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Hot Topic #1

Why Subprime Mortgages Are Back

Subprime mortgages – once the bad boys of real estate lending – are coming back. Figures from the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis show that between 2007 and the start of 2013 subprime mortgages fell off the radar for most banks but now they have begun to make a significant comeback. What happened to […]

| February 3rd, 2014 | Continued

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Hot Topic #2

What’s A Qualified Mortgage (QM)?

One of the better ideas to come out of the Wall Street Reform Act was to create something called a “qualified residential mortgage.” You want to know about such financing because most lenders will offer nothing else — and that’s good news for borrowers. Under Wall Street reform several federal agencies are supposed to work […]

| September 21st, 2010 | Continued

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Hot Topic #3

How To Read The HUD-1

Since January 1st, 2010, all real estate transactions have been settled using a new HUD-1. The HUD-1 is a standardized form which allows real estate buyers and sellers to clearly understand the costs of their transaction. The original HUD-1 was developed as a by-product of the Real Estate Settlement and Procedures Act of 1974 — […]

| November 8th, 2009 | Continued

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Hot Topic #4

How Do We Get Rid of the FHA Mortgage Insurance Premium?

Question: I bought a home with FHA financing. We have a monthly insurance premium (MIP) with each payment. How do we get rid of this cost? Answer: When you bought your home you purchased with little money up front, perhaps 3.5 percent down. This means a lender put up as much as 96.5 percent of […]

| October 20th, 2008 | Continued

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Hot Topic #5

What Are “Front” and “Back” Ratios?

Different loan programs use different calculations, or ratios, to qualify would-be borrowers. The “front” ratio is generally equal to your monthly costs for principal, interest, property taxes, and property insurance (what lenders call “PITI”). The “back” ratio includes the front ratio plus all regular monthly costs such as credit card payments and auto payments. For […]

| August 28th, 2008 | Continued

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Hot Topic #6

What’s A Title insurance Re-issue Rate?

It sometimes happens that a property is sold or refinanced more than once within a five- or ten-year period. In such instances, if title insurance is obtained from the same firm, it’s often possible to get a re-issue (discount) rate. The discount can represent a significant savings, thus it is worthwhile to ask if such […]

| August 26th, 2008 | Continued

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Is It Time To Downsize Mortgage Debt?

Question: We want to buy a first home. We have a joint income of $80,000 a year and no debts of any kind. A loan officer says with $25,000 for the down payment and closing costs we could get a $250,000 mortgage. We have the cash but our problem is the monthly cost: $2,000 — […]

May 11th, 2015 | | 0 comments | Continued
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Real Estate: The $100 Million House Is Here

Homes selling for $100 million or more hardly seem real. Isn’t $100 million the type of number usually associated with a missile defense program or the national debt of a small UN member? And yet they’re here. According to the latest luxury homes report from Christie’s International Real Estate, “more properties than ever were both […]

May 4th, 2015 | | 0 comments | Continued
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What’s The “MARS Rule” in Real Estate?

Question: We’re interested in buying a local short sale because of the possible discounts. We know that we must reach an agreement with the owner and that the deal must be approved by the lender. Does the broker representing the seller negotiate with the lender to get the best deal? Answer: This is a matter which is […]

April 27th, 2015 | | 0 comments | Continued
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Is The Gyrocopter Hero A Bad Guy?

Before you get angry with Douglas Mark Hughes, the Florida letter carrier who landed a gyrocopter on the west lawn of the Capitol, you might want to think about what he did — and why. In an interview with the Tampa Bay Times, Hughes explained that he objects to the importance of political donors and […]

April 20th, 2015 | | 0 comments | Continued
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How To Get Rid of FHA Mortgage Insurance

Question: Can I get rid of my monthly FHA mortgage insurance premium (MIP)? I believe my HUD case number was assigned before June 3, 2013, even though my loan closed after that date. How do I find the case number and date for certain? My loan is 14 months old, and my appraisal qualifies the […]

April 13th, 2015 | | 0 comments | Continued
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Will Student Loans Ruin The Real Estate Recovery?

Student debts have grown like crazy during the past few years and yet there’s no evidence that recent graduates are any brighter, more accomplished or better able to get a job than past collegians. However, what’s patently true is that student debt is piling up and the result plainly impacts mortgage applications. At the start […]

April 6th, 2015 | | 2 comments | Continued
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What Are Pending Real Estate Contracts?

Question: On a frequent basis I see news reports concerning “pending” home sales. What are they and are they significant? Answer: Pending home sales are a measure of real estate activity released monthly by the National Association of Realtors. “A sale is listed as pending,” says NAR, “when the contract has been signed but the […]

March 30th, 2015 | | 0 comments | Continued
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Should We Dump Mortgage Insurance?

Question: I have always felt that mortgage insurance benefits just a select few and if it were withdrawn or otherwise eliminated and people required to put at least 5 percent down and preferably not more than 10 percent, you would see huge home sale increases. People would also have a much easier time when they […]

March 23rd, 2015 | | 0 comments | Continued
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Does It Make Sense To Prepay An ARM?

Question: We often hear about the advantages of prepaying fixed-rate mortgages but not the benefits of paying ahead with ARMs. I have prepaid my ARM over time and now enjoy far lower monthly costs because of less principal and lower rates. Why not encourage more people to take this approach? Answer: You raise an important point. […]

March 16th, 2015 | | 0 comments | Continued
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Does Wall Street Home Buying Hurt You?

Question: Wall Street firms are buying up huge numbers of single-family homes. How does this impact private home buyers? Answer: We usually think of single-home real estate investors as local people who buy several properties and keep them over time or as rehabbers who buy properties, fix them up and then quickly re-sell. The entry […]

March 9th, 2015 | | 0 comments | Continued