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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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Have Real Estate Prices Stalled?

Not only have rising stock prices come to a halt on Wall Street, the same may also be true with real estate prices. While decidedly less visible than the abrupt stock-market losses seen worldwide during the past week or so, there is growing evidence that home values have slowed and in some cases declined. Just […]

August 25th, 2015 | | 0 comments | Continued
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Wall Street, Mortgage Rates & The Web Of Debt

Wall Street is in the midst of the steep sell-off as this is written, but if you look at the world of mortgage rates things are not only looking good they’re looking better than they did a few weeks ago. The yield for 10-year Treasury securities is now below 2 percent for the first time […]

August 24th, 2015 | | 0 comments | Continued
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Real Estate: What Makes A Quitclaim Deed Dangerous?

Can you explain the good and bad of a “quitclaim” deed? I have successful, adult children. I am older, single, with a small mortgage on my home. Is a quitclaim best for my heirs and me, or not? Answer: When it comes to real estate it’s important to know who owns what. With a quitclaim […]

August 17th, 2015 | | 0 comments | Continued
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How Do I Start As A Real Estate Agent?

Question: I have recently become a real estate salesperson. The idea of easy money in real estate is ridiculous. Realistically, how do I get started and get the experience potential clients ask about? Answer: Every successful real estate professional at one time had just as much experience as you do, none. They too faced that […]

July 20th, 2015 | | 0 comments | Continued
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Real Estate: Big Wedding Or House Down Payment?

Question: We’re getting married and rather than registering for gifts we would prefer cash to help save for a down payment. Some of our relatives think this is nontraditional and maybe unwise. What do you think? Answer: Stick to your guns. According to one study the typical wedding now costs almost $30,000 by the time […]

July 13th, 2015 | | 1 comment | Continued
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Real Estate: The Sane Person’s Guide To Moving

Moving is not the world’s worst experience but it certainly is in contention. I know this to be true because for the past several months my family and I have been packing a home occupied for almost 30 years, a property which now resembles an archaeological dig and contains more boxes than a shopping mall. […]

June 8th, 2015 | | 0 comments | Continued
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Are FHA Mortgages Really Insurance?

Question: Is the FHA mortgage program really insurance? Or is it a guarantee? What’s the difference and how does the distinction impact mortgage borrowers? Answer: The FHA mortgage program sure seems like insurance but there’s also a case to be made that it isn’t. First, a little explanation is in order. An “insurance contract” can […]

June 1st, 2015 | | 0 comments | 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