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Consumer Mortgage News
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Consumer Mortgage News
2014 Archives

Signs Point to Higher Mortgage Rates in 2015
Are you carrying a big credit card balance?

The Benefits of Paying Off a Mortgage Early
Conventional wisdom says that making extra payments toward your mortgage saves interest.

Picking the Right Reverse Mortgage Loan Originator
One important reason the home loan market works so poorly is that borrowers have no reliable way to select the loan originator -- the individual who takes the borrower through the loan process.
Analyzing If Reverse Mortgage Makes Sense

In my father's generation, very few people still had a mortgage to pay when they reached retirement age.

Millennials Expected to Impact 2015 Housing Market
Ben and Kellen Goldsmith, both in their late 20s, feel lucky to have bought their first home last month for $620,000 amid one of the tightest housing markets in at least a decade.

When to Close on a Home Loan
Does is matter which day of the month your mortgage closes?

Mortgage Program Would Benefit Borrowers
Last week I suggested that the standard mortgage was very difficult for many borrowers to manage because of its rigid payment obligation, the fixed payment period and payment amount, and the high cost of building a payment reserve.

Mortgage Rates Slip
Lenders were offering 30-year fixed mortgages to solid borrowers this week at an average of 4.01 percent, a Freddie Mac survey found, down a hair from 4.02 percent last week.

Interest Rates on Home Loans Could Increase
In mid-October, there were economic struggles in Europe, Ebola arrived in the U.S. and the stock market plunged.

Standard Mortgage Is Obsolete
Last week I wrote about the so-called wealth-builder mortgage, designed to marry the rapid balance pay-down of a 15-year mortgage with the low monthly payment of a 30-year mortgage. I concluded that without the lender or government providing a subsidy, the wealth-builder doesn't work.

Rolling Improvements Into FHA Mortgage
Knoxville, Tenn., residents Fawn Harrison and David Haynes visited about 100 old houses before finding the home they sought: a two-story house built in 1910.

Why Mortgages Harder to Get
The housing sector today is not providing the economic stimulus we had come to expect during periods of economic recovery. A major reason is that the underwriting rules and practices that determine whether or not an applicant qualifies for a home mortgage are much stricter today than they were before the financial crisis.

Understanding FHA Reverse Mortgages
The kosher stamp on a food means that it has been certified as fit for human consumption. We need a comparable certification process for financial instruments sold to consumers, with the need most pronounced for the more complex instruments.

Cutting Mortgage Closing Costs
In a recent article I proposed that Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac be removed from limbo and given a new mission: to create a better primary mortgage market. Among other things, this would include the elimination of third party settlement costs.

More Than Rates to Consider When Deciding on FHA
Choosing between a conventional and Federal Housing Administration-insured mortgage is not an academic question. My calculations show that the wrong choice can cost as much as $33,000 over 15 years on a $200,000 loan, and as much as $66,000 on a $400,000 loan.

Fewer Seniors Seeing Mortgage-Free Retirements
When Tom Greco bought his four-bedroom home three decades ago, he assumed he'd pay off the mortgage before retirement -- just as his parents did.

Hope for Homebuyers With Low Credit Scores
Fear of a loan denial has led some consumers with low credit scores to simply not bother applying for a mortgage. But, while you'll still have to provide proof of your income and assets and an explanation of your low credit score, it is possible to get a mortgage with a low credit score from some lenders.

Mortgage Rates Spike to Highest Level Since May
Mortgage rates rose this week at the fastest pace of the year, with Freddie Mac's survey showing lenders were offering 30-year fixed-rate loans at an average of 4.23 percent, up from 4.12 percent last week.

Reverse Loan Borrowers Vulnerable to Rate Spike
For the last 24 years, mortgage interest rates have been in the single-digits, supporting a widespread presumption in the mortgage industry that this is the normal state of affairs.

When to Use a No-Cost Mortgage
A no-cost mortgage is one on which all lender fees are waived, and (subject to the possible exceptions described below) other fees are paid by the lender.

Home Financing for Single Borrowers
Steven Ganley was lucky enough to earn his master's degree in accounting from Duquesne University last year without piling up any debt.

