oh yeah I meant to reply to this over the weekend and forgot about it. Pretty much what Irate said.
It's virtually the same process as applying for the initial mortgage, same paperwork, etc.
You need to pay closing costs again (which include a re-assesment) but you can usually roll that into the loan.
If you use an escrow, you might need to pay for that out of pocket.
If you have equity in your home, shop around. I made the mistake of assuming going through the same bank would make the process quicker/easier. It did not, I still had to re-provide every bit of information. The only difference is that if you have an escrow now and plan to use an escrow after the refi, you don't need any money for the initial escrow payment because the account won't change. If you change banks you pay out of pocket to build up the new escrow and receive a check for your old escrow a few weeks later. Even if you stay with the same bank you might need to pay something if your new payment is going to be higher than before (i.e. 30 -> 15 yr mortgage).
I didn't use an escrow after my refi so I had 0 advantage of staying with the same bank.
Also if you have good equity (18% +) you can look at a home equity loan instead of a new mortgage. There are no closing costs + you can take out more money as a straight loan (i.e. for fixup projects), but I don't think you get any tax breaks so it wasn't worth it for me.
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-- He's dead, all right.
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