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2016 Archives

Great Advice For Mortgage Shoppers in 2017
Home sales will accelerate, and Donald Trump will occupy the Oval Office. Those are two predictions we can make with confidence about 2017.

Despite Election Bump, Mortgage Rates Still Low
Add this to all the other outcomes of the nation's presidential election: Mortgage rate jitters.

Documentation Needed for a Reverse Mortgage
When you apply for a reverse mortgage loan, you will need to provide some documentation.

How Credit Scores Impact Your Life
Maintaining your credit score is like trying to hold a snake. It twists. It changes direction seemingly on whim. And it's tempting to simply throw up your hands and let the snake go. But that can be a very bad idea.

Reverse Mortgages and Appreciation, Depreciation
The opportunity to accumulate growing equity in a home is one of the main reasons people are motivated to become homeowners.

The Reverse Mortgage Journey
Before Lisa Mayo got a reverse mortgage loan, she did her homework, just as you might be doing.

Mortgage Fees Rise, Though New Regulations Help
Mortgage fees went up only slightly this year, an exclusive survey finds, even as lenders complain that new federal regulations have dramatically increased their costs.

How FHA Reverse Mortgages are Closed
Q: What happens to the house of someone who secures a reverse mortgage?

Options When Your Mortgage Exceeds Home's Value
First, you probably know what it means, but just to be sure... You are underwater if first, you took out a mortgage on your home and you still owe money on it. And second, your home value -- what it would fetch on the market -- is less than the amount that you owe on the mortgage.

What to Shop for in a Mortgage
A mortgage shopper assumes responsibility for determining the type of mortgage that best meets her needs and finding the loan provider offering the best (or close to the best) price on that mortgage.

Reverse Mortgages for Senior Emergencies
A recent U.S. News & World Report article described how the elderly can prepare for three different emergencies commonly faced by those of retirement age. The article didn't mention, however, the best solution to two of the three problems: a reverse mortgage.

Tips for Buying Foreclosed Properties
Despite increases in home prices and a stabilizing housing market, many experts say the foreclosure crisis is far from over.

Government Extends Mortgage Refinance Program
Seven years after the height of the housing bust, South Floridians still "underwater" on their mortgages could qualify to refinance under a government program that touts an average statewide savings of nearly $200 a month.

What You Need to Know About Applying for Home Loan
Put yourself in a mortgage lender's shoes: Before giving someone a big loan, wouldn't you want to know a lot about them?

ABCs of Interest Rates on Home Loans
The largest financial transaction most homeowners undertake is their home mortgage, yet very few fully understand how mortgages are priced.

Determining Reverse Mortgage Eligibility
A recent change added two steps to the process of obtaining a reverse mortgage.

Deciding About Getting a Reverse Mortgage
Many senior homeowners are attracted to the idea of using a reverse mortgage to draw additional funds but are so fearful of making a costly mistake involving their house, or being taken advantage of by loan providers, that they are immobilized and do nothing.

Ready to Refinance Your Mortgage?
If you took out a mortgage with a 7.5 percent interest rate in 1994 and still have it, refinancing in a 3.5 percent market is a no-brainer; you don't need much analysis to know that refinancing into today's rates will pay.

How Large Prepayments Impact Mortgage Payments
On home mortgages, a large payment to principal reduces the loan balance and with it the fully-amortizing monthly payment, or FAMP.

Rent v Own 2.0
Ah, the momentous choices. It seems that American citizens through history are always being asked to pick sides.

Reverse Mortgages on High-Priced Homes
As a federally insured reverse mortgage program under the Federal Housing Administration, the home-equity conversion mortgage program is not designed to help the wealthy.

Trouble Qualifying for a Mortgage? Try Again Later
Consumers whose credit scores are not among the highest might want to wait until early next year before financing a home purchase or refinancing.

The Business of Credit Scores
Joseph is 43, owns a house outside Los Angeles and works in the entertainment industry.

Big Benefits to 15-Year Mortgage
The 15-year fixed-rate home mortgage is far and away the best option for consumers because of the low interest rate.

Prepaying Your Home Loan
Many mortgage borrowers at some point consider making extra payments or refinancing but are confused as to which would serve them better.

Understanding the Impact of Bad Credit Scores
Most Americans know that a good credit score is essential to the health of their personal finances.

Seller Paid Closing Costs on Home Purchase
Question: In an effort to sell my house, I agreed to pay up to $8,000 of the buyer's closing costs.

