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2013 Archives

Knowing When a Mortgage Assumption Makes Sense
With rising interest rates lurking on the horizon, some consumers with homes they plan to sell within the next few years are asking questions about whether they can transfer their low-rate mortgage to a purchaser of their house. These are some of the common ones.

Mortgage Rates Up Slightly Prior to Fed Decision
Mortgage rates rose a bit this week following positive news on home building, with Freddie Mac saying lenders were offering a 30-year fixed-rate loan at an average of 4.47 percent, up from 4.42 percent last week.

Fixed Mortgage Rates Move Lower
Fixed mortgage rates edged lower this week, with Freddie Mac reporting that lenders were offering 30-year fixed home loans at an average of 4.42 percent, down from 4.46 percent a week earlier.

Realtors, Homebuyers Brace for Lower FHA Limits
Larry Kleasner got a memo Tuesday to prepare agents for real estate transactions that could go awry in 2014, as the new Department of Housing and Urban Development single-family loan limits for FHA-backed mortgages take effect.

Qualifying for a Mortgage as a Business Owner
QUESTION: I am self-employed and make a good living. I want to buy a house, but it's hard to document my income. So I've been getting turned down for a mortgage, even though I'm willing to make a large down payment. Any hope for me?

Mortgage Rates Rise, Could Reach 5% in 2014
Mortgage rates now are up more than a full percentage point from the same time a year ago, and one industry firm predicts they will hit 5 percent next year for the first time since 2010.

The Benefits of Adjustable Rate Mortgages
With one daughter in college and another in high school, Guy Hempel and Cherina Rossi face years of tuition payments.

Mortgage Rates Drift Lower
A nervous mortgage market drove interest rates higher this week ahead of the Thanksgiving holiday, with the average for a 30-year fixed-rate loan rising to 4.29 percent from 4.22 percent a week earlier, Freddie Mac said.

Fixed Interest Rates on Home Loans Fall
Fixed mortgage rates fell early this week in the wake of a decline in the inflation rate, with Freddie Mac pegging the 30-year loan at an average of 4.22 percent, down from 4.35 percent last week.

Comparison Shopping Nearly Impossible With Mortgages
Under federal law, every home mortgage borrower must be provided with a good-faith estimate of settlement costs within three days of receipt of the borrower's application. The good-faith estimate, or GFE, was administered for many years by the Department of Housing and Urban Development, which made substantial improvements to it in 2010. Shortly thereafter, responsibility shifted to the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, where it now resides.

Best Mortgage Lenders
Online lender Quicken Loans sits atop J.D. Power & Associates' survey of mortgage customer satisfaction for a fourth straight year.

Interest Rates on Mortgages Climb
Average fixed mortgage rates rose again this week in response to more reports that portrayed the economy as strengthening.

When Mortgage Lenders Don't Deliver
The ombudsman concept developed as a protection, or a source of redress, for individuals treated unjustly by governments, corporations, universities and other entities whose powers vastly exceeded theirs. Their role is to examine complaints made about the entity involved, and to find a way to resolve them.

Improving Economy Pushes Rate Higher
A brighter economic picture sent mortgage interest rates higher this week, with housing finance giant Freddie reporting that a 30-year fixed-rate home loan averaged 4.16 percent, up from 4.1 percent last week.

Use Mortgage Loan Officers to Get Educated
My new program to certify mortgage loan officers, which will become operational early next year, will focus on two features that are critically important to borrowers: price integrity and decision support.

How to Find Best Mortgage Loan Officer
When a mortgage borrower selects a lender with whom to deal, the identity of the company is much less important to the borrower than the identity of the individual loan officer.

Moving Up in Homes; How to Maximize Your Position
Move-up buyers are catching a break.

Sharp Drop in Mortgage Rates
Here's one clear effect of the government shutdown: Mortgage rates have tumbled to their lowest level since spring.

