Mortgage Forms to get More Consumer-Friendly

Borrowers may soon have an easier time sorting out all of those key details and expenses associated with their mortgage as well as more easily compare loan terms when trying to shop around for a mortgage that works best for them.

The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau recently unveiled its “Know Before You Owe” project and is seeking public feedback on two “consumer friendly” prototype mortgage disclosure forms that will replace the current required disclosure forms by July 2012.

The prototype forms itemize key costs associated with the mortgage, including total closing costs, monthly payments, and projected monthly payments for future years. The forms also provide more details about the mortgage’s terms than the current form does.

The bureau is running tests on the prototype forms as well as seeking public comment. Review the sample forms and provide feedback at http://www.consumerfinance.gov/knowbeforeyouowe.

Source: “Mortgage Disclosures Getting Another Revamp,” Associated Press (May 18, 2011)

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How to Lend to a Family Member

Carrying a mortgage for a family member can be a good investment, but it can also be tricky. Here are a few things to consider.

The lender must be comfortable with the deal. While a 30-year term is a popular bank loan, private lenders are sometimes more comfortable with shorter loan periods like 15 or 20 years. A 30-year term could be made more attractive to the lender by introducing a higher rate of interest at 10-year or 15-year intervals.

Questions to answer before agreeing to make the loan include:

? How will the loan be paid off if the borrower dies or is otherwise unable to complete payment or sell the property for enough to pay off the loan?
? What happens if the borrower goes into bankruptcy?
? What if the borrower fails to make timely payments?
? Will the lender require the borrower to escrow the property taxes and insurance?

Also, put the details of the transaction in writing and record it at the local recorder of deeds office so the borrower can’t get another loan on the property or sell the home without paying off the borrower.

Source: Real Estate Matters, Illyce R. Glink and Samuel J. Tankin (11/27/2010)

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Mortgage Purchase Applications Hit 6-Month High

Mortgage applications to purchase homes increased 14.4 percent last week on an adjusted basis compared to the previous week, according to the Mortgage Bankers Association weekly survey.

The unadjusted Purchase Index increased 9.6 percent compared with the previous week and was down 7.4 percent compared to the same week a year ago.

On a seasonally adjusted basis, this is the highest Purchase Index recorded since the week ending May 7, 2010 in the middle of the tax-rebate push.

“The increase in purchase applications last week aligns with other incoming data suggesting that consumers are feeling somewhat more confident with their financial situation,” said Michael Fratantoni, the association’s vice president of research and economics.

“The level of purchase applications on a seasonally adjusted basis is now at its highest level since the expiration of the homebuyer tax credit,” Fratantoni concluded.

Interest rates were mixed, with 30-year fixed-rate mortgages rising to 4.50 percent from 4.46 percent and 15-year fixed-rate mortgages decreasing to 3.83 percent from 3.87 percent.

Source: Mortgage Bankers Association (11/24/2010)

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Mortgage Rates Edge Up

Interest on the 30-year fixed mortgage averaged 4.21 percent this week, up from a record low of 4.19 percent a week ago, reports Freddie Mac.

Rates for 15-year fixed loans also rose, climbing to 3.64 percent from 3.62 percent. However, the five-year adjustable-rate mortgage fell to a record low of 3.45 percent, after averaging 3.47 percent the previous week.

Source: Columbus (Ohio) Dispatch (10/22/10)

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Applications for Loans Fall

Applications to purchase homes declined 3.3 percent last week on a seasonally adjusted basis compared to the previous week, according to the Mortgage Bankers Association weekly survey.

On an unadjusted basis, the purchase index increased 18.9 percent compared to the previous week, which included Labor Day, but was 38 percent lower than the same week a year ago.

Mortgage rates declined slightly compared to the previous week:
· 30-year fixed-rate mortgages decreased to 4.44 percent from 4.47 percent;
· 15-year fixed-rate mortgages decreased to 3.88 percent from 3.96 percent;
· 1-year ARMs increased to 6.96 percent from 6.89 percent.

