Reverse Mortgage: What the AARP Suit Means for You

Seniors who took reverse mortgages are being pushed into foreclosure by HUD, according to a lawsuit filed by the AARP. Are all seniors who took a reverse mortgage at risk? No, only those who decided to put only one spouse on the reverse mortgage. Why would a couple decide to leave a spouse off the reverse mortgage? Peter... Continue Reading »

Renting as a Way to Strengthen Your Credit Report

Your dream is to buy a house, but all you can afford to do now is rent. You're wondering if renting can actually help you attain your goal of owning your first home. The answer is a definite yes, if you use the time you rent to build up your credit report and improve your finances so you can qualify for the best mortgage... Continue Reading »

Fixing Your Credit After a Bankruptcy to Apply for a Mortgage

When I first started working with Charlie (not his real name) in 2005, his bankruptcy had just been discharged, meaning his remaining debt was cleared. His credit score was 526, and he didn't think he had a chance to even get a credit card. Charlie's bankruptcy filing was needed after a difficult divorce and a medical... Continue Reading »

Cheap Mortgage Rates: Don't Miss Out

With cheap mortgage rates topping 5 percent for the first time since April 2010, it's time to start getting serious if you're thinking of buying a home. While rates are still historically low, as the government begins to make decisions about what to do with Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, you can be certain of one thing --... Continue Reading »

Homebuyer Tax Credit Bills Coming Due in 2011

If you took advantage of the first time homebuyer tax credit in 2008, it's time to start repaying this interest -ree loan when you file your 2010 tax return by April 2011. But, if you used the homebuyer tax credits in 2009 or 2010, you won't ever have to repay the money unless you sell or otherwise dispose of your home... Continue Reading »

Million-Dollar Home Defaults: Just What the Doctor Ordered

When Junaid Nazeer's wife, Neelofur, lost her job as a pathologist for a private medical lab her income plummeted from $400,000 to just about one-fifth of that. Now Neelofur is working through a fellowship to be a pathologist in a hospital environment. In November 2010, six months after she lost her job, the Chicago couple... Continue Reading »

Boosting a Bad Credit Score to Buy a House

Heather and her husband got caught up in the neverending downward spiral of taking payday loans to pay off payday loans. Each time they got a paycheck they had to use the check to pay off the interest on those loans and then didn't have enough to pay their utility and other bills. Finally, they realized they were in over... Continue Reading »

Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac Stick Taxpayers With Legal Bill

Since the government took over Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, taxpayers have been on the hook for $410.7 million in legal expenses, according to Rep. Randy Neugebauer (R-TX), chairman of the oversight subcommittee. Of those expenses $