Understanding Changes to Federal Reverse Mortgage Program
Last month, the Federal Housing Administration announced a series of sweeping changes in its reverse mortgage program, most of which have already taken effect. The changes are a response to increasing losses suffered by the FHA in connection with the extensive misuse of the program. A disproportionate number of borrowers were drawing as much cash upfront as they could -- 100 percent of the principal limit, which is what the FHA calls the senior's total borrowing power. This left them no scope for further draws in the future.

Online Mortgage Lenders Vs Traditional Lenders
I was asked the other day by one of my readers whether it's safe to use an online lender. It's not a simple question to answer, but I'm going to lay out the conditions where I believe it's safe, and where I would exercise caution.

Mortgage Loan Denials Hard to Overcome
Consumers who have been rejected for a home mortgage because of problems that they believe have been fixed, or could be fixed, often ask me if I can direct them to a lender "who would be willing to work with me." I hate having to tell them that I don't know any such lenders because there aren't any.

Mortgage Rates Increase
Concerns about the federal government's shutdown and the debt ceiling helped push average mortgage interest rates higher this week.

Debt Crisis Drive Mortgage Rates
Fixed mortgage rates rose early this week amid the debt crisis, Freddie Mac's latest survey showed, with lenders offering the 30-year home loan at an average of 4.28 percent, up from 4.23 percent a week earlier.

Some Borrowers Feeling Pinch of Government Shutdown
A lot of things got in the way of Mary Brady's refinancing her mortgage: being a busy single mom to two teenagers, working full time as a nurse, keeping up with home repairs.

Mortgage Rates Move Little
Mortgage rates inched slightly higher this week as the government remained shuttered, preventing the release of most major economic reports, lender Freddie Mac said Thursday.

Mortgage Rates Hold During Federal Shutdown
Mortgage interest rates have leveled off at their lowest levels since June, with 30-year fixed-rate loans averaging 4.23 percent, statistically unchanged from 4.22 percent last week, according to Freddie Mac's weekly survey.

Why Mortgage Lenders Approve or Deny Loans
Some mortgage applicants will be accepted by every lender, and others will be rejected by every lender. But there is a group of "marginal applicants" who will be rejected by some lenders and accepted by others.

How to Get Best Mortgage
After riding a swift updraft earlier this year, mortgage rates have steadied at around 4.5 percent for a 30-year fixed loan.

Mortgage Rates Down 3 Consecutive Weeks
Mortgage rates have tumbled for the third straight week, with Freddie Mac pegging the 30-year fixed loan at an average of 4.22 percent, down from 4.32 percent last week to the lowest level since June.

Reprieve for Home Buyers
Home buyers fearing a rapid rise in interest rates got a reprieve this week as rates dipped sharply, hitting their lowest level in two months.

9-Week Low for Mortgage Rates
Mortgage rates hit a nine-week low after the Federal Reserve said it would continue its bond-buying program for now, mortgage buyer Freddie Mac said Thursday.

Fed Decision Drives Mortgage Rates Lower
Area homebuyers caught off guard by interest rates that spiked in the past few months could catch a break from the Federal Reserve's decision Wednesday to continue its massive bond-buying effort.

Mortgage Rates Down Ahead of Fed Decision
The Federal Reserve's decision to continue a stimulus program unabated should put more downward pressure on mortgage rates, which had fallen sharply this week even before the central bank announced its decision.

Mortgage Rates Part of Complex Economic Web
Fixed mortgage rates have leveled off more than a percentage point above recent lows, with Freddie Mac reporting that lenders this week were offering the 30-year home loan at an average of 4.57 percent, the same as last week.

Interest Rates on Home Loans Hold
Average interest rates on the popular 30-year, fixed-rate mortgage held steady this week, giving a respite to potential homebuyers who have seen rates creep up for much of the year.

ABCs of Mortgage Rates
Mortgage prices are affected by a variety of factors, some of which potential borrowers understand a lot better than others. For example, most mortgage borrowers understand that the price of a mortgage is different for different mortgage types. On Sept. 10, for example, the best interest rate on mortgages with no fees was about:

Despite Increased Rates, Refis Still Make Sense for Some
It seems as if all eyes are on interest rates right now, from individual investors to the chairman of the Federal Reserve.