Source: Mortgage Bankers Association (09/22/2010)

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Expert Proposes Rewarding Good Borrowers

At least one mortgage financing expert thinks that the government ought to consider rewarding people who are in financially sound shape and who want to continue to pay their underwater mortgages on time.

Keith Gumbinger, a vice president at the HSH Associates mortgage-consulting firm, told Fortune magazine that he wants the federal government to issue what he calls, “value gap coverage.”

It would work this way: You bought a home for $350,000 in July 2006 with 100 percent financing at 6.8 percent. Now the property is worth $280,000, but your mortgage balance is $334,000. You can’t refinance because you are underwater, but willing and able to pay. In Gumbinger’s scenario, you’d get a new $280,000 mortgage at 4.7 percent. The government would guarantee the remaining $54,000, on which you’d pay 4.7 percent interest to the current mortgage holder. This reduces your payments by $6,700 a year – about 25 percent. No mortgage lender has to take a write down.
Source: Fortune, Allan Sloan (09/07/2010)

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Mortgage Applications Fall Sharply

Mortgage applications declined 27.1 percent last week compared to the previous week, on a seasonally adjusted basis, according to the Mortgage Bankers Association weekly survey.

The unadjusted purchase index decreased 27 percent compared with the previous week and was 24.1 percent lower than the same week a year ago. This is the lowest level of applications for home purchases observed in the survey since May 1997.

“The data continue to suggest that the tax credit pulled sales into April at the expense of the remainder of the spring buying season. In fact, this drop occurred even as rates on 30-year fixed-rate mortgages continued to fall, and at 4.83 percent are at their lowest level since November 2009,” said Michael Fratantoni, vice president of research and economics for the MBA.

Mortgage rates are at bargain levels:

* 30-year fixed-rate mortgages decreased to 4.83 percent from 4.96 percent.
* 15-year fixed-rate mortgages decreased to 4.19 percent from 4.32 percent.
* 1-year ARMs decreased to 6.81 percent from 6.86 percent.

Source: Mortgage Bankers Association (05/19/2010)

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Lower Rates Boost Mortgage Applications

Mortgage applications rose 14.6 percent last week on a seasonally adjusted basis compared with the previous week. They were up 15.5 percent on an unadjusted basis.

Much of the increase was in refinances as rates dropped below 5 percent, although the purchase index increased 11.7 percent compared with the previous week and was just 9.8 percent lower than the same week one year ago.

“Purchase activity remains subdued, with application volumes remaining within the narrow range seen in the last few months,” said Michael Fratantoni, MBA’s vice president of research and economics.

Both 30- and 15-year fixed-rate mortgages were below 5 percent:

• 30-year fixed-rate mortgages decreased to 4.95 percent from 5.03 percent.
• 15-year fixed-rate mortgages decreased to 4.27 percent from 4.35 percent.
• 1-year ARMs decreased to 6.77 percent from 6.80 percent.

Source: Mortgage Bankers Association (03/03/2010)

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Fannie, Freddie Go After Bad Loans

Accountants at Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac are auditing mortgage files to uncover loans with improper documentation about a borrower’s income, and then forcing banks and savings and loans to buy the loans back.

Freddie required lenders to buy back $2.7 billion of loans in the first nine months of 2009. Fannie Mae won’t disclose its figures, but the mortgage trade publication Inside Mortgage Finance said Fannie made $4.3 billion in loan-repurchase requests in the first nine months of 2009.

One result is that banks are underwriting mortgage loans even more carefully than they were last year, which can further slow the lending process.

“If you’re being hit with a lot of repurchases very suddenly, the easiest thing to do is to tighten your standards rapidly,” said Glenn Boyd, a Barclays analyst.

Source: The Wall Street Journal, Nick Timiraos (01/30/2010)

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30-Year Mortgage Rate Dips Slightly

Long-term mortgage interest fell for the second-straight week as the 30-year fixed rate settled at an average of 5.06 percent compared to 5.09 percent a week ago, according to Freddie Mac.

