Another way to put more money in your pocket is to tap into the equity you've built in your home and do a "cash-out" refinance. In this scenario, your bank would structure a loan for an amount higher than the amount necessary to pay off your current principal balance. The extra funds available would be distributed to you as cash. This can provide the money you need to remodel your home, pay off high-interest rate bills, or send your kids to college.
PMI (Private Mortgage Insurance)
If you were unable to make a down payment of 20 percent when you purchased your home, you may have been required to purchase Private Mortgage Insurance or PMI. If your house has appreciated since then, and you've steadily paid down your mortgage, your equity may now be more than 20 percent. If you refinance, you will no longer need PMI.
In many ways, your house is like a cash cow. If you have discipline and knowledge of the benefits of refinancing, you can tap into its milk for years to come.