Economy Pushes Mortgage Rates Up
Mortgage rates moved closer to their high points for the year this week, buoyed by continued reports of a strengthening economy.

Friends Make Poor Mortgage Referral Sources
"I don't want to price-shop for a mortgage, because I don't feel competent enough and don't want to take the time to educate myself on how to do it. I want to go to a lender who I have been told, by someone I trust, is competent and will treat me fairly. So whom can I trust for such a referral? Are friends who have recently gone through the process my best bet?"

Avoid Mistakes When Selling Home
Recently I put my home up for sale, and because it needed a new roof, deck, and septic system, came face to face with this question. This article is based heavily on that experience, in which I made a serious mistake that other sellers can avoid.

Mortgage Rates Ease
Average mortgage interest rates ticked downward this week, as speculation continued about when the Federal Reserve will taper its bond purchasing.

Understanding How Mortgages Are Priced
Mortgage pricing is a complicated process that allows loan officers who understand it to get the better of borrowers who don't. The first step for any borrower looking to obtain the best possible price is to learn how the pricing process works.

2-Year High for Mortgage Rates
Fixed mortgage rates jumped again this week, with Freddie Mac's widely watched survey saying lenders were offering 30-year home loans at an average of 4.58 percent.

Many Factors When Considering Early Mortgage Payoff
Which is better: To retire without a mortgage or keep the mortgage and retire with a bigger nest egg?

Mortgage Rates Hold
Fixed mortgage rates held steady this week, according to home finance giant Freddie Mac, with lenders offering the 30-year home loan at an average of 4.4 percent, the same as last week.

Mortgage Closing Costs Rise 6%
ATLANTA -- Home prices and mortgage rates aren't the only costs on the rise when it comes to buying a house these days. Expect higher closings costs as well, according to a new study by

Consumers Can Rescind Refinance Loans
Rescinding a contractual agreement is unusual. A major purpose of contracts is to define the rights and obligations of each party, and if provision is made for a rescission, a penalty will almost always be imposed on the rescinding party. For example, when one party to a merger recently decided to rescind, it had to pay a penalty of $150 million.

Mortgage Rates Drifting
Mortgage interest rates leveled off this week, with the average 30-year fixed home loan edging up from 4.39 percent to an even 4.4 percent, Freddie Mac's weekly survey of lenders showed.

Interest Rates Up After 2 Weekly Declines
Mortgage rates rose this week after two consecutive weeks of decline, lender Freddie Mac said Thursday.

Rates Rise but Remain Historically Low
Fixed mortgage rates moved higher this week after two weeks of declines, with the widely watched Freddie Mac survey pegging the average rate for a 30-year home loan at 4.39 percent, up from 4.31 percent last week.

Mortgage Rates Down 2nd Week in a Row
Mortgage rates eased for the second straight week, according to Freddie Mac, with lenders offering the 30-year fixed home loan to solid borrowers at an average of 4.31 percent, down from 4.37 percent a week ago.

Rates and Mortgage Applications Fall
Average mortgage rates ticked downward for a second consecutive week.

Better to Refinance Mortgage With New Lender
A small group of borrowers might profit from refinancing with their current lenders -- the firm they pay each month. Most borrowers, however, will do better refinancing with a new lender.

Reverse Mortgage Disclosures Don't Yield Intended Benefit
A large mass of federal legislation and regulation, with the Truth in Lending Act as the centerpiece, is based on the premise that markets don't work well if one group of participants, such as lenders, knows a lot more than the other group, such as borrowers. And therefore government can make markets work better by mandating that lenders disclose critical information to borrowers.

Fears About Fed Fuels Interest Rate Gyrations
Fixed mortgage rates have settled down along with fears of an abrupt end to the Federal Reserve's economic stimulus efforts, with the average 30-year home loan rate falling from 4.51 percent last week to 4.37 percent early this week, according to Freddie Mac.

