Fri, 08 Oct 2010 16:40:24 EDTWith mortgage rates at unprecedented lows, why are more people not taking advantage of them to refinance or buy houses?
Sat, 02 Oct 2010 00:00:00 EDTWith all the grim news about underwater mortgages and rising foreclosures, you might be surprised to learn that a bellwether measure of the national housing market -- homeowners' equity stakes -- has been on the rebound.
Sat, 25 Sep 2010 00:00:00 EDTAre you delinquent on your first mortgage but still making monthly payments on your home-equity credit line or second mortgage?
Sat, 18 Sep 2010 00:00:00 EDTThe federal homebuyer tax credit programs have been widely praised for stimulating real estate sales but reviled by critics who see them as a multibillion-dollar waste of the government's money.
Sat, 11 Sep 2010 00:00:00 EDTRecession-hammered homeowners' credit scores are on the decline across the country, say scoring industry experts, and that makes more consumers vulnerable to scams that purport to erase delinquencies, judgments, foreclosures and other problems from files at the three national credit bureaus -- Eq...
Sat, 04 Sep 2010 00:00:00 EDTIf you fit the profile -- typically buyers with little cash on hand or small-scale investors looking for a deal on a foreclosed house -- a little-publicized national lending program could be just what you need this fall.
Sat, 28 Aug 2010 00:00:00 EDTDespite earlier reports to the contrary, it turns out that your mortgage lender will not have to pull a second full credit report on you hours before closing on your home purchase or refinancing.
Sat, 21 Aug 2010 00:00:00 EDTA federal agency is moving to prohibit controversial "private transfer fees" on all mortgages funded by Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. But its proposed ban might extend to transfer fees routinely collected by community associations across the country -- potentially forcing some of them to raise asse...
Sat, 14 Aug 2010 00:00:00 EDTTry to picture this real estate scenario -- virtually. Like most shoppers searching for a home, you start on the Web, checking out listings and locations. You find a house that appears to be what you're after, and you tap into the photos section of the listing to see the interior shots.
Sat, 07 Aug 2010 00:00:00 EDTCan you name a housing controversy that pulls Iraq and Afghanistan veterans, consumer advocates, labor unions representing transport workers and government employees, the title insurance industry, the National Council of La Raza, libertarian and property rights groups, and the National Associatio...
Sat, 24 Jul 2010 00:00:00 EDTCall it the great real estate disconnect of 2010: Mortgage rates have been at half-century lows and home prices have stabilized, but applications for mortgages have declined most weeks during the past three months, as measured by the Mortgage Bankers Association.
Sat, 10 Jul 2010 00:00:00 EDTPicture this: You've signed a contract to sell your house. Your buyers say they have nailed down the right mortgage. All is well. But then the appraisal comes in low -- $25,000 to $50,000 under what was agreed upon in the contract.
Sat, 03 Jul 2010 00:00:00 EDTWith tougher mortgage underwriting rules a virtual certainty under Congress's financial reform legislation, lenders have begun confronting still another vexing issue: Can homebuyers who have high credit scores be trusted not to pull the plug -- strategically default -- when the economy hits a rough...
Sat, 26 Jun 2010 00:00:00 EDTShort sales have been the hot solution for financially stressed homeowners and their lenders for the past year, but here's another potent foreclosure alternative that's about to take center stage: deeds in lieu.
Sat, 19 Jun 2010 00:00:00 EDTHere's a sobering message for anyone who has a federally insured reverse mortgage or plans to apply for one: If you don't pay your local property taxes or hazard-insurance premiums, the risk of losing your house to foreclosure is about to increase.
Sat, 12 Jun 2010 00:00:00 EDTThe Obama administration wants to stir the pot on a highly contentious issue involving homebuilders and their customers: the legality of the discounts, rebates, closing costs, upgrades and other lures that builders often dangle in front of buyers --
Sat, 05 Jun 2010 00:00:00 EDTThough the Wall Street and banking features of the giant financial industry overhaul bill taking shape on Capitol Hill have drawn most of the attention, home buyers and mortgage applicants should be major winners when the legislation is finally signed into law, probably early next month.