Making Right Decisions in Choosing a Mortgage
Most home buyers who need a mortgage place themselves in the hands of a loan officer or mortgage broker referred to them by their real estate agent, or by a friend, relative or business associate.

Many Miss Out on Government Refinance Program
WILKES-BARRE, Pa. -- Homeowners struggling to meet monthly payments still have time to refinance through the Home Affordable Refinance Program, but many are not fully aware of the program.

Global Woes Create Opportunity for Refinancing
Global woes could have an upside on the home front.

Days of Low Mortgage Rates are Numbered
If you're borrowing to buy a house, there's almost never been a better time to do it.

Managing Credit Score for Mortgage Approval
Questions: "Can I get a mortgage with a credit score of 450?" Answer: If you get one, it won't be a mortgage you want.

When to Use Reverse Mortgage for Home Purchase
Many home purchasers are seniors. Some become homeowners for the first time, but most have been and want to remain homeowners. They just don't want to remain in their current house. They may want a house that has no stairs, or one that is closer to family or friends, or in a warmer climate. In many cases, they want to downsize, both the physical house and the financial burdens that come with it.

Benefits of Larger Downpayments
Consumers looking to purchase a home within the near future face many decisions, including how large a down payment to make. The down payment is the sale price (confirmed by an appraisal) less the loan amount.

Mortgage Rates Locked in Sideways Motion
Mortgage rates are moving fast in one direction this summer -- sideways.

Mortgage Points Vs Rebates
Yes, U.S. mortgage lenders will pay rebates to borrowers. This is a potentially valuable option which, to my knowledge, is not offered anywhere else in the world.

Reverse Mortgage Policy Changes Impact Spouses
The United States faces a retirement funds crisis: a rapidly growing number of people who retire without the financial capacity to support themselves during ever-increasing life spans.

How to Avoid Balloon Mortgage Payment
QUESTION: Due to an illness, I had to work out a loan modification with my mortgage lender several years ago. The modification significantly lowered the payments, but it requires that we pay off the remainder of the balance at the end of the loan term as a balloon payment. It's coming up soon, and I don't have the money to make the payment. What can I do?

How to Pay Off Mortgage Early
Some schemes for paying off a mortgage early, such as bi-weeklies and bi-monthlies, are offered by lenders while others are entirely within the control of the borrower.

Adjustable Rate Mortgages Sometimes the Better Choice
The Mortgage Bankers Association reports that only about one of every 10 home mortgages being written today carries an adjustable interest rate.

Surviving Spouses Win from New Reverse Mortgage Rule
Former Sen. Fred Thompson and the Fonz may pitch reverse mortgages on TV as a way for people to live a better life in the twilight years, but there are pitfalls to the product that federal agencies are starting to fix.

The Value of a Pre-Approval Letter
With bargaining power shifting from homebuyers to sellers in an increasing number of local markets, buyers in competition with other buyers are looking for any edge they can get. One possible edge is a pre-approval letter, or PAL, from a lender.

Fixed Mortgage Rates Slip
Mortgage interest rates eased slightly last week, with lenders offering 30-year fixed-rate home loans to solid borrowers at an average of 4.17 percent, down from 4.2 percent a week earlier, Freddie Mac said.

Federal Program Cuts Borrower Costs on Mortgages
Home loans are about to go on the discount rack for first-time buyers willing to spend a few hours learning the ropes of homeownership, from applying for a mortgage to choosing a contractor for a kitchen remodel.

Determining Whether to Include Spouse on Application
Question: My wife and I are looking to purchase a $450,000 home, and I am wondering whether I should apply for the mortgage as an individual, or jointly with my wife. I make $84,000 a year and have a credit score of about 800. She makes $48,000 and has a credit score of about 680.

The True Cost of a Home Loan
For over 40 years, the centerpiece mortgage disclosure mandated by the Truth in Lending Act has been the annual percentage rate, or APR.

Many Consumers Understand Credit Scores, Some Don't
After all the education that's been spread about credit scores, consumers are finally getting it.

Interest Rates on Home Loans Down 4 Consecutive Weeks (May 26)
Mortgage rates hit new lows for the year during the past week, mortgage buyer Freddie Mac said Thursday.

