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Consumer News and Advice Archive


Should I lock in the mortgage rate?

Because the interest rate market fluctuates constantly and is subject to quick movements without notice, locking in a mortgage rate with a lender certainly protects you from the time your lock is confirmed to the day it expires. ...


Determining if Your Zip Code is Healthy

RISMEDIA, Dec. 6, 2007-Where you live may be as crucial to your well-being as how you live, according to an article published in the December issue of Oprah magazine. Taking steps ranging from investing in a HEPA filter to purify air or selecting a bedroom farthest away from the street ...


6 Steps to Avoid Foreclosure

RISMEDIA, Dec. 6, 2007-The AICPA, one of the nation's largest non-profit professional organization representing more 340,000 CPAs across the country specializing in the area of tax, accounting, auditing and personal finance, suggests the following steps to minimize the risk of foreclosure if they hold sub-prime mortgages: ...


Tips for Renters When a Landlord Forecloses

RISMEDIA, Dec. 5, 2007-Sixty-seven-year old Sharron Shagonaby was looking forward to a quiet Christmas at home - a home she has rented for more than a year, and has never missed a rent payment. Now, thanks to her landlord, she has just five days to get out - a hidden ...


What are conventional loan limits?

These are limits imposed by Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac on the amount of money you can borrow to finance a home purchase. The loan limit generally increases each year and applies to single-family homes in the 48 contiguous states, with higher limits in Alaska, Hawaii, Guam and the Virgin ...


What about the difference between a conventional and non-conventional loan?

They are the same as conforming and non-conforming loans. A conventional, or conforming, loan is one not insured by the Federal Housing Administration (FHA) or guaranteed by the Veterans Administration (VA), two federal government agencies that make homeownership possible and generally more affordable for a large segment of the population. ...


What is the difference between a conforming and non-conforming loan?

Conforming loans have terms and conditions that adhere to guidelines established by Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, the two, big quasi-government corporations that purchase mortgage loans from lenders then packages them into securities that are sold to investors. ...


Can I make an all-cash purchase instead of getting a mortgage?

That certainly is an option, although not one most people can afford. The national median home price is well above $170,000 and much more than that in many areas of the country. Unless you're independently wealthy or have hit the jackpot, it may be difficult to make a "no-mortgage" investment. ...


Should I put more or less down, if I can afford it?

Putting down as little as possible lets you take full advantage of the tax benefits of homeownership. Mortgage interest and property taxes are both fully deductible from state and federal income taxes. Also, making a small down payment frees up cash that you can use to meet unexpected home improvements. ...


New Life for Energy Legislation

RISMEDIA, Dec. 4, 2007-The framework for a November 30 deal between Congressional leaders offers new hope for the passage of energy legislation. However differences on some key issues still remain, and it may yet get derailed in Congress or vetoed by President Bush. ...


Is it possible to get a no-down payment loan?

Builders will typically offer no-down-payment loans to sell properties in a slow-moving development or a depressed market. Desperate sellers also may commit to finance the down payment for the buyer to move a hard-to-sell home or to make a quick sale. And veterans may buy a home with nothing down ...


What things do lenders view positively and negatively during the application process?

When you apply for a loan, long, steady employment is always seen as a plus, as is a large down payment, a good credit rating, a history of regular savings, and property located in a "good" neighborhood. ...


What does a mortgage broker do?

Much like a stockbroker helps you buy stocks, a mortgage broker can help you purchase a home loan. Because the broker has access to many lenders, you will be able to select from a wide variety of loan types and terms that fit your specific needs. ...


What’s the best way to choose a home loan?

A lot will depend on the length of time you plan to live in the home, other financial obligations, and potential savings gained from comparing the monthly costs of a home against the up-front costs and closing costs involved with a particular loan. ...


How do I qualify for a home loan?

Your real estate agent has information on lender loan requirements and will be able to calculate a rough monthly figure you can afford based on the maximum monthly payment for the loan, taxes, insurance, and any type of maintenance fees. This pre-purchase evaluation by the agent can save you a ...