Home Values in Big Cities Took Biggest Hit in Recession, Study Says

The Associated Press By Christine DiGangi Median home values took a hit across the U.S. following the recession, particularly in the most populated areas of the country. In fact, only 4 of the 50 least populous counties saw significant slides in median home values in the years following the recession, compared to... Continue Reading »

Moving to a New Place: How to Know If You Can Carry the Costs

Shutterstock By Christine DiGangi Perhaps you've always wanted to live in the heart of your city, have a bigger house with a backyard, or live on your own. But there's an important question to answer before making any changes: Can you actually afford to move? Of the 11.6 percent of people who moved within the U.S.... Continue Reading »

In the News: A Lesson in Why You Should Shop Around for a Mortgage

Shutterstock Home borrowers got a reminder Thursday that the mortgage process remains a potential minefield. A nationwide mortgage firm accused of paying employees bonuses to steer borrowers into less-favorable mortgage terms has agreed to pay $13 million in penalties to settle the charges, the Consumer Financial... Continue Reading »

Home Equity Loans Making a Comeback

Shutterstock Home equity loans have reappeared as an option for many homeowners, giving remodeling projects a green light. Maybe you're thinking about renovating the kitchen, adding on a bathroom, how about replacing the roof? All of these and other improvements tend to be costly. So what's the best way to finance these... Continue Reading »

VA Mortgages Are Booming, and Why You Should Try to Land One

Getty Images By Samantha Reeves Veterans Affairs-backed mortgages are booming, and more important than ever, in today's strict lending climate. If you even think you might be eligible for this benefit, it's worth doing a little research to determine your eligibility. Even if you aren't personally eligible, you... Continue Reading »

Big Changes Coming to Mortgages, and How to Get Ahead of Them

Shutterstock By Scott Sheldon Recently, there had been speculation among real estate and financial professionals that conforming mortgage loan limits would be lowered, meaning homebuyers may have less borrowing power. And in fact, acting director of the Federal Housing Finance Agency Edward DeMarco announced on Oct.... Continue Reading »

States Where It's Cheapest to Own a Home

Shutterstock By Christine DiGangi Many Americans dream of owning a home, but affordability can be a challenge. Not only does a consumer's ability to buy a home depend on credit scores, interest rates and home prices, but location also plays a huge part. Following the housing crisis, lawmakers made it a requirement... Continue Reading »

Lying About Income to Get a Mortgage Now an Even Bigger Mistake

Shutterstock By Christine DiGangi A lot has changed in the mortgage market during the past few years. Home prices have improved and sales have gotten more competitive. Even mortgage fraud has taken a different route. Mortgage application fraud risk is down 5.6 percent year-over-year in the second quarter of 2013,... Continue Reading »

More See Homeownership for the Middle Class as Less Likely

Shutterstock By Christine DiGangi Fewer Americans believe homeownership is attainable for middle-income consumers, according to the latest Country Financial Security Index. Perhaps Americans have adopted a more pessimistic outlook lately, or maybe the economic events of the past several years have caused us to expect... Continue Reading »

Mortgage Refinancing: Figuring Out Your Options

Shutterstock By Scott Sheldon As home values in many markets have rebounded from the crisis, the opportunity for homeowners to refinance is ever more present, especially considering how low the interest rates have been. One question consumers often ask is what their homes have to be appraised at in order to... Continue Reading »

20% of Today's Mortgages Would Fail New Loan Standard, Study Says

Getty Images An analysis of home loans showed that 1 in 5 current mortgages would not meet the qualified mortgage safe harbor standard that goes into effect in January. Financial risk-management company ComplianceEase released a study highlighting the likely impact of the qualified mortgage, or QM, rule on the industry.... Continue Reading »

Fewer Foreclosures Now, but They're Selling for Less

realtor.com By Christine DiGangi The number of distressed properties last month decreased 27 percent from September 2012, with a little less than 1.3 million properties in some stage of foreclosure (default, auction or bank owned). That's one in every 998 homes in foreclosure across the nation. Data from real estate... Continue Reading »

FHA Loans: Credit Scores Loom Large as New Rules Take Effect

Shutterstock New requirements for Federal Housing Administration-approved mortgages go into effect today, presenting potential roadblocks for homebuyers with collections or judgments in their credit histories. While lenders have recently been able to take significant economic events into account in processing loan... Continue Reading »

Americans Willing to Spend More to Remodel, Survey Says

Shutterstock By Christine DiGangi Americans are increasingly willing to spend on home renovations, according to a survey that says they are taking on more projects and plan to use more expensive materials throughout the process. Remodeling app Planese outlined in a news release the results of an online survey done... Continue Reading »

Should an Investor Bankroll Your Dream Home?

Shutterstock By Mitchell D. Weiss Houses and college degrees have two things in common: Both cost of lot of money and both depend on specialty financing products to help make them more affordable. But which came first? High prices or budget-friendly payment plans? Consider the latest offering in consumer financial... Continue Reading »

Fixer-Upper Issues That Can Ruin a Mortgage Deal

Snowesq/Flickr By Scott Sheldon So you're buying a fixer-upper? The house looks good, needs some work and is in a desirable neighborhood. But what might seem like a great fixer-upper property could actually be a money pit. Let's look at some common, potential issues with a home that could easily derail an appraisal and... Continue Reading »

How Federal Shutdown Could Complicate Homebuying -- and Worse

Bloomberg via Getty Images By Christine DiGangi The 30-year mortgage rate was reported at a three-month low last week at 4.22 percent, and a rate like that would seem to be good news for borrowers. But that drop came just after the U.S. government partially shut down, which complicated things for mortgage lenders and... Continue Reading »

Home Loans: Finding the Best Fit in a Relaxed Mortgage Market

Shutterstock By Chris Birk It seems the Great Thaw may be upon us. Credit score requirements have loosened in recent months, a sign that at least some mortgage lenders are starting to take a softer approach after years of tight lending. Nearly a third of all successful mortgage applications in August featured FICO... Continue Reading »

Ways to Manage Credit When Seeking a Mortgage

Shutterstock By Scott Sheldon Consumer debt: Many of us have it. And most who do, have a love/hate relationship with it. If you can't make the purchase with cash, do it with debt -- right? We love to know we can still consume, but we hate the bill that comes 30 days later, along with the subsequent monthly payment.... Continue Reading »

Hot Rental Markets the Big Investors Missed

By Christine DiGangi For real estate investors looking for new, profitable markets, Texas offers some untapped opportunities. So does Florida. RealtyTrac and RentRage identified the 25 hidden-gem, single-family rental markets across the country, and they're all in 15 states no farther west than Texas. The... Continue Reading »

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