When should I search for refinancing on loan with high interest and an ARM with penalties?

I’m trying to fix my credit; my ARM expires in May on my house mortgage. I pay over 8%. There is a high penalty for prepayment. When should I begin contacting companies to get quotes to refinance-before or after the ARM date? I’m not sure how lenders operate.

I am planning on refinancing my car loan but I think my current mortgage payment will affect the banks decision. So my question is, when they ask what my mortgage is, should I include escrow or just principal and interest?

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