Mortgage Matters

When is it wise to pay off the house?

Living mortgage-free seems to be part of the American Dream. What homeowner hasn’t envisioned owning their home outright? Paying off your house is attainable over time, by taking a shorter term on your loan, or even by making extra princip.. Read More

It’s More Than Just a Number

“I have a 700 FICO!” You’d think such words would be music to a mortgage advisor’s ears. Maybe, but maybe not. Credit scores are important, but a home loan credit pre-approval is concerned with so much mo.. Read More

2014 Affordability Snapshot

Let’s take a quick look at the affordability of today’s housing market. For each of these scenarios we’ll assume a pristine credit report, more than two years on the same job, and cash to close belonging to the buyer for at lea.. Read More

Is FHA a Bad Loan?

One of my former clients is moving to a different county and we’ve pre-approved her to use an FHA loan to buy her next home. Her Realtor tells us we’ve lost two properties because of the loan type. Does that mean FHA is a bad loan? .. Read More

What’s Your Rate?

After reading this column for over twelve years, I sincerely hope that is not the first question you ask when shopping for a home loan. Here’s a refresher on why “the rate” is an elusive thing to pull out of thin air, and why t.. Read More

In Over Your Head?

Holiday stresses may be without number, but your debt is easily quantified. These days, sizeable debt loads pose an even greater danger than usual: layoffs are mounting and bonuses are shrinking, but creditors will continue to expect their payme.. Read More

Credit Score Quiz

The good folks at Kiplinger recently posted a quiz about what actions affect your credit score. Let’s see how well you score on these variations of their questions. Question: When shopping at your favorite store, you open a new credit .. Read More

Begin at the Beginning

So many callers tell me they were playing with an on-line mortgage calculator and the number they expected doesn’t match the actual payment for the house they want to buy. Let’s fix that by talking about how to approach your home buy.. Read More

Reverse Mortgage Faces 15% Cut

We’ve heard the rumblings for some time, and now it’s upon us. The Home Equity Conversion Mortgage, or reverse mortgage, will cut its benefits to seniors at the end of this month. These changes reduce the maximum bene.. Read More

Buy Your Next House with a Reverse Mortgage

Sorry, kids, these notes are for people aged 62 and older. We’re talking about reverse mortgage, which is only available to that age group. It’s a federally insured home loan usually used for refinancing, but let’s see how it .. Read More

What's Up With Rates?

In the past three months, mortgage interest rates have risen. We knew the party couldn’t last forever, and now we are firmly in the realm of rates in the high 4’s. What does that do to affordability? For purposes of .. Read More

This Is Why It Feels So Invasive …

The Office of Lender Activities and Program Compliance department of FHA just released the June report on Post-Endorsement Technical Loan Reviews. That’s a fancy way of saying: They’re showing us what’s wrong with loan fi.. Read More

When is it Wise to Pay Off the House?

Living mortgage-free seems to be part of the American Dream. What homeowner hasn’t envisioned owning their home outright? Paying off your house is attainable over time, by taking a shorter term on your loan, or even by making extra pr.. Read More

Find Out Who’s Tracking You

You already know that your credit use is tracked and reported by the three major credit bureaus, and that we access those credit scores in making lending decisions. Are you aware of the many other ways your activity is being monitored? Th.. Read More

Have You Missed the Boat?

A nautical reference seems about right, given all the chatter about homes across America being “underwater”. The term refers to owing more on your home than its current value. You’ve heard about the loan programs avail.. Read More

Shopping Around for Home Loans

Here's the Inside Scoop on How To Do It Right! First: make sure you are working with an experienced, professional loan officer. The largest financial transaction of your life is far too important to place into the hands of someone who is not ca.. Read More

It's Greek to Me – Terms to Know

The mortgage industry is full of terms that are foreign to many people. The following glossary of terms should help you translate the mortgage language into plain English and help you make sense of the mortgage process. A-D (#A) / E-H (#E) .. Read More

Buying a Home After Short Sale or Foreclosure

Lots of families who lost their homes are eager to get back into the housing market. Here’s the scoop on time frames and reestablishing credit to help make yourself eligible to qualify for a mortgage in today’s lending climate. .. Read More

News You Can Use

Here’s something new about the HARP refinancing program we haven’t heard before. The Home Affordable Refinance Program is the one that might let you “refi” if your loan is “seasoned” and you owe more than the h.. Read More

There's More To It Than You Think

Let’s run down some common situations that might cause trouble with your purchase or refinance loan application. If you want a reverse mortgage, sit this one out: Reverse mortgage doesn’t make you qualify except by being over age 62 a.. Read More

Think Twice Before You File

Do you plan to participate in the real estate market this year? Have you put off your appointment with your tax man? Your delay may be to your advantage if you are self-employed and have choices about how much to write off in expenses for your ye.. Read More

Underwater Borrowers Catch a Break

Your neighbors are saving money! Even though there are foreclosure sales in your neighborhood driving down home values, don’t give up hope. Here are profiles of four local families who managed to refinance their “underwater” mor.. Read More

Keeping Important Paperwork

Until we enter the age of the “paperless mortgage”, buying a home can include a mountain of paperwork. Much of the forms used are boilerplate forms and can be shredded after the close of escrow. But what are the most important documen.. Read More

How Hard Is It To Get a Mortgage Without an Appraisal?

A great question came in last week. Someone asked, “How hard is it to get a mortgage without an appraisal?” Maybe the answers will surprise you, since there are actually several options out there. You’d think that in b.. Read More

Can I Afford to Buy a House?

“You can’t fall out of the basement.” Wise words spoken, and they might well apply today. Low mortgage rates, low home prices. If you’re still wondering if you can afford to buy a home, here are some examples to conside.. Read More