Most Important Documents at Mortgage Closing (May 17)
The first two parts of this series dealt with the relatively easy parts of the closing process: junk documents that require little attention, educational documents that can be read at leisure, and future-use documents that require only to be set aside.

6-Month Low for Fixed Mortgage Rates
Mortgage rates edged down a hair this past week, hovering at the lowest level in six months, with Freddie Mac reporting that lenders were offering 30-year fixed home loans at an average of 4.20 percent compared to 4.21 percent a week earlier.

Mortgage Rates Fall for 2nd Consecutive Week
A dismal report on first-quarter economic growth is good news for homebuyers.

Important Documents at Mortgage Closings
The best way for mortgage borrowers to prepare themselves for the deluge of documents they will face at the closing table is to sort all the documents into different categories that require different treatment.

Understanding Mortgage Closing Documents
I recently read that the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau is going to make the mortgage closing process more consumer-friendly. Do you think it can?

Mortgage Rates Slip on Weak Economic Report
With inflation fears at bay, fixed-rate home loans got a bit cheaper this week, with Freddie Mac's survey putting the average interest rate for a 30-year mortgage at 4.29 percent, down from 4.33 percent a week ago.

Dip in Mortgage Rates Followed by Rise
Fixed mortgage rates edged higher this week, with Freddie Mac reporting that lenders were offering 30-year loans to solid borrowers at an average of 4.33 percent, up from 4.27 percent a week ago.

Understanding Simple Interest on Mortgage Can Save Money
I recently discovered that the second mortgage I have had for nine years was simple interest, which explains why I have made barely a dent in paying down the balance.

Interest Rates Improve on Home Loans
Mortgage rates have fallen as the spring home-buying season begins, with Freddie Mac pegging the average 30-year fixed loan at 4.27 percent this week, the lowest it has been since early February.

Understanding When to Get a Reverse Mortgage
Some seniors don't qualify for a reverse mortgage, either because they are not old enough (you must be at least 62), or because their home equity, the difference between the value of their home and the balance of their existing standard mortgage, is too small.

Mortgage Rates Improve
Lenders were offering 30-year fixed-rate mortgages at an average of 4.34 percent this week compared with 4.41 percent a week ago, according to the widely watched survey from home finance giant Freddie Mac.

Fixed Mortgage Rates Edge up
Mortgage rates leveled off early this week, with the average for a 30-year fixed loan at 4.41 percent, a smidge above the 4.4 percent recorded a week earlier, Freddie Mac said.

Association Dues Still Owed After Foreclosure
I went into foreclosure several years ago on my condominium because I was not able to afford the mortgage and condo dues and stopped paying both. About a year ago, I went through a Chapter 7 bankruptcy and moved to a new home I am renting. I recently got a letter from my former association saying I owe money for unpaid dues. Do I?

Using USDA to Finance Rural Homes
Randall Gore, North Carolina state director for USDA Rural Development, announced that applications for housing loans are now being accepted for the low and very low income citizens in rural North Carolina.

Understanding Early Mortgage Payoff Options
A standard, fully amortizing mortgage pays off the balance over the term. With a 30-year term, this requires 360 monthly payments, while a 15-year term requires 180 payments.

Interest Rates on Mortgage Rise
Fixed mortgage rates rose early this week, with Freddie Mac's survey showing lenders offering 30-year loans to solid borrowers at an average of 4.4 percent, up from 4.32 percent in the previous week.

Diligence Needed When Buying in Short Sale
I'm buying a short sale. After I submitted the application, the seller's bank told me I could expect an answer in 30 days. But that date has come and gone with no answer yet. It's an all-cash offer for market value. Doesn't the bank have to follow its own deadline and at least give me an answer in the time frame it set?

Low Down Payment Alternatives for Home Purchases
If you have a young family, chances are that you won't have a 20 percent down payment to put on a house. Without that big pile of money, non-veterans will be going to the Federal Housing Administration for their mortgage, or paying private mortgage insurance on a conventional loan.

How to Avoid Lowering Your Credit Score
Many people know that making late payments, skipping payments or filing for bankruptcy are surefire ways to ruin their credit.

How to Pay Down Mortgages More Quickly
Homeowners with a mortgage usually want to reduce their interest cost by paying down the loan balance as fast as possible. This column is about what borrowers can and cannot do on their own.