Mortgage Rate Relief Arrives
Average mortgage rates ticked downward this week, providing would-be homebuyers and mortgage refinancers with a respite from the climb that began in early May.

Rising Mortgage Rates Still Historically Low
Fixed mortgage rates this week resumed their recent upward trend, with lenders offering 30-year home loans to solid borrowers at an average of 4.51 percent, according to Freddie Mac.

Mortgage Rates Move With Fed Comments
This is the summer the Fed heated up the markets.

Understanding Mortgage Amortization
The standard mortgage contract in the United States today calls for full repayment of the balance over the term with equal monthly payments of principal and interest. For example, a $100,000 loan at 6 percent for 30 years has a monthly payment of $599.56. That payment, if made every month, will pay off the loan in 30 years.

KS Real Estate Pros Say 3% Mortgages Are History
The days of getting mortgage interest rates in the 3 percent range are most likely over, Wichita, Kan.-area mortgage lenders and Realtors said.

Economic Recovery Slows Housing Recovery
A sharp rise in mortgage rates is threatening to slow the momentum that has driven the housing market sharply higher in the past year.

SunTrust Giving New Mortgage Customers $500
SunTrust Mortgage Inc. is paying consumers $500 if they use the Atlanta-based company to finance a home purchase or refinance an existing mortgage.

Long Term Impact of Rising Rates Unclear
The biggest jump in interest rates since 1987 is pummeling the mortgage market and raising worries about the health of the robust housing rebound that has been fueling economic growth this year.

Determining House Affordability
The house purchase season is now in full swing, and many would-be purchasers are wondering whether or not they can afford the price quoted on the house they would like to buy. Alternatively, they may not have started their house shopping and may be wondering what price range they should be exploring.

Oversold Bonds Help Rates Retreat
Fixed mortgage rates fell early this week following last week's dramatic surge, with lenders offering 30-year home loans to solid borrowers at an average of 4.29 percent, according to Freddie Mac.

Declining Mortgage Activity Followed by Drop in Rates
Mortgage rates ticked down this week following last week's big jump, but are still much higher than a year ago, Freddie Mac reported Wednesday.

Fewer Apply for Mortgages as Rates Surge
The biggest jump in interest rates since 1987 is pummeling the mortgage market, sending the average rate on 30-year loans to a two-year high of 4.58 percent last week, the Mortgage Bankers Association reported Wednesday morning.

Home Purchases, Refinances Likely to Slow on Rising Rates
A recent, sharp rise in mortgage-interest rates has raised concerns about whether the housing recovery will soften as home loans become more expensive.

Steps to Overcoming Increasing Interest Rates
By now you've heard the news: Mortgage rates are on the rise. By the end of June, the average 30-year mortgage rate was reported to be above 4 percent.

Wisconsin Homebuyers Rattled by Escalating Rates
Sharply rising interest rates over the past week floored Madison, Wis.-area home buyers suddenly faced with having to find more money to close deals or folding.

Economists Say Rising Rates Won't Hurt Charlotte Market
Don't expect this week's rise in mortgage rates to stall the Charlotte, N.C., region's housing recovery, economists said Friday.

Maine Realtors Warn Market Threatened by Rising Rates
When Jennifer and Mike Babich closed in March on the purchase of their home in Freeport,Maine, they barely qualified for the mortgage.

30-Year Mortgage at Highest Level Since 2011
A huge surge in mortgage rates, which according to Freddie Mac has lifted the the benchmark 30-year loan to 4.46 percent, is the biggest weekly increase since the financial crisis set in, rate watchers say.

Mortgage Lenders Taking On More Risk
Real estate agent Mickey Knickerbocker was as surprised as anybody when her client closed on a $905,000 Manhattan Beach, Calif., town house using "piggyback" financing: a two-mortgage deal designed to minimize the down payment.

Rising Mortgage Rates Cloud Housing Recovery
Mortgage rates have zoomed a full percentage point above their recent record lows, raising costs for borrowers and questions about the housing recovery.

