mortgage: FICO Now Offers Credit Scores for Free - 11/26/13 08:31 AM
Having a good credit score can make or break a home buying experience. 
During the housing bubble, people with credit scores as low as 500 were able to get mortgages, even big ones. But not anymore. Most lenders won't even consider people with a score of under 620 (and that's not even guaranteeing they'll approve them). A higher credit score is the key to a better interest rate, and can save home buyers thousands of dollars over the life of the loan. 
But 56% of Americans have no clue what their score is. Until now. Starting this month, FICO is rolling … (1 comments)

mortgage: What Happens When a Buyer Backs Out of a Deal? - 11/12/13 03:21 AM
What happens if a buyer backs out of a contract to buy a house?
Well, it depends on if there are contract contingencies.
Most of the time buyers back out of contracts because they can’t qualify for a mortgage or they get nervous about all the expenses involved in buying a home. But if a buyer backs out and has a financing contingency, they may be off of the hook.
Let’s say the seller asked for $1,000 earnest money and the buyer pays it but then walks away from the deal.
If the buyer has a financing contingency … (1 comments)

mortgage: Rising Interest Rates Can Be A GOOD Thing! - 10/16/13 03:13 AM

Although the House and Senate finally agreed to a short-term budget for the government, many in the real estate industry are wondering what will happen to mortgage interest rates for the rest of the year and if political squabbling could impact the national economy. Currently interest rates are on the rise again, and that might not be a bad thing for potential home buyers.
Rising interest rates can actually be a good thing.
That might seem counter-intuitive, so let me explain.
1. Rising interest rates can force big-ticket buyers to MAKE A DECISION and lock in a rate. If your … (0 comments)

mortgage: Mortgage Fraud Decreasing, But Will Looser Lending Raise Risks? - 09/20/13 01:26 AM
While the number of reported cases of mortgage fraud is decreasing, it’s still a problem that continues to plague consumers and real estate professionals alike. A new survey from LexisNexis showed that mortgage fraud has dropped 25% from 2011, with roughly 69,000 cases reported in 2012.
New lending restrictions and limitations for borrowers are credited for this drop in mortgage fraud.
It’s important for you and your clients to be aware of the different types of mortgage fraud and ways that mortgage fraud continues to get trickier. Telling your clients not to shell out money upfront can help protect them against … (2 comments)

mortgage: How to Avoid Paying Taxes on Forgiven Mortgage Debt - 08/08/13 12:22 AM

If you have recently gone into foreclosure or completed a short-sale, you could owe a big chunk of change to the IRS in your forgiven debt. However, you can avoid paying these taxes right now while doing a Home Affordable Modification Program (HAMP).
As part of HAMP, your principal balance will be reduced for over three years, as long as you make your payments on time. Keep in mind that if the IRS makes changes to this program in 2014 you might owe tax on that principal reduction.
You can avoid paying these potential taxes by claiming all principal reduction … (3 comments)

mortgage: Top 5 Real Estate Investing Trends to Watch in 2013 - 01/29/13 06:17 AM
Overall, 2012 was a good year for real estate investors.Demand for single-family rentals remained strong, and rents rose in most markets. Financing was affordable and available for individual investors. Cash flows and returns were good. Even better, 2013 should be another good year for investors.
Rainers, whether you're a tried-and-true investing veteran or someone looking to get started, watch out for these 5 real estate investing trends this year:
The geography of foreclosures is changing. The Midwest and Northeast, home to most of the foreclosure judicial states, will start processing through the piled-up foreclosure inventories. If you’re looking for a good … (2 comments)

mortgage: 5 Alternatives to Foreclosure - 01/11/13 01:39 AM
If you ignore your financial problems, they won’t go away. Be proactive when facing foreclosure and you could avoid it.
Foreclosure is scary, but it can be avoided.  If your mortgage payments are too high or your income is too low, foreclosure isn’t your only option. Consider these 5 alternatives to foreclosure that might work for you:
1. Ask for forbearance and make the payments later. If you are stuck in a temporary jam, you can try calling your lender and asking for forbearance, which means that the lender will give you a few more months to catch up on … (0 comments)