Other rates decreased as well: Fifteen-year fixed loans dipped from 4.50 to 4.45 percent, and five-year ARMs sank from 4.44 percent to 4.32 percent. However, rates for one-year ARMs rose to 4.39 percent from 4.31 percent

Source: Chicago Sun-Times (01/15/2010)

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5 Recommendations for Navigating Today’s Mortgage and Housing Markets

RISMEDIA, May 9, 2009-”There are five distinct strategies that can help home owners, buyers, and sellers successfully navigate today’s turbulent mortgage and housing markets,” said Gibran Nicholas, chairman of the CMPS Institute, an organization that certifies mortgage bankers and brokers.

1. Understand and Utilize the New Tax Credits
2. Consider Paying Points for Your Mortgage Transaction
3. Carefully Structure Your Real Estate Short Sale Transaction
4. Utilize the Special Options Available for Seniors Age 62 or Older.
5. Carefully Interview Your Mortgage Professional.

Full Story..

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3 Good Places to Hunt for a Mortgage

Getting a mortgage isn’t easy these days, particularly since many banks have tightened crediting, which is ultimately keeping some buyers out.

More borrowers are turning online to shop for a mortgage, in which they can shop anonymously and still get accurate rates.

According to a recent article on CNNMoney.com, here are three Web sites that will get mortgage-shoppers started (these sites act as a referral source and borrowers will still need to close with a bank or mortgage broker).

* Zillow.com: The best thing about this site is the ability to read reports of other people’s experiences with a lender.
* MortgageMarvel.com: This site updates mortgage rates in real time, so it’s a good place to find deals.
* LendingTree.com: This site matches a potential borrower with four lenders who will offer their best rates. The downside is that lenders will pull credit scores, which could hurt a borrower’s credit.

Regardless on what bank or mortgage broker borrowers use for their mortgage, they should expect to pay an average of $3,118 in fees, according to the article.

Source: CNNMoney.com, Beth Braverman (06/09/2009)

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Freddie Mac’s refinance policy drawing fire.

Brokers, small lenders say they are being cut out of Obama’s plan

WASHINGTON – Mortgage brokers and small lenders say they’ve been left out of a big part of the Obama administration’s plan to help borrowers refinance their home loans and take advantage of near record-low interest rates.

The new guidelines released earlier this month are different for Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, the government-controlled companies that own or guarantee almost 31 million mortgages — more than half of all U.S home loans. Most strikingly, mortgage loans held by Freddie Mac can only be refinanced by the company that currently collects payments on the loan, known as the mortgage servicer. Full Article.


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Finding the Best Mortgage Deal Takes Work.

Home buyers who investigate mortgage options themselves as opposed to using a broker are likelier to get a better deal, according to a study for the Department of Housing and Urban Development published last year.

The study found that borrowers paid about $300 to $425 more in fees when they worked with a broker as opposed to working directly with a lender.

But comparison shopping can be tricky. Home buyers should try to devote a whole day to comparison shopping and include at least one credit union, a community bank, multiple national banks and an investment firms.

They should compare one type of loan at a time–for instance, a 30-year, fixed rate with no points. Their research should include a request for a guarantee that both the rate and the good-faith estimate will be exactly as initially presented. This standard could be difficult for a buyer to find, but it’s worth trying to find it, experts say.

Source: The New York Times, Ron Lieber (04/04/2009)


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Homeowners opt to refinance and save.

The reasons to refinance your home, or buy a new one, just keep getting better.

This week, the Federal Reserve announced it will spend up to $300 billion over the next six months to buy long-term government bonds, a new step aimed at lifting the country out of recession by lowering rates on mortgages and other consumer debt. It also left the short-term bank lending rate at a record low of between zero and 0.25 percent.

Those announcements have the phones ringing at local banks with people now locking into rates.

“If you can save a point on your mortgage, it’s time to do it,” said Andrew Siders, president of Vista Bank. “Things are moving.”

The anticipation of lower interest rates, coupled with a better week on the stock market, is raising optimism, Siders said. “As government gets more positive, the consumer is going to get more positive.” Full Story.


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