Sat, 29 May 2010 00:00:00 EDTOne of the key attractions of FHA mortgage financing is going, going -- but not quite gone. Sellers and buyers who move fast can still make the most of it.
Sat, 22 May 2010 00:00:00 EDTMemo to the bank: Take this money-sucking, underwater house and shove it! Go ahead and wreck my credit for years to come. I'm walking away, no matter what.
Sat, 15 May 2010 00:00:00 EDTIf you're thinking about applying for a home mortgage, here's some important news: Beginning June 1, your lender is likely to order a second full credit screening immediately before closing.
Sat, 08 May 2010 00:00:00 EDTFor thousands of home buyers who scrambled to meet the April 30 federal tax-credit deadline for completed contracts, a new challenge is looming: Can they nail down their mortgage financing and get to closing before the program terminates?
Sat, 01 May 2010 00:00:00 EDTFor anyone who assumed that the toughened real-estate appraisal rules imposed on the mortgage market last year would mean less monkey business in home valuations, here's a shocker: Fraudulent appraisals soared in 2009, according to a lending-industry study released this week, and they now represent...
Sat, 24 Apr 2010 00:00:00 EDTHere's some good news for people who had to give the deed on their house back to the bank because of financial problems, or who have done a short sale to avoid foreclosure: You may not have to wait the typical four or five years to re-qualify for financing to buy another home.
Sat, 17 Apr 2010 00:00:00 EDTFinancially stressed homeowners looking to cut their mortgage payments through a loan modification, short sale or principal reduction under one of the Obama administration's programs needn't wreck their credit scores in the process.
Sat, 10 Apr 2010 00:00:00 EDTA new Obama administration policy that gets tough on home-mortgage discrimination is drawing kudos from consumer advocates, along with expressions of serious concern from lawyers who represent lenders and brokers.
Sat, 03 Apr 2010 00:00:00 EDTCould Congress's ambitious second round of home purchase tax credits -- especially the $6,500 repeat-buyer credit -- turn out to be a wimp in terms of economic stimulus?
Sat, 27 Mar 2010 00:00:00 EDTFor hundreds of thousands of homeowners who are underwater on their mortgages, it's been a tantalizing question: Is there any way that our lender might agree to lower the amount we owe -- not just the monthly payments but the principal debt itself?
Sat, 20 Mar 2010 00:00:00 EDTDoes it matter whether a real estate agent charges you a flat commission rate -- say 6 percent -- or quotes you a flat rate but adds hundreds of dollars labeled an "admin" or administrative fee?
Sat, 13 Mar 2010 00:00:00 ESTWith the Obama administration and private lenders actively considering mortgage principal-reduction programs to help financially distressed homeowners, the Internal Revenue Service has issued a new advisory to taxpayers who receive -- or seek to receive -- such assistance. The IRS gets involved in...
Sat, 06 Mar 2010 00:00:00 ESTHow about this for a new and ingenious real estate money machine? Every time a house sells during the next 99 years, 1 percent of the price goes back to the original developer or is shared among investor partners. Ka-ching!
Sat, 27 Feb 2010 00:00:00 ESTIf you are planning to take out a mortgage or refinance, you might want to hear this blunt message from federal officials: Don't fly blind. When you're shopping among competing lenders for the best terms and fees, make sure you know which quotes come with a guarantee and which do not.
Sat, 13 Feb 2010 00:00:00 ESTWith all the bad news about underwater homeowners and strategic walkaways, you might think that American homeowners' equity holdings are in the tank. But the least-publicized recent statistic on real estate is that, despite these scary reports, home equity is again on the rise.
Sat, 30 Jan 2010 00:00:00 ESTCall it three birds with one stone: The federal government hopes to help low-down-payment home buyers, investors who fix up foreclosures, and communities burdened with too many bank-owned and foreclosed homes -- all with one potentially far-reaching policy change.
