When you have a mortgage on your home, you're typically locked into the rate you received, whether it's fixed or variable, for the life of your mortgage. However, that doesn't mean that you can't refinance your mortgage to either adjust your payment, get a better rate, or gain other benefits. Here's a look at a few times when you might want to call your mortgage lender about the possibility of a refinance.

Your Credit Score Has Improved

When you apply for a mortgage, your interest rate, points, and more are heavily dependent on your credit score and history. If you've had your current mortgage for a few years and your credit score has improved, with a history of consistent payments, you might be able to lower your interest rate and remove some points from your mortgage if you refinance. 

Your mortgage lender can do a soft pull on your credit, which doesn't affect your score, to give you an idea if it would be worthwhile to refinance with them based on the changes to your credit since you got your mortgage. You can also call other lenders to see if anybody can offer you a better loan than your current provider with your improved credit conditions.

Interest Rates Have Dropped

There's little that's more frustrating with a mortgage than buying your home in the middle of a higher interest rate period only to see those rates drop substantially in the years after your purchase. The good news is that you might be able to take advantage of the lower market rates by refinancing your mortgage.

When you refinance your existing mortgage, you're applying for a whole new loan. That means your refinance rate will be based on the current market rates, not the rates your initial mortgage carried. During times when the market interest rates are low, refinancing is a great money-saving option.

You Have Built Equity

If you have had your current mortgage for some time and have paid down the principal significantly, you may find that any home improvements you've done have pushed your home's value beyond the balance of your mortgage. The value above and beyond your mortgage amount is equity.

Having equity in your home allows you to refinance your mortgage for the current value of the home, pay off your existing mortgage, and receive that equity balance in cash. Whether you have a child who is headed to college, a major expense you hadn't foreseen, or any other reason why that money could be beneficial, this is a great time to refinance your mortgage and cash out that value.