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Mortgages 101

How to choose the right mortgage for you

With so many options lenders offer, and even more banking terms, it's easy to be overwhelmed when looking for the right mortgage. For example, what is a conventional loan? Are some loans more restrictive than others? And what is the best loan to have? Here's...

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How are mortgage rates determined?

Homeowners and homebuyers everywhere are constantly wondering whether mortgage rates are going up or down, especially if you have an ARM, or Adjustable Rate Mortgage. Contrary to popular belief, mortgage rates are actually not set by the Federal Reserve,...

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Mortgage terms a to z

The world of mortgage finance is fraught with jargon—some of it legalistic, some from the banking industry, some from Wall Street, and much of it from the offices of real estate brokers and appraisers. Here we attempt to demystify at least one term...

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What do lenders look for on loan applications?

From first grade on, we are all striving to satisfy somebody. The teacher, the pastor, the coach, the boss—they all have expectations. The sooner we learn to see the world their way, the faster we can get ahead. Mortgage lenders are in the same category....

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Neither a borrower - explaining annual percentage rates

Humans have a natural tendency to portray themselves in the best possible light. When the neighborhood kid who mows the lawn wants more money, he says his rate is lower than what the other kids are charging. When he gets together with the other kids, he...

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Conventional versus government mortgages

It is the most feared phrase in the English language, Ronald Reagan famously said: "We're from the government, and we're here to help." If government aid is evil, there are certainly some exceptions. Home mortgages insured by the Federal Housing Administration...

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The moving parts of an ARM

Adjustable Rate Mortgages, or ARMs, got a bad name in the housing crisis that culminated around 2005. Inherently, an ARM is neither a good nor a bad thing—just a legitimate financial instrument that can be used or abused, like a bottle of wine or a...

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How to choose the best mortgage lender or broker

Choosing a lender or a mortgage broker can be an arduous process -- there are so many options to choose from, and your choice will have a large impact on the rates and terms of your mortgage. Follow these tips from Trulia to select the banker or broker who...

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Four questions to ask before choosing a mortgage broker

Mortgage brokers are engaged in the business of finding you the best home loan. Their true clients are the lenders, and their real "job" is to deliver good, creditworthy borrowers like you. Mortgage brokers have encountered a formidable competitor in the past...

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Everything you need to know about points

Homebuyers looking to finance the purchase of a home with a mortgage have no doubt run into the term, "points." Just what are points, what do they do and how can they help? Read on for more information. Discount points are fees/pre-paid interest paid to a...

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Points on your mortgage settlement statement: What are they?

When you close on a home, you will be faced with a settlement statement. If you are taking out a mortgage to finance your home, that statement will include a mortgage settlement statement from your lender detailing the costs and fees associated with your loan....

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7 Reasons to use land trusts

The land trust is a very powerful tool for the savvy real estate investor. A land trust is a revocable, living trust used specifically for holding title to real estate. Each property is titled in a separate trust, affording maximum privacy and protection. Here...

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HUD properties, FHA and title seasoning

With HUD properties, title seasoning, FHA loans, and short sales, investors have had some confusion regarding the rules. This article will clarify all of these issues for you. HUD is the United States Department of Housing and Urban Development, a government...

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Land trust vs. land contract

People often confuse the land trust and the land contract, using the terms interchangeably as if they were the same thing. This article explains the difference between the two and how they are used by investors for creative financing. A land trust is a revocable,...

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Owner financing 101

There are many benefits for doing an owner-carry installment sale as opposed to conventional financing for both the buyer and seller. Sometimes the advantages inure to the benefit of one or the other, but in most cases the transaction is "Win/Win" for both...

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Mortgage broker vs. mortgage banker

Many consumers assume that "mortgage companies" are banks that lend their own money. In fact, a company that you deal with may be either a mortgage banker or a mortgage broker. A mortgage banker is a direct lender; it lends you its own money, although it often...

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How to save up to 90 percent on title insurance

If you have ever bought or sold real estate, you have probably paid for title insurance. What exactly is title insurance? Why do we need it? How can I save money on title insurance? These are common questions asked by real estate investors. Whenever title...

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Why pay points?

When people ask whether to pay up-front "points" on a mortgage loan, it brings to mind an old motor oil ad. A mechanic is holding some worn engine parts and telling us why we should opt for the premium lubricant rather than Brand X. "You can pay me now,"...

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Mortgage broker commissions: To pay or not to pay?

Mortgage brokers are in sales, and like many salespeople, they work on commission. Broker commission rates are neither cheap nor exorbitant compared with other commission-compensated sales. What's most typical is one percent of the loan amount. Fortunately,...

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