Do you know if your HELOC is about to reset?

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If you don’t, you should look into this sooner rather than later.     During the housing boom of the mid 2000s many people took out home equity lines of credit (HELOCs) for greater financial flexibility, to have as a safety net, or as a means to avoid property mortgage insurance (PMI) by enabling them to make a 20% down payment on a home purchase.     And why not? Interest rates were very low and the process for getting approved was fairly easy for many consumers.     Many of the HELOCs opened at this time featured an interest-only period of 5,7 or 10 years followed by either a balloon payment at maturity or an amortization period requiring monthly payments of principal and interest.     What this means “in plain … [Read more...]

Mortgage Tips: 9 Ways to Lower Your Monthly Payment

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We often hear information on how homeowners can use tactics like refinancing to lower their mortgage payments. But what about homebuyers? What tactics can you use to ensure you start out with the lowest possible mortgage payment?     Luckily, there’s quite a bit you can do as a homebuyer to keep your mortgage payments low. Here are just 9 ideas to get you started:     1. Boost your credit score     Your credit score is a big determining factor in your mortgage’s APR. And even a tiny difference in APR has a big impact on monthly payments (as well as interest paid over the life of your loan).     According to this FICO chart, average interest rates on a 30-year fixed mortgage range from 4.004% to 5.593% right now, … [Read more...]

10 Tips for Real Estate Auctions

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This article originally appeared on HSH.com.   The traditional idea that real estate auctions are only for bargain-basement foreclosures or million-dollar mansions has changed in recent years. These days, all types of homes are sold at auctions.   No matter what type of property you buy at an auction, you need to be aware that you're purchasing "as-is, where-is," without the option of asking the seller to make repairs or wait while you sell your current home, says Fontana Fitzwilson, executive vice president of Williams, Williams and McKissick in Tulsa, Okla.   "Buyers may not always get a bargain at an auction, but auction sellers are often willing to sell at or below market price in exchange for a non-negotiable, non-contingent contract from a highly … [Read more...]

Homebuyer 2.0: New market, new rules

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By Michele Lerner   In the ever changing world of real estate, many housing markets have subtly shifted from a buyer's market to a seller's market. Homebuyers who once had the upper hand are now competing for properties in many markets.   Increased competition means homebuyers need to be more prepared than ever. Today's homebuyers also need to know exactly what they want and need in a home before they start looking. Experts say this is a return to the traditional way of judging a home's value.   According to the National Association of Realtors, national housing inventory declined again in November to 2.03 million existing homes for sale, which represents a 4.8 month supply of homes at the current sales pace. This is the lowest housing supply since … [Read more...]

Fannie Mae Wants You to Know Your Options

Fannie Mae Wants You to Know Your Options

If you're looking for help on your current mortgage, you probably wouldn’t think of turning to Fannie Mae. Although it’s a giant in the real estate industry, Fannie Mae has always focused more on lenders and securities, and less on individual homeowners.  So I was thrilled to learn that Fannie Mae just launched a new website for people struggling to pay their mortgage. The site helps visitors clearly understand their options so they know what to do to stay in their homes. I highly recommend it.   In their website’s resources , Fannie Mae emphasizes the importance that FICO credit scores have in loan decisions. They address the impact that foreclosure and related actions can have to a person’s FICO score. And they link visitors back here to myFICO if they want a better … [Read more...]

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