Mortgage Rates Improve, Could Worsen
Fixed mortgage rates fell early this week, with Freddie Mac reporting the average for 30-year loans dropped to 4.32 percent from 4.37 percent last week.

Mortgage Rates Forecasted to Rise in 2014
Around this time last year, I forecast that mortgage rates would increase in 2013. Back then, rates on a 30-year fixed mortgage were hovering around 3.5 percent. I predicted that we would see a gradual rise in 2013 to 4 percent or so.

Advice for First Home Purchase
With two daughters and a baby on the way, Carlos and Cinthya Jijon decided last year to buy a house for about the same monthly cost as a bigger apartment. But they couldn't find a home.

7 Reasons to Refinance
Does a new home loan make sense?

Obtaining Your Credit Score for Free
Linzi Hansen of Elk River, Minn., requested her credit report after the Target breach, but the 24-year-old found the report frustrating and incomplete.

Buying Home With Non-Spouse Requires Preparation
More and more couples, both mixed- and same-sex, are electing to live together without getting married, and often this includes purchasing a home together. This is a major decision fraught with potential consequences if and when they decide to split.

Homebuyers Competing With Wall Street for Properties
Institutional investors are paying cash for Seattle-area houses and converting them to rentals. That's more bad news for beleaguered first-time homebuyers, who already have enough trouble with stagnant wages, student-loan debt, rising prices and tighter lending standards.

Positive Employment Report Pushes Mortgage Rates Up
Mortgage rates edged higher early this week, with Freddie Mac's survey showing lenders offering 30-year fixed-rate loans to solid borrowers at 4.37 percent, up from 4.28 percent a week earlier.

Credit Scores Could Arrive in Monthly Statements
Consumers who want to get their hands on a free credit score might want to look at their credit card statements or online accounts.

Mortgage Rates Slip as Economic News Weak
The cost of a home loan dropped early this week on less than robust news about the economy and housing, with Freddie Mac reporting that the average interest rate for a 30-year fixed mortgage was 4.28 percent, down from 4.37 percent a week earlier.

Marriage and Mortgages
When a married couple purchases a house with the help of a mortgage, they become subject to a wide range of legal rules and custom-based practices at every stage of the process.

Mortgage Rates Rise 4th Consecutive Week
Mortgage interest rates have changed little in recent days, with Freddie Mac saying fixed rates edged higher for a fourth straight week while start rates fell a notch on variable home loans.

Understanding Rebates on New Home Purchases
QUESTION: I purchased a home from builder XYZ for $320,000, and have a $10,666 Realtor rebate coming back to me. The builder had me sign a paper that says the Realtor rebate can only be used to pay settlement costs. In addition, if I use XYZ's lender, the lender will pay $5,000 toward my settlement costs.

Homeownership After Foreclosure
Just 10 days before Christmas 2009, Ganel Appolon found an envelope taped to his front door. He and his family were being evicted from their Tamarac, Fla., home. Appolon had fallen behind on his mortgage payments, and the lender repossessed the property under terms of his bankruptcy filing.

How Lenders Determine Whether to Approve Short Sales
QUESTION: We are no longer able to pay our mortgage due to a hardship. After doing a lot of research, including reading your columns, we decided to try a short sale. We listed the property, found a strong buyer and submitted all the required paperwork to our lender. Now the lender wants us to auction off the house. What gives?

Tools Help Manage Credit Scores
So you're looking at your credit score, wondering how it's ever going to get better. Or you're thinking you should do something about socking away more money for that South American vacation, the kids' college fund, your eventual retirement.

Home Shoppers Get Great Deal on Foreclosed Properties
MANATEE, Fla. -- The foreclosed home market is not an easy one for home shoppers who want to live in the houses they buy.

Short and Long Term Benefits of Reverse Mortgages
In a recent column, I described a reliable, easy-to-use calculator that could improve the ability of seniors to determine whether or not their lives would be benefited by a home equity conversion mortgage, or HECM. Having a tool is one thing, but knowing how to use it effectively is another.