FHA Premiums Rising
Homebuyers without a wad of cash for a hefty down payment: Beware.

First Drop in 7 Weeks for Mortgage Rates
Mortgage rates fell this week for the first time in almost two months, Freddie Mac reported Thursday.

Rising Mortgage Rates Could Benefit Homebuyers
Mortgage rates are close to 4 percent, but in a strange twist, that could be good news for homebuyers.

Mortgage Rates Take Break from Ongoing Ascent
Mortgage rates took time out this week from their recent climb, the Freddie Mac survey reported, with the 30-year fixed-rate loan falling to an average of 3.93 percent from 3.98 percent last week.

Reverse Mortgage Pros, Cons
Retirement has become a frightening prospect for millions of Americans who haven't made adequate financial preparation for it, yet face the likelihood of living much longer than any prior generation of retirees. The Center for Retirement Research at Boston College reports that more than half of all households will not be able to maintain their standard of living in retirement.

3 Decades of declining Mortgage Rates Over
For all the mixed messages from the Fed and the uncertainty that has roiled financial markets recently, one thing looks very clear: The era of declining interest rates is over.

Bank's Customers Ignore Government Refi Program
Huntington Bancshares is having trouble persuading some of its customers to tap a federal program that would help them save money.

Too Late to Refinance?
By now you've heard the news ... mortgage rates are on the rise. Earlier this month, the average 30-year mortgage rate hovered at nearly 4 percent. That upward trend (from 3.5 to 4.0) will likely continue over the coming weeks and months, according to AJC contributor Wes Moss.

14-Month High for Mortgage Rates
Are 30-year fixed-rate mortgages with interest rates beginning with a "3" soon to become something found only in the history books?

Short Sales Hurt Borrower's Credit
Michael Son was just weeks away from closing on a three-bedroom ranch house in New Jersey last year when his lender called with bad news.

Comparison Shopping Difficult in Mortgage Market
Competition is generally viewed as a good thing, in the United States at least. Hence, advertisements that create an image of powerful banks having to compete among themselves for the favor of individual mortgage borrowers creates a generally favorable impression. The problem is that competition generates favorable results only under certain conditions, and those conditions are very difficult to find in the home mortgage market.

5 Weeks of Worsening Mortgage Rates
Fixed mortgage rates shot higher for the fifth consecutive week,Freddie Mac said, with the typical 15-year home loan topping 3 percent for the first time in a year and the 30-year rate rising to an average of 3.91 percent from 3.81 percent a week ago.

Mortgages Hard to Come by if Income Can't Be Documented
In a recent column, I pointed out that mortgage lenders today can make a loan with only 3 percent down to a borrower with a steady job but a credit score of only 570, and have it insured by the Federal Housing Administration. But lenders can't or won't accommodate a self-employed physician who can't adequately document enough income, even if the physician can put 30 percent down and has a credit score of 800. Considering that the likelihood of default is at least 10 times higher on the first mortgage, this is insane.

Mortgage Rates Continue Ascension
Mortgage rates no longer are uber-low.

West Leads Gain in Home Prices
Led by big gains in Western states, national home prices were 12.1 percent higher in April than the year prior, according to a leading home price index, underscoring how low supply and strong demand have become powerful boosts for the nation's housing market.

Government Programs Require Little or No Downpayment
Though many things have changed in the real estate financing business since the housing boom of six years ago, people with an income and good credit can still find financing, said one local mortgage expert.

Rising Mortgage Rates Signal Stronger Economy
The days of ultra-cheap mortgages may be ending, but economists say that's unlikely to slow the housing market -- and indeed reflects growing confidence that the recovery is real.

Homebuyer Rush Could Follow Rate Rise
Mortgage rates have risen half a percentage point since setting record lows last fall, and many economists expect them to continue rising for the foreseeable future.