mortgage: Recovering Real Estate Market - 03/02/12 03:43 AM
If you have clients looking into buying a home, now may be a great time to encourage them. New reports are hinting that we can be cautiously optimistic about a recovering real estate market. My post for today’s Equifax Finance Blog has lots of great information to back up the claim. Here are 4 things that are fueling the optimism.
1. Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac are reporting positive outlook reports. Fannie Mae reports that based on three consecutive months of increased home sales late last year, Fannie Mae expects housing to add to the gross domestic product (GDP) for the … (2 comments)

mortgage: Buying a Home? Mortgage Advice from Steve Cook - 02/24/12 11:52 AM
Do your clients need an incentive to start moving on buying a home? 2012 may be your year, as 30-year fixed rate mortgages are at an all-time low.
However, mortgages are becoming more difficult to get approval for, which may result in your real estate deals falling through. Today’s Equifax Finance Blog post by real estate expert Steve Cook details his interviews with Margaret Kelly and the CEO of Total Mortgage Service Adam Walsh on the latest real estate and mortgage news. 
“The Federal Reserve promising to keep short-term interest rates at zero for the next three years,” says Cook. However, … (12 comments)

mortgage: States and Lenders Near $25B Settlement - 01/24/12 03:49 AM
Government officials announced Monday that the nation's five biggest mortgage lenders have agreed to overhaul the industry, after robo-signing and deceptive foreclosure practices caused many consumers to lose their homes. The proposed settlement could reach $25 billion.
Even so, those who lost their homes to foreclosure are unlikely to get them back. Only about half the households who might be eligible for assistance will likely receive checks, and those checks will only be $1,800 each. That's a good amount of money, but nowhere near the cost of a home.
It's unlikely a settlement will be reached this week, according to a … (0 comments)

mortgage: Mortgage Rates Hit All-Time Record Lows (Again) - 08/18/11 05:47 AM
A week ago, I thought mortgage rates had hit all time lows. I spoke too soon.
This morning, Freddie Mac released the results of its Primary Mortgage Market Survey (PMMS) showing mortgage rates, fixed and adjustable, reaching new all-time record lows providing further incentive for those homeowners looking to refinance.
While any market changes that make home affordability more accessible are a boon to the depressed housing sector,  there is some question as to how many Americans can actually take advantage of these mortgage bargains. Though 30-year fixed mortgage rates are now the lowest in over 50 years, there is still … (2 comments)

mortgage: Countrywide Mortgage Refunds $108m to Homeowners Who Were Overcharged - 07/20/11 10:31 AM
In the midst of the foreclosure crisis, some feel at the mercy of their banks. When a homeowner is defaulting on their mortgage, every fee and charge from loan services can seem severe. Well, some complaints apparently weren't so unreasonable. And today, they were answered.
Earlier, a press release announced that Countrywide, a loan processing unit of Bank of America would be returning money to homeowners. On my CBS Moneywatch Home Equity blog, I give you the details of the settlement.
The settlement, agreed upon by the FTC (Federal Trade Commision) includes:
Approximately $108 million. Individual refund checks up to … (1 comments)

mortgage: Homeowner Headaches: Itemized Deductions, AMT, and Other Tax Nightmares - 03/30/11 08:24 AM
The deadline to file taxes this year is April 18th. If you own a home, the process of deciding whether or not to take the standard deduction or itemize your expenses can have you reaching for a bottle of Excedrin.
Equifax Personal Finance Blog expert Eva Rosenberg offers a handy guide for answering the eternal question.
There are a number of changes in the standard deduction rules, comparing 2010 with 2009. They fall under the following categories:
Sales Tax Property Tax Disaster Law The list of potential itemized deductions can be daunting, but homeowners will want to pay particular attention to … (1 comments)

mortgage: Taking Out a Mortgage in Retirement? 6 Questions to Ask Yourself First. - 03/22/11 04:31 AM
Making a decision about taking out a mortgage is difficult for anyone at any stage of life. But it's even more complicated for those on a fixed income. Do you know the right questions to ask yourself before you sign?
Equifax Personal Finance Blog contributor Roger Wohlner lays out the 6 questions that every retiree will need to answer for themselves before proceeding with the purchase of a home.
The first three questions relate to your retirement lifestyle and the impact of borrowing on your estate:
1. What will my cash flow look like in retirement? Without the secure funds to … (4 comments)