Sat, 23 Jan 2010 00:00:00 ESTIf you've been holding back on getting involved with the new $6,500 federal tax credit for repeat home purchases, there's no more excuse for inaction. You now have all the official IRS guidance you'll need to buy a house, qualify for the credit and pocket the $6,500.
Sat, 16 Jan 2010 00:00:00 ESTThe federal government's efforts to eliminate settlement-cost surprises for home mortgage applicants may have opened the door to a new, and potentially costly, set of consumer problems.
Sat, 02 Jan 2010 00:00:00 ESTIf you, your relatives or your friends are contemplating applying for a reverse mortgage in 2010, check out the new guidelines proposed in December by federal regulators. Though aimed at banks and credit unions, the guidelines neatly sum up the potential pitfalls for consumers in the fast-growing...
Sat, 19 Dec 2009 00:00:00 ESTHad there been a federal watchdog consumer protection agency during the early years of this decade, could it have prevented the housing boom and bust that put millions of homeowners into foreclosure and sucked trillions of dollars of equity wealth from just about everybody else?
Sat, 12 Dec 2009 00:00:00 ESTIf you're in trouble on your mortgage and can't get a loan modification, check out the Obama administration's new standardized short-sale plan that's scheduled to roll out during the next several months.
Sat, 05 Dec 2009 00:00:00 ESTIf you're thinking about applying for the new $6,500 federal tax credit for repeat home buyers or the extended $8,000 version for first-time buyers, here's some news: The IRS has just issued its first formal guidelines for you.
Sat, 28 Nov 2009 00:00:00 ESTGo ahead. Break the chains. Stop paying on your mortgage if you owe more than the house is worth. And most important: Don't feel guilty about it. Don't think you're doing something morally wrong.
Sat, 14 Nov 2009 00:00:00 ESTTake a close, hard look at the new $6,500 federal tax credit for "move up" home buyers that passed the Senate and House last week. Though it's been getting second billing to the original $8,000 credit for first-time purchasers -- now extended by Congress through June 30 -- the $6,500 credit for...
Sat, 07 Nov 2009 00:00:00 ESTRemember the bad old days of 11th-hour mortgage settlement cost shocks and mystery junk fees? Remember when the "good-faith estimates" your lender gave you upfront said closing costs would be about $2,000, but somehow they ballooned to $3,500 on the final settlement sheet?
Sat, 31 Oct 2009 00:00:00 EDTCould the controversial appraisal system imposed nationwide by mortgage giants Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac in May -- and now tied to lowball property valuations, busted home sale transactions and higher fees to consumers -- be on its way out?
Sat, 24 Oct 2009 00:00:00 EDTCould a little-known and potentially controversial practice by mortgage giants Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac kill or stall your next loan application? Absolutely.
Sat, 17 Oct 2009 00:00:00 EDTWith Americans' credit scores plunging amid record numbers of mortgage and credit card delinquencies, companies that promise to eliminate negative information in credit bureaus' files are proliferating, federal regulators say.
Sat, 10 Oct 2009 00:00:00 EDTYou might assume it's just another boring-looking piece of the paper blitz you're hit with when applying for a home loan. But given the new prominence of IRS Form 4506-Ts in the fraud-shocked mortgage market, it's much more than just another document to sign.
Sat, 03 Oct 2009 00:00:00 EDTDeclining home values have put a serious squeeze on one of the mortgage market's most popular and fastest-growing financing concepts: the Federal Housing Administration's reverse mortgage program for people 62 and older.
Sat, 26 Sep 2009 00:00:00 EDTWill Congress extend the wildly popular $8,000 home-buyer tax credit beyond its Nov. 30 expiration date?
Sat, 19 Sep 2009 00:00:00 EDTWho is more likely to walk away from a house and a mortgage -- a person with super-prime credit scores or someone with lower scores?
Sat, 12 Sep 2009 00:00:00 EDTWhen you do a short sale of a house, or modify the mortgage, is there much of an effect on your credit score? What if you walk away from the mortgage altogether?