Subprime Borrowers Still Have Mortgage Options
Think subprime mortgages have gone away? Think again. We have a subprime market lurking within the Federal Housing Administration, with features that are eerily similar to those of the private market that went into hyper-drive in the 2000s and collapsed in 2007.

Historically Low Mortgage Rates at 1-Year High
Fixed mortgage rates have reached their highest level in a year, but still remain near historic lows, Freddie Mac said Thursday.

U.S. Home Prices Rise Nearly 11%
Home prices in the largest U.S. cities are recovering at boom-era levels, with a closely watched index posting its strongest increase in close to seven years.

Fed Comments Put Upward Pressure on Mortgage Rates
Mortgage rates have risen for the third week in a row, with Freddie Mac's survey of lenders pegging the average 30-year fixed-rate home loan at 3.59 percent, up from 3.51 percent last week.

Mortgage Rates Move Higher
Mortgage rates moved up again this week and the average interest rate for a 30-year, fixed rate mortgage is now a quarter percentage point higher than it was three weeks ago.

Mortgage Rates Defy Markets
We are now heading toward the end of the spring home buying season, and mortgage rates remain near record-low levels.

Escrow Accounts Improve Interest Rates
Why did Jones pay more for his mortgage than Smith? One possible reason is that they borrowed at different times, when market conditions were different. Right now, the market is very favorable, but mortgages priced at 3.5 percent today were priced at 17 percent in 1980. There is nothing borrowers can do to affect the general market.

Why Some Borrowers have Higher Interest Rates than Others
Why did Jones pay more for her mortgage than Smith?

Refinance Rates Rise When Borrowers Receive Cash Back
Borrowers who withdraw cash when they refinance are viewed as riskier than those who don't, because the cash withdrawal indicates possible financial distress -- and that perception can raise a borrower's costs.

Dynamics of Low Mortgage Rates
U.S. Air Force retiree Mike Getlinger and wife, Kim, have hit the homeowner triple lottery: three mortgages in 11 years, all at historic lows of 5 percent or less.

Despite Uptick in Rates, Refinances Still Make Sense for Many
As mortgage rates descended, David and Marilou Jasinski decided to jump on for the ride.

Mechanics of Credit Scores
How much does your credit score matter?

Improving Economy Continues to Hurt Mortgage Rates
Mortgage rates rose this week, with a widely watched survey reporting that lenders were offering 30-year fixed-rate loans at an average of 3.51 percent, up from a near-record low of 3.35 percent two weeks ago.

Understanding What Moves Your Credit Score
Many consumers are confused about credit scores, harboring costly misunderstandings that could result in lower scores and thousands of dollars in extra finance charges, according to a just-released survey from the Consumer Federation of America.

Refinances Worth the Work
Bank representatives sifted through Daniel Holmes' life for about three months. To whom did he owe money, and how much? What were his monthly power bills?

Strong Job Market Pushes Up Mortgage Rates
Mortgage rates moved higher this week, for the first time in six weeks, as a result of a stronger-than-expected April jobs report.

Drop in Negative Equity Enables Some Sales
Jim and Jill Barron heard lots of chatter this winter about a housing price rebound but remained skeptical they could quickly sell their three-bedroom Colonial in Berkley, Mich., for the $282,500 asking price.

FHA Program Provides Sandy Help
A federal mortgage loan program that covers the purchase of a house and the cost of renovating it might finally get the attention it deserves as a result of the widespread damage from Hurricane Sandy.

Deciding Between New Construction and Fixer Uppers
Mike and Allison Nys of Billings, Mont., didn't think too hard when deciding whether to build a house or join the remodeling fraternity.

Eliminating Lender Kickbacks Hurts Mortgage Insurance Costs
In April, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau announced that it had moved to end "improper kickbacks paid by mortgage insurers to mortgage lenders in exchange for business." The kickbacks take the form of dividends paid by captive reinsurers that purport to be a risk-sharing device but are in fact a method of paying lenders for the referral of business.

Mortgage Rates Near All-Time Lows
The average interest rate on a 30-year, fixed-rate mortgage continued to hover near its all-time low this week while the 15-year rate fell to a new low, Freddie Mac said Thursday.