Mortgage Rates Move Up
Fixed mortgage rates crept higher again early this week, with Freddie Mac reporting that lenders were offering 30-year home loans to solid borrowers at an average 4.33 percent, up from 4.28 percent last week.

Timing a Home Sale
Home sellers in many areas of the country face a problem that's rather nice to have: They have found a buyer who is eager to move in, and now they must find another property to buy -- the faster the better.

30 Year Fixed Rates Move Higher
A five-week decline in fixed mortgage rates has ended, with Freddie Mac's survey showing the 30-year home loan averaged 4.28 percent early this week, up from 4.23 percent a week ago.

3-Month Low for Mortgage Rates
Weaker signals from the housing markets sent mortgage rates lower for the fifth week in a row, with Freddie Mac reporting that lenders were offering 30-year fixed home loans to solid borrowers at an average of 4.23 percent, down from 4.32 percent a week ago.

Bitcoin-Based Mortgages Ahead?
Will home purchases and mortgages ever be transacted in bitcoins?

Four Weeks of Declining Mortgage Rates
Fixed mortgage rates fell for the fourth week in a row following the release of weaker housing data, according to Freddie Mac, which said lenders were offering 30-year fixed home loans to solid borrowers this week at an average of 4.32 percent.

Mortgage Rates Fall on Housing Reports
Two reports showing sluggishness in the housing market helped push down average mortgage rates this week.

Huge Benefits for Early Mortgage Payoff
Paying off your mortgage might sound like an ambitious New Year's resolution, especially if you have recently refinanced into a 30-year term. But it's still smart for homeowners to give some serious thought as to how they'll pay off their home loan.

How to Finance Lots With Multiple Structures
Recent questions in my mailbox:

Mortgage Rates Drift Lower on Economy
Fixed mortgage rates have drifted lower, according to Freddie Mac, which said lenders were offering 30-year fixed home loans at an average of 4.39 percent this week, down from 4.41 percent a week ago.

Eliminating Mortgage Insurance
Home prices rose so significantly across Inland Southern California in 2013 that consumers who have been paying private mortgage insurance on their home loans for years not only may be emerging from underwater home equity positions.

Weakening Recovery Pulls Mortgage Rates Down
Signs that the economic recovery was weakening caused mortgage interest rates to drop early this week, with lenders telling Freddie Mac they were offering 30-year fixed loans to solid borrowers at an average rate of 4.41 percent.

Reverse Mortgage Resources
People reaching retirement age are living longer than ever, and retiring with less capacity to maintain their living standards. With good reason, this situation has been termed a "retirement funds crisis."

Consumer Guide to New Mortgage Rules
New mortgage rules designed to cut down on risky mortgages and avoid another foreclosure crisis took effect Friday.

Economy, New Mortgage Regulations Hold Rates
Mortgage rates leveled off in familiar territory this week, home finance giant Freddie Mac said, with lenders offering 30-year fixed loans to solid buyers at an average of 4.51 percent, down from 4.53 percent last week.

ARM Benefits, Drawbacks
When Michael Shuken recently bought his family's first home, a four-bedroom in Los Angeles' Mar Vista area, his adjustable-rate mortgage helped them stay on the pricey Westside.

Eliminating Mortgage Insurance
QUESTION: We bought our home in 2005 with a no-down-payment loan that required private mortgage insurance.

Expert Predicts Higher Mortgage Rates in 2014
Will mortgage interest rates continue to move higher this year?

Surging Payments for Many on Home Equity Credit Lines
You wanted a reliable pot of money to tap when your kids started college. Or to pay for a new car when the old clunker finally conked out. Or to splurge on a tropical vacation.

Improved Economy Increases Mortgage Rates
The economy is brightening as 2014 arrives -- but that could signal higher borrowing costs for homebuyers as the Federal Reserve scales back its efforts to lower interest rates and the chance of higher inflation increases.

Slight Bump in Mortgage Rates
The average interest rate on a 30-year, fixed-rate mortgage crossed over the 4.5 percent mark earlier this week, increasing to 4.53 percent, Freddie Mac reported Thursday.


Consumer Mortgage News Archives


 
Refinance News
News about refinance programs, pricing and production.
H A R P 2.0 News
News stories about the H o m e Affordable Refinance Program including expanded program guidelines.





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