Consumers Impacted by Changes in Mortgage Rules
Getting a mortgage today is much different than it was before the financial crisis.
Mortgage Programs for Homebuyers Who Lack Residency
Residency is not a requirement for owning real estate in the United States.
Changes to Reverse Mortgages Impact Home Purchases
When I wrote about purchasing a house with a home-equity conversion mortgage earlier this year, a major issue faced by borrowers was whether to pay a penalty insurance premium in order to maximize the cash draw on the reverse mortgage.
Using Higher Interest Rates to Cut Mortgage Costs
Mortgage borrowers have some control over the amount of cash they must produce at the closing table. Minimizing the amount, however, may or may not be in their long-term interest.
Reverse Mortgages Can Be Hazardous
Actor and pitchman Tom Selleck, among others, has helped persuade more than 1 million seniors in markets like Palm Beach County, Florida, that reverse mortgages are not "too good to be true."
What Are Mortgage Points?
When people want to find out how much their mortgages cost, lenders often give them quotes that include loan rates and points.
Program Makes Mfg Housing Loans Easier, Cheaper
Neighbors Ron Therrien and Dave Bucceny take a break from yard work Wednesday at Medvil Cooperative, a resident-owned community for those 55 and older in Goffstown, New Hampshire. A new Fannie Mae pilot program is making it easier and cheaper for people to buy a home in resident-owned parks.
End House Payments With Reverse Mortgage
If you're an older homeowner and are ready to say goodbye to mortgage payments, you might consider letting your home's equity finish off your loan.
Use Numbers to Decide Whether to Rent or Own
Buying a home is probably the biggest financial decision most of us will make. While many variables factor into that decision, one key element is whether it makes more financial sense to buy a home rather than renting one.
Getting Your House in Order Before Home Purchase
Buying a house is a life-changing process that requires lots of upfront financial planning.
Senior Deciding on Whether to Downsize
Question: I am an 86-year-old widow. I own a townhouse with stairs, which are becoming difficult. I must dip into savings to pay taxes and insurance. I might need those savings for a nursing home some day. I'm thinking of selling and buying a less-expensive condo with costs I can manage with my retirement income. But now I hear that renting and investing may be better than buying and building equity. But rents are high, too. Any thoughts?
How to Determine if Refinance Makes Sense
Question: What is the worst mistake made by borrowers looking to refinance?
What FHA Reverse Mortgage Changes Mean
My email inbox has recently been crowded with messages from seniors who are anxious about impending changes in the home-equity conversion mortgage program. Many of them are wondering whether they should try to finalize a HECM before Oct. 2, when the changes go into effect.
Reverse Mortgage Rush as Costs Set to Rise
A rules change that will raise fees and reduce loan amounts for reverse mortgages apparently has created a nationwide rush to get new loans completed before the reforms take effect Monday, Oct. 2.
Mortgage Firms Help Hurricane-Stricken Borrowers
Weathering the financial aftermath of Hurricane Irma can be stressful and expensive.
Opinion: Make Credit Bureaus Bare Burden of Breaches
After Equifax revealed earlier this month that hackers accessed the Social Security numbers, birth dates and other intimate information of 143 million people, leaving them at a serious lifelong risk of identity theft, both the company and consumer rights advocates were quick to tell Americans they needed to get to work.
Deciding On Paying Debt Instead of Saving
Simple math suggests it's likely better to get rid of debt before saving for retirement or adding to your emergency fund.
How to Quickly Improve Your Credit Score
You're in the market for a mortgage or other type of loan but are consistently turned down. Or, you do get a loan offer, but the interest rate is staggering.
Regulator Warns HECM Costs Exceed Early SSI
Seniors can begin receiving Social Security at 62 or wait before applying in order to draw a larger amount. For example, a Social Security payment of $910 a month starting at age 62 becomes $1,300 starting at age 67.
Mortgage Prepayment Methods
Homebuyers who finance their purchase with 30-year mortgages select the 30 year rather than a 15 year because of the lower required monthly payment.
Too Late for Hurricane Irma Flood Insurance
Residents or business owners who sign up for flood insurance today won't be covered for Hurricane Irma.
Some Mortgages Will No Longer Require Appraisal
WASHINGTON -- Would you welcome the option to buy a house but not have to pay hundreds of dollars for an appraisal?
HARP Refinances Great for Low-Equity Borrowers
HARP, or the Home Affordable Refinance Program, is a great way to refinance your mortgage and save a ton of money in interest charges.
HECM Market Is Dysfunctional
Policies to encourage encouraging home ownership by increasing the affordability of mortgages usually reduce the rate at which borrowers build equity in their homes.
