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");document.write("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.

Borrowers can control the amount of cash they are required to produce at closing when they select the combination of interest rate and points from among those offered by their lender.

For example, a borrower shopping a $300,000, 30-year, fixed-rate loan as of Dec. 8 was offered the following interest rate/point options: 3.25 percent and $9,298, 3.50 percent and $4,125, 3.75 percent and <$1,160>, 4 percent and <$4,875>, 4.25 percent and <$8.625>, 4.50 percent and <$11,625>, 4.75 percent and <$14,625>, and 5 percent and <$17,625>.

");document.write("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."

But a federal agency overseen by Department of Housing and Urban Development Secretary Ben Carson of Palm Beach Gardens says an insurance program backing reverse mortgages is "losing money and can no longer remain viable in its present form."

Foreclosures in reverse mortgages climbed to more than 3,600 a month last year, up from less than 500 a month in prior years, according to government data analyzed by nonprofit groups.

");document.write("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.

A mortgage point is a fee equal to 1 percent of the loan amount.

A 30-year, $150,000 mortgage might have a rate of 7 percent but come with a charge of one mortgage point, or $1,500. A lender can charge one, two or more mortgage points.

");document.write("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.

"My major headline is: great for individual buyers in New Hampshire and a wonderful opportunity to change the financing system for manufactured homes," said Ignatius MacLellan, managing director of the home ownership division at the New Hampshire Housing Finance Authority. "That's why we're very excited about this."
The program, in which New Hampshire is the sole participant, provides for smaller down payments, lower interest rates and 30-year loan options for manufactured homes -- often referred to as mobile homes -- located in approved resident-owned communities. Current owners also may be able to refinance their existing loans.

");document.write("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.

A reverse mortgage would allow you to tap your equity to pay off your traditional mortgage.

When used appropriately, reverse mortgages can be a useful financial tool for seniors, said David Johnson, an associate professor of finance at the Maryville University in St. Louis.

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