Relocating for work, refinancing a mortgage

DEAR HARRY: I am at the end of negotiations with a new lender to refinance my mortgage and pay it off five years sooner with the same monthly payment. Settlement is in two weeks.

Today, we learned that my employer is considering closing its Pennsylvania office at the end of the year. The new location will be in upstate New York. Nothing is definite at this date. If this happens, I'll have to move, since prospects of getting rehired at my age (54) are not very good. That will mean selling my house after paying a bunch to refinance. I heard that I can rescind my new deal on the mortgage for good cause. Is this true?

Is it safer to just let things stand as they are until I'm sure about the move?

WHAT HARRY SAYS: You can back out of your deal before settlement and let things stand. You can back out after settlement before midnight on the third day afterward with cause. Obviously, the loss of a job meets that criterion.

If you cancel this way, you are entitled to a refund of any appraisal fees and other payments you made as part of your negotiations. My vote is to try to extend the settlement date until you know for sure about the move. As an alternative, play it safe and wait until then. I do not anticipate much of a change, if any, in interest rates for the rest of the year.

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