Mortgage Refinances for Other Than Lower Rates
Though mortgage rates have rebounded some from the lows seen in 2016, they remain very attractive. Many homeowners are refinancing before rates go higher.
Families Finance Rural Homes Through USDA
After an increase in crime in her north side Des Moines, Iowa, neighborhood, including a drive-by shooting, Heather Trotter no longer felt safe.
Using Decision Variables for Reverse Mortgage
How does one effectively shop for a home-equity conversion mortgage?
Loan Programs Making It Easier to Purchase Home
Home prices are rising across the country and mortgage rates, though still historically low, are up since the presidential election.
Understanding Mortgage Underwriting Process
An underwriter is an entity, typically a company, accountable for analyzing and assuming the risk of another entity. Underwriting typically happens behind the scenes but is an important aspect of mortgage approvals.
Closer Look at Down Payments for Home Purchase
I have written about making a small-as-possible down payment in the past and recently decided to take a fresh look at the topic.
Tips for Achieving Loan Approval
Getting approved for a loan is not an easy process. Banks are looking for a lot more in an applicant now.
Reverse Mortgages on Jumbo Properties
If you own a home worth $1 million, would it ever make sense to take out a reverse mortgage?
Deciding Whether to Pay Mortgage Points
When people want to find out how much their mortgages cost, lenders often give them quotes that include loan rates and points.
Options for Younger Spouses of HECM Borrowers
Question: I am 75 years old, my wife is 56, and our home is worth $400,000. Our equity in the house will be her main financial resource when I have departed. She wants to live in our home until the end. What is the best way to use a reverse mortgage to meet her needs after I'm gone?
More Consumers Choosing Adjustable-Rate Mortgages
As the housing market continues its slow rebound in Connecticut, mortgage rates will continue to play a vital role in maintaining momentum.
Refinancing Mortgage Into Higher Rate Can Make Sense
Rising rates tend to discourage homeowners from refinancing. But there are good reasons to refinance even when rates are going up, even if refinancing means paying a higher rate than you currently have.
Credit Scores Rising for Those w/Judgments, Liens
Ever struggle with trying to boost your credit score? Well, millions of consumers won't have to do anything but wake up to a higher credit score sometime in July.
Federal, State Programs Help With CA Downpayments
As home prices keep rising, so do the down payments, keeping many San Diegans from taking that step toward homeownership.
Reverse Mortgages 101
I frequently get questions from homeowners about home-equity conversion mortgages, the type of reverse mortgage backed by the Federal Housing Administration.
Programs Help Texans With Down Payments
For low- to moderate-income renters in Texas, the prospect of buying a house may seem out of the question.
Mortgage Rates Defy Fed Bump
Long-term U.S. mortgage rates dropped slightly this week.
Sources for Help With Down Payment on Home
Do down payment assistance programs result in more defaults?
Understanding Risks of Buying Foreclosed Property
When a homeowner can't make his mortgage loan payments and the lender repossesses the property, the home becomes foreclosed and is typically available for sale soon after.
Prequalifying for a Home Loan
For homebuyers about to start the process, real estate agents will say the first step is to contact a lender to get prequalified.
How to Shop for Best Reverse Mortgage
Q: Can you shop for the best deal on a home equity conversion mortgage?
New Mortgage Program Finances Home With 1% Down
Many San Diegans would like to own a home in the region they work in, but they often struggle with the large down payment.
Saving Money on Title Insurance Costs
When you find the home of your dreams, make an offer and apply for a mortgage, you might not give much thought to the cost of title insurance.
Falling Rates Great for 1st-Time Homebuyers
Mortgage rates don't get much better than this. Not recently, anyway.
How to Lock Best Mortgage Rate
Based on rumblings at the Federal Reserve, the likelihood of a mortgage price spike in the near future is high.
Paying Down Balance Before Getting HECM
Most seniors in the market for a home-equity conversion mortgage who are still carrying a mortgage balance view the HECM -- the Federal Housing Administration's reverse mortgage program -- as their way of ridding themselves of a monthly payment. If there is an existing mortgage balance, enough cash must be drawn from the HECM to pay it off.
Navigating Choice Between 15-, 30-Year Mortgage
The most common type of home loan is the fixed-rate mortgage. The interest rate remains the same for the life of the loan, so the principal and interest you pay remain the same, too.
Reverse Mortgage Most Underutilized Financial Tool
The more I work with home-equity conversion mortgages -- reverse mortgages offered through the Federal Housing Administration -- the more convinced I become that the HECM is the most underutilized financial tool available to consumers in the U.S.
An Education in Home Down Payments
The down payment required on a home mortgage is the single most important hurdle that prospective home purchasers must surmount.