Walk Away from Underwater Reverse Mortgage?
QUESTION: We took out a reverse mortgage a few years ago and now want to leave the house to move closer to our children. The loan is more than the property is worth, so we can't sell it. What happens if we just walk away from it?

Los Angeles Outpaces Rise in U.S. Home Prices
U.S. home prices are rising, according to a report released Tuesday.

Inside Credit Scores
The dreaded credit score: It's a number that may have suffered bumps and bruises during the recession, but nonetheless has bearing in the day-to-day lives of everyone. And financial professionals encourage people to monitor it diligently.

Record Low for 15-Year Mortgage
U.S. mortgage rates fell for a fourth consecutive week and the average rate for a 15-year loan hit a new record low, the latest survey of lenders shows.

Reverse Mortgage Math Says Act Sooner than Later
Do you own a house, are you 62 or older, and are you worried about running out of money down the road? If your answer is "yes" to all three questions, you should take out a reverse mortgage right away.

Meetings Help Consumers With Credit Scores
BLOOMINGTON, Ill. -- Credit scores rule almost every aspect of consumers' lives, a financial expert told a group of Twin City residents Tuesday.

Mortgage Rates Close to All-Time Lows
Mortgage rates moved closer to historic lows this week, lender Freddie Mac said Thursday, on a combination of an improving housing market and fears that consumers are pulling back on spending.

Mortgage Rates to Rise
In a new age of low-cost borrowing, average 30-year fixed mortgage interest rates dipped below 4 percent in November 2011 and have not turned back.

Mortgage Rate Locks Harder to Come By Post-Crisis
A mortgage price quote means nothing until it is properly locked with the lender. A rate lock, as it is commonly called, is the lender's commitment that they will make the specified loan at the specified price within a specified future period. The price includes not only the interest rate but also points, which are upfront charges expressed as a percent of the loan; fixed-dollar charges; and (if the loan is adjustable-rate) the margin and maximum rate.

Mobile Apps Help, Hurt Homebuyers
Raj Aurora has been searching to buy his first home for the past three months but hasn't wasted time looking at condos he knows he won't like and hasn't even needed to meet his agent, all thanks to real estate applications that Aurora downloaded on his iPhone 5.

Invest Or Pay Down Mortgage?
Don't let misconceptions prevent you from paying down your mortgage balance. In today's market, it is the best investment most borrowers can make.

How to Get Best Mortgage Deal
My last column discussed homeowners carrying a mortgage rate above the current market rate who could refinance profitably but haven't -- for reasons that don't make sense. Now we'll discuss how those who do intend to refinance or finance the purchase of a home can find the best possible deal.

How To Increase Credit Scores
A credit score is either a blessing or a curse cast down upon you from the digital cloud.

Reasons to Refinance
Interest rates have been at historically low levels for some time now. Some borrowers have refinanced two or three times, but there are others who so far have allowed the opportunity to pass them by.

Banker Remembered for Helping Thousands Buy First Homes
Robert Wertheim, whose Charter Bank was credited with helping thousands of first-time buyers afford homes before it was taken over in 2010 at the height of the housing market collapse, died early Tuesday morning at Presbyterian Hospital in Albuquerque, N.M., after a long bout with cancer. He was 80.

Reverse Mortgage Borrower Foreclosed at 74
Aron Ezilla Ridge, 74, who has myriad health problems and is living on a monthly $641 check from Social Security, might lose the home she's owned since 1968 if a mortgage company gets its way.

Mortgage Rates Sharply Higher
Mortgage rates moved sharply higher this week, with Freddie Mac pegging the typical rate on a 30-year fixed loan at 3.63 percent, up from 3.52 percent last week and 3.31 percent last fall when it set an all-time record low.

Days of Easy Mortgage Credit Gone
Five to 10 years ago, lenders passed out mortgages as eagerly as parents hiding Easter eggs for the first time.

