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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 Your Real Estate Offer Confidential?

Question: We made an offer on a home. The listing broker said there were three more offers and we would have to increase our bid. The other offers, like ours, were all cash. How do we know there was another bid or that it was higher? If we raise and win (or lose) can we […]

March 2nd, 2015 | | 3 comments | Continued
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Fast Refinancing After A Short Sale — Here’s How

Question: We did a short sale on our home in May 2012. We then bought a house with cash in Oct 2012. Can we get a fast refinancing on our current home? Answer: A short-sale is a situation where a home has been sold for less than the mortgage debt, meaning the lender has taken […]

February 23rd, 2015 | | 0 comments | Continued
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Cash Buyer Discounts For A Fast Home Sale?

Question: Many buyers in today’s market are purchasing homes for cash. Sometimes cash buyers say they should get a discount because they can settle faster. Is this true? Answer: It’s likely true in most jurisdictions that cash buyers can settle faster than purchasers who need mortgage financing. However, this is not necessarily a reason for […]

February 9th, 2015 | | 0 comments | Continued
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How Buffers Limit Your Mortgage Borrowing

Question: We have recently tried to qualify for a mortgage. We know that the new rules allow us to devote as much as 43 percent of our income to housing costs and monthly debts. However, the lender says if our monthly debts exceed 41 percent of our income that it will not give us a […]

February 2nd, 2015 | | 0 comments | Continued
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Should We Overpay For Homeowners Insurance?

Question: We’re in the process of buying a home. The sale price is $225,000 but the insurance agent wants us to carry coverage for a property costing $285,000. Why do we need so much excess insurance — or do we? Answer: When you buy a car the price you pay has a package cost but […]

January 26th, 2015 | | 0 comments | Continued
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Will Lenders Accept Partial Mortgage Payments?

Question: Can you tell me why it’s okay for mortgage companies to reject partial payments when a borrower is behind? It seems to me that it’s bad business and not too good for the economy. Answer: Many mortgage servicers — but not all — are reluctant to accept partial mortgage payments from delinquent borrowers because they […]

January 20th, 2015 | | 0 comments | Continued
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2014 Foreclosures Down 18%, Says RealtyTrac

For the fifth year in a row foreclosure levels are down, signaling an end to the worst real estate collapse since the Great Depression. But while the numbers are greatly improved for 2014, the real estate market remains fragile with 1.1 million foreclosure notices generated during the year. “Despite the annual increase in foreclosure starts […]

January 15th, 2015 | | 0 comments | Continued
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Please Don’t Move To Pensacola….

Please don’t move to Pensacola. Seriously. I know it has superficial attractions like miles of clean beaches, real estate costs which are a third, or a fourth or a fifth of home values in hip-and-happening major metro areas and sure, you can easily park on the streets downtown, but do you really want to give […]

January 12th, 2015 | | 4 comments | Continued
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Congress Shoots Down FHA Mortgage Program

FHA mortgage borrowers and American homeowners will have fewer opportunities for success in the coming year as a result of the newly-minted 2015 budget bill. You won’t see such a headline anywhere but if you check page 1,560 of the just-approved federal budget you will find language which shows how Washington really works. “SEC. 235. […]

December 15th, 2014 | | 0 comments | Continued
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2015 Mortgage Loan Limit Charts

Loan limits for 2015 remain virtually unchanged from 2014, news which is hardly evidence of a booming real estate marketplace. Instead, what everyone would really like to see are higher loan limits, limits justified by rising real estate values. According to the National Association of Realtors, “The median existing-home price for all housing types in […]

December 9th, 2014 | | 0 comments | Continued