5 Steps to Financing Home Purchase
Home purchasers sometimes get into trouble because they don't truly know the sequence of steps involved in financing their purchase.
When 401(k) is Best Source of Home Down Payment
The down payment required for a home purchase is the most important barrier to home ownership.
Understanding Home Equity Lending Products
A home equity loan or line of credit allows you to borrow money using your home's equity as collateral.
Eliminating Private Mortgage Insurance
If you bought a house with a down payment of less than 20 percent, your lender required you to buy mortgage insurance. The same goes if you refinanced with less than 20 percent equity.
How to Finance Home Purchase With Reverse Mortgage
One of the biggest upsides to purchasing a house with a home-equity conversion mortgage is that doing so does not impose a monthly payment burden on the borrower.
FHA Rates Better Than Conventional Rates
Conventional wisdom has home shoppers with a low-down-payment FHA loan having a higher rate. But FHA rates have consistently been lower than conventional rates.
Choosing Right Type of Mortgage Lender
There was a time when most homebuyers obtained their mortgage loans through their banks or credit unions.
Picking Right Combination of Mortgage Rates, Fees
How can a product have more than one price? If the transaction is not consummated entirely at one time but extends into the future, there can be a price to be paid now and a price that will be paid later.
How to Handle Inherited Home With Reverse Mortgage
Question: My mother passed away recently, leaving behind a small condo with a reverse mortgage. There is no equity in the property. Do I need to do anything about it?
Qualifying for a Home Loan
Nearly 20 years ago, when I first tackled the topic of qualifying for a mortgage in this column, I felt it necessary to emphasize to potential borrowers that they were not beggars who had to approach lenders hat in hand.
Deciding on Right Reverse Mortgage
Among the challenges faced by seniors considering a reverse mortgage is deciding which type best meets their needs.
When to Use a No Closing Cost Mortgage
A mortgage isn't free -- there are fees associated with getting the loan. Those closing costs usually total thousands of dollars. Besides writing a check to pay those fees at the closing table, there's another way to pay them when you refinance your mortgage: by adding them to the loan amount. The result is called a no-closing-cost refinance.
Home Buying With Little or No Down Payments
Homebuyers with little money for a down payment are finding more home loans available for a low down payment or even no down payment.
What to Know About This Week's Mortgage Rates
The good news is the U.S. economy is growing with more than 15 million jobs gained this decade following last week's job report that said 235,000 were added in the first full month of President Donald Trump in office.
Reverse Mortgages as Part of Retirement Strategy
Financial planners, who once disparaged reverse mortgages, are beginning to recommend them for clients as a proactive retirement income strategy, rather than a last-ditch effort to remain in a house.
Understanding Who Pays for Mortgage Insurance
Last week, I wrote an article on how home mortgage borrowers who have been required to purchase mortgage insurance could earn a high rate of return by paying it off. That article ignored what would have been the first question posed by a smart visitor from Mars: Why does the borrower pay for insurance that protects the lender?
Paying Off Mortgage Insurance is Good Investment
Home purchasers who were obliged to take out private mortgage insurance, or PMI, because their down payment was less than 20 percent have the right to cancel it, ridding themselves of the monthly premium.
Factors to Consider In Downsizing Home
Yeah, I've reached that age.
The ABCs of Reverse Mortgages
Occasionally, I like to play professor by answering some of the more-interesting questions I have received. The ones I respond to below are all interesting for different reasons.
FHA Mortgage Costs Cut
Southwest Florida homebuyers could save a little money under the new mortgage insurance premium reduction taking effect this month on loans backed by Federal Housing Administration.
Wells Fargo Grants Up to $7,500 for NC Homebuyers
Wells Fargo & Co. is launching a new program that will enable eligible homebuyers in North Carolina's Wake and Durham counties to receive a matching grant of up to $7,500 for their down payment.
Retired Avoid Cash Crunch With Reverse Mortgages
An increasing number of retirees, who are living longer and are less likely to be covered by a defined benefit pension than previous generations, risk running out of money.
The Truth About Reverse Mortgages
Federal Housing Administration-backed home-equity conversion mortgages, or HECMs, are accessible to homeowners 62 and older. These reverse mortgage loans allow older Americans to tap into a portion of their equity to help supplement retirement income.
Understanding How Reverse Mortgages Work
Here is a guide to some of the most important reverse mortgage loan questions besides the ones you'll ask about interest rates and fees. The answers will help you understand who you're working with, how the reverse mortgage loan process works, how long it takes to get the proceeds of the reverse mortgage loan and who should be involved in the information-seeking and decision-making.
Choosing Between Cash Home Purchase or Mortgage
Maria aims to purchase a house for $200,000. Because she has financial assets of $300,000, one of her options is to buy the house for all cash.