Mortgage Rates Hold Despite Upward Pressure
Unlike the rampaging stock market, mortgage rates are in a holding pattern, with lenders offering the 30-year fixed loan this week at an average 3.52 percent, up from 3.51 percent last week, Freddie Mac said in its weekly survey.

Rates Remain Low
Average U.S. mortgage rates were virtually unchanged this week, remaining near historic lows, mortgage buyer Freddie Mac said Thursday.

Lowest Mortgage Rates at BB&T
BB&T Corp. is offering the lowest fixed mortgage rates of the nation's 10 largest banks, but its car loan rates are among the highest, according to a SNL Financial report.

Expect Mortgage Rates to Rise
As we head into the spring home-buying season, the housing market is picking up steam, and mortgage rates are still near historic lows. Many homebuyers are wondering where mortgage rates are heading this year as they consider purchasing a home.

Consumer Alert: Avoiding Phone Phishing Scams
Consumers who receive incoming calls from their financial institutions are vulnerable to phone phishing scams, where dubious characters extract private data under the premise that they are the consumer's financial service provider.

Mortgage Rates Improve
Mortgage rates eased a bit early this week, Freddie Mac said, with 30-year fixed loans available for solid borrowers at an average 3.51 percent, down from 3.56 percent last week.

Consumers Recover From Mortgage Defaults
Andreea Stucker thought she made a good investment when she bought a Huntington Beach, Calif., condo with her boyfriend in December 2005.

Rates Stay Near Record Lows
Mortgage rates held steady this week, Freddie Mac's survey of lenders showed, with the 30-year fixed-rate loan at an average of 3.53 percent for the third week in a row -- a great deal for those able to take advantage.

FTC Finds 1-in-5 Consumers Have Credit Report Errors
If you've found a mistake in your credit report, you are in good company.

Fewer Apply for Mortgages as Rates Rise
A growing economy and an improving housing market continued this week to nudge mortgage interest rates higher.

Mortgage Rates Jump Past 3.5%
The typical interest rate for a 30-year fixed-rate mortgage shot above 3.5 percent early this week for the first time in more than four months, according to the widely watched Freddie Mac survey.

Mortgage Approval is Intense Process
Lacy Williams, a Realtor with Joyner Fine Properties in Richmond, encountered a few glitches getting financing for a condo in Virginia Beach that she bought a few months ago.

4-Month High for Mortgage Rates
The average interest rate on a 30-year, fixed-rate mortgage moved higher this week, to 3.42 percent, its highest level since Sept. 29, Freddie Mac said Thursday in its weekly report.

Mortgage Rates Rise
Interest rates on fixed mortgages rose this week, according to Freddie Mac, with lenders offering the 30-year home loan at an average 3.42 percent, up from 3.38 percent a week ago.

Consumers Impacted by Major Mortgage Events
Last week brought three big developments to the nation's beleaguered mortgage landscape. For consumers, the complex moves have been mostly mystifying, but experts say they all aim at turning the page.

Fixed Mortgage Rates Jump
With employment improving and the fiscal cliff averted, fixed mortgage rates have jumped to their highest level in two months, with lenders offering the 30-year home loan at 3.4 percent this week, up from 3.34 percent last week, according to Freddie Mac.

Low Rates Benefit Homebuyers, Hurt Savers
Mortgage rates held to their bargain basement lows this week, slipping to 3.34 percent for a 30-year fixed loan and continuing a trend that is expected to last at least through the end of the year.

Single-Income Borrowers Face Tough Mortgage Approvals
The home-ownership pendulum is swinging back in the other direction, said Elisa Jo Eagen.

Tax Break Extended for Distressed Borrowers
Florida homeowners have one more year to complete a short sale and benefit from a federal tax break that was set to expire Tuesday.

Mortgage Rates Hover Near Record Territory
Fixed mortgage rates hovered near their record lows this week, Freddie Mac said, with lenders offering the 30-year fixed home loan at an average of 3.34 percent, down from 3.35 percent a week ago.

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