticked down in 2019, Doug was paying attention. He started evaluating how a refinance might lower their monthly mortgage payment and decided to get competitive quotes from multiple lenders.

They received a referral to AAFMAA Mortgage Services LLC (AMS) Military Mortgage Advisor Lawrie Vick from a neighbor in their building. “He had wonderful things to say about AMS, so I gave them a call to see if it would make sense for us to refinance our loan,” says Hardee.

Vick ran the numbers but advised against moving forward at that time.

“There was a short uptick in interest rates at the start of 2020 as fears built around COVID-19,” explains Hardee. “Lawrie felt the market would self-correct in a few weeks, which it did, and rates dropped again.”

The Hardees got back in touch with Vick. This time, she agreed that interest rates would be favorable for a VA Cash-Out Refinance, which allows you to pay off your existing mortgage with a new mortgage and receive money back.

The Hardee’s new loan carries an interest rate of 2.75%, saving them about $200 a month. Plus, they took $25,000 from their equity to spend on renovations, new appliances, painting, and outdoor furniture for their balcony. “We live in such a beautiful place so we wanted to enjoy it as much as possible,” says Hardee. “The cash we took out has been amazing in adding the finishing touches to our condo.”

COVID-19 Impact

Refinancing during COVID-19 has been unique, says Hardee, adding an extra layer of complexity to the process.

“Everything was just a little different this time,” he explains. They did a lot of paperwork online and had to take precautions with the appraiser and home inspector. “Even our closing was done remotely. We drove to the title company’s parking lot, and spent about 45 minutes with my wife Nanette signing documents in our car while the agent wore a mask and occasionally checked on us,” he says. Their refinance closed in April 2020.

“The experience with AMS has been really great,” he says. “It’s been a smooth process, from our initial contact and through the close, and we are so pleased to be improving the home we love,” he says.

“It’s really been fantastic.”

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We’re Here to Help

Established in 1879, the American Armed Forces Mutual Aid Association (AAFMAA) is the longest-standing, non-profit financial solutions provider supporting military families and veterans with advice, information, insurance, financial planning, investments, mortgages, survivor assistance, and other benefits.

If you’re interested in purchasing a home, or refinancing your current mortgage, call us at 844-244-0564 or contact us for current rates and additional details.

Please Note: the borrower story above is an actual customer's experience working with AAFMAA Mortgage Services LLC (AMS), and they were not compensated for their testimonial. Your actual loan experience may differ, and all loans are subject to credit approval and interest rates, terms, and fees will vary based on your credit, state, and type of loan. Please check with us for details.