Overcoming the Gotcha Reverse Mortgage Market
Last week's article indicated that the market for home equity conversion mortgages -- the federal government's reverse mortgage program -- is not a shoppers market because the product is not well-defined, the prices charged are obscure, and borrowers have no reason to be confident that the product selected will be delivered at the agreed-upon price.

Understanding Mortgage Loan Origination Fees
Buying your first home can be overwhelming, and all the costs and fees involved can be confusing.

Don't Be Afraid of a Reverse Mortgage
The need for a robust reverse mortgage market is large and growing.

Deciding Whether to Rent or Buy
Should you rent or buy? The question never goes away because it is confronted anew by every new cohort of households.

EU Turmoil Creates Refinance Opportunity
With interest rates already hovering near historic lows -- and then getting kicked down a notch by the "Brexit" surprise -- another chance for homeowners to refinance a mortgage at near-bottom rates appears to be under way.

Mortgage Approval Possible With Lower Credit Score
WASHINGTON -- When lenders say their doors are open to home buyers who don't have the best credit profiles, should you believe them?

Understanding Federal Reserve's Impact on Rates
In December, the Federal Reserve raised interest rates for the first time in nearly a decade. And though the increase was small, it had a ripple effect.

Reverse Mortgage Options for Home Purchase
Many home purchasers are seniors. Some become homeowners for the first time, but most have been and want to remain homeowners.

Wraparound Mortgages Turns Sour for FL Homeowners
As first-time homeowners, Angela and Luis Funez feel like they did everything right.

Important Mortgage Closing Documents
In the first two parts of this series of columns, I explained how the large number of documents involved in a mortgage closing can be divided into four basic groups, each of which should be viewed as distinct by borrowers. In this installment, I'll review the categories I refer to as "educational documents" and "future use documents."

Falling Mortgage Rates Mean Refinance Opportunity
If you are hoping for a lower monthly mortgage payment, shorter terms, or a fixed rate, experts say now is a good time to get moving to refinance.

Magnum P.I. Pitching Reverse Mortgages
Actor Tom Selleck has been named the spokesman for reverse mortgage lender American Advisors Group in Orange, California.

Some Mortgage Closing Documents Not Critical
Everyone who has ever closed a real estate transaction knows that the number of documents that must be signed at the closing table is enormous.

The Pros and Cons of Reverse Mortgages
Cash-strapped baby boomers entering their retirement years might look to generate additional income by using a reverse mortgage to tap into their home equity.

Pick House Then Rent With Option to Buy
After Chris Verville moved to Sarasota, Florida, for a job in 2012, he soon decided he wanted to buy a home for his growing family.

Interest Rises Among 1st-Time Home Buyers
Kaleb Wingate grew up in Haywood County, North Carolina, and after graduating from law school, his options were wide open, but he elected to come home to Haywood to begin his career.

Understanding New Mortgage Disclosures
For years, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau worked to integrate the mortgage loan disclosures required by the Truth in Lending Act, or TILA, and the Real Estate Settlement Procedures Act of 1974, or RESPA.

Federal Program Finances Home Improvements
Hundreds of home improvements have been funded in South Florida through an innovative program that requires no cash up front, and credit scores aren't used to determine eligibility.

Understanding Reverse Mortgages
Reverse mortgages have become the cash-strapped homeowner's financial planning tool of choice.

Understanding Reverse Mortgage Options
When a borrower is weighing whether or not to take out a home equity conversion mortgage -- the reverse mortgage offered through the Federal Housing Administration -- there are three key decisions to consider.

Home Down Payments in High Priced Areas
Question: How much should someone have saved before they look into buying a $500,000 home in Hawaii?

Falling Rates Stimulate Mortgage Activity
Mortgage interest rates this week slipped to their lowest level in three years, adding fuel to an already sizzling spring housing market.

Mortgages Now Safer for Borrowers Than Pre-Crisis
Millennials who watched their parents or grandparents struggle with toxic mortgages, short sales and foreclosure might be reluctant to buy a home and get a mortgage themselves.

15-Year Mortgages Are the Wise Choice
While there is only one good reason for a prospective borrower to opt for a longer 30-year mortgage, there are several reasons to instead go with a 15-year loan.

Lease-to-Own Helps Some Become Homeowners
Lease-to-own contracts and land contracts are different legal ways to transfer occupancy of a property from an existing owner who does not want to occupy it to someone else who does but cannot immediately qualify for the financing required to purchase it outright.

Choosing Best Reverse Mortgage Options
This article describes the three major decisions that must be made in taking out a reverse mortgage. The purpose is to alert potential borrowers to the information they will need to make the best decisions possible, and where to get it.

Pros, Cons to VA Mortgages
Crossroads veterans are using a Department of Veterans Affairs home loan that is some times over looked or misunderstood, mortgage professionals said.

Homebuying Process A-Z
Here's a secret for first-time homebuyers: No two homebuying experiences are the same. Even with a Zillow sneak peak, a shopper never really knows what homes will look like until they see them in person or what snags they'll encounter once mortgage lenders and home inspectors get involved.

The ABCs of FHA Mortgages
One of the financing options for homebuyers looking to purchase a house is an FHA loan. But many consumers might not have a clear understanding of what an FHA loan is.

Buying Home With Little or No Down Payment
Homebuyers with little money for a down payment are finding more home loans available.

Planning Retirement Using Reverse Mortgage
Use a Reverse Mortgage to Pay Off an Existing Mortgage Carrying a Monthly Payment

Benefits of Bi-Weekly Mortgage Payments
Homeowners interested in saving thousands of dollars over the life of their mortgage can follow a simple trick: pay half a monthly mortgage bill every two weeks.

Best Phone Apps for Home Buyers
In the Bay Area's competitive real estate market, agents are always looking for a tech-based advantage. They use FaceTime to sell houses sight-unseen to foreign buyers. They hire drone photographers to get that aerial money shot of the cliff-side mansion that's about to hit the listings.

Understanding Documents Needed for Mortgage Approval
Mortgage lenders require paperwork that verifies every facet of your financial life: income, debts, assets and more.

How Much Will Reverse Mortgage Leave for Heirs?
Will taking out a reverse mortgage leave nothing for my heirs?

Mortgage Repayment Myths and Truths
The phrase "weird trick" seems to have great sales appeal, judging from the frequency with which it appears in my email inbox.

The Truth About What Impacts Credit
If you think the credit reporting process is complicated and too hard to understand, you're absolutely right.

Death of Spouse on a Reverse Mortgage
Widows and widowers may be able to keep their homes, even if they weren't named as borrowers on their spouses' reverse mortgages.

Early Payment Options for Mortgage Borrowers
For many borrowers, it is easier to accelerate the pay down of a mortgage balance if the process of making extra payments is routinized.

Understanding How Early Mortgage Payments Work
This is the second of a series on questions about mortgage repayment.

How Credit Scores Impact Mortgage Rates
The most influential determinant of your mortgage rate is your credit score.

Understanding How to Purchase a Foreclosed Property
Buying a foreclosed home is a little different from buying a typical resale.

Pay Down Mortgage or Invest?
Questions from readers about why and how to pay off a mortgage early out-number those I receive on any other topic, including loan origination.

USDA Mortgages Great for Some 1st Time Buyers
Here's a much-belated Christmas present from me to those of you who are first-time buyers and struggling to come up with a down payment and closing costs for Home No. 1:

Pros, Cons of Home Down Payment Insurance
Investment in a home is often the largest investment a consumer will ever make, so any measures to reduce the risk deserve careful attention.

Mortgage Rates Expected to Rise in 2016, 2017
Mortgage rates, which have averaged less than 4 percent on 30-year loans for three of the last four years, could be at 4.5 percent by the end of this year and then hit 5 percent in 2017, the chief economist for the National Association of Realtors said in Milwaukee Monday.

Understanding Down Payments on Home Purchases
I recently set out to write about a new program of down payment insurance but quickly realized that such an article should be prefaced by another one that clarified what the down payment is and what it is not.

Better to Invest Than Pay Off Mortgage
Should you invest with your spare cash or pay off your mortgage early?

Reverse Mortgage Basics
Reverse mortgages have become the cash-strapped homeowner's financial planning tool of choice.

Using HECM Reverse Mortgage to Purchase Annuity
My article last week discussed the longevity annuity as a tool for protecting retirees heavily dependent on a stock of financial assets against the risk of running out of money.

FHA Makes Home Ownership Possible for Many
Janine Johnson became part of a surge of Sonoma County, California, homebuyers who last year used FHA loans to purchase real estate.

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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