mortgage: How To Prioritize Debt To Pay Off Your Mortgage - 03/21/11 04:50 AM
When homeowners are in debt, they have to balance their spending needs, utility bills, and other obligations with their desire to pay down their mortgage. During his live chat on Facebook last month, David Bach, author of "Debt Free For Life", answered readers' questions about prioritizing their debts. Many were concerned about making mortgage payments while still saving money for other expenses. Shelby asked: "Could you tell me if it is better to pay additional monthly payments toward your mortgage principal or pay any additional payments in one lump sum? Currently I pay an additional monthly amount and then another lump payment with … (5 comments)

mortgage: 9 Things You Should Do To Get The Mortgage Of Your Dreams - 02/18/11 01:58 AM
Everyone knows it's harder than ever to get financing. One third of all borrowers don't qualify for mortgages. With tightening credit markets, lenders have become more selective about who qualifies. 
So what can that one third of potential home buyers do to increase their chances of being approved? My colleague Sue Stewart of has 27 years in the mortgage industry under her belt, and overseen all aspects of major mortgage banking operations for leading home builders and real estate brokerage firms.
She put together an excellent post with 9 steps that potential home buyers can take to increase their chances of being … (0 comments)

mortgage: How To Pay Off Debt: Prioritize Your Spending Needs And Your Debt Payments - 02/14/11 04:15 AM
Being in debt is a scary situation, and it can seem overwhelming to try to get a handle on where your money should go. If you're making an effort to pay off debt, you need to evaluate your mortgage payments, insurance premiums, utility bills, and other spending to see which are most important. 
The credit experts at Equifax have put together a great post on budgeting and prioritizing when you're in debt. Their first piece of advice: Your mortgage payment is always your #1 priority. A family needs a safe place to live, and late mortgage payments will catch up with you … (0 comments)

mortgage: Avoid the Scam of Mortgage Credit Insurance - 01/13/11 04:24 AM
My colleague Linda Rey is an insurance agent who often hears her clients ask: "What insurance can I buy to protect my mortgage if anything happens to me?” In this time of high economic uncertainty, it's good to hear that people are trying to protect their assets. If you’ve asked yourself the same question Linda Rey's clients did, you might think you need mortgage credit insurance, based on the name. Unfortunately, Linda says, mortgage credit insurance is not going to help most homeowners in the way they need. Mortgage credit insurance is basically an expensive policy for a declining liability. The policy … (3 comments)

mortgage: Strategic Default: The Consequences Of Not Paying Your Mortgage - 11/05/10 02:42 AM
When companies take on more debt than they can afford, they typically walk away from some of it to better balance income and expenses. Walking away from certain debts in order to shore up your balance sheet is called “strategic default.”
Here’s an example: The Mortgage Bankers Association built a beautiful new headquarters in Washington, D.C., several years ago, and then found it couldn’t afford its mortgage. So the nonprofit association turned the keys over to the lender and walked away from the property. Strategic defaults happen in corporate America all the time. And it’s considered a perfectly legitimate way of … (2 comments)

mortgage: Foreclosure Freeze: Is MERS Causing a Foreclosure Nightmare? - 10/07/10 10:10 AM

In the short span of a week or so, the phrase “foreclosure freeze” has become part of the vernacular - millions of homeowners who are in default are wondering if the foreclosure freeze will stop the clock and give them a few more months, perhaps a few more years, in their home.
Perhaps, but I think this is more of a temporary stop on a trip to foreclosure hell. 
In today’s Washington Post, writers Brady Dennis and Ariana Eunjung Cha argue that there is more to the foreclosure freeze than simply flawed paperwork.
Their story centers around Mortgage Electronic Registration Systems, based in Reston, Virginia. The company, which … (2 comments)

Ilyce Glink, Best-selling author, award-winning TV/radio host. (Think Glink Media) Rainmaker large

Ilyce Glink

Best-selling author, award-winning TV/radio host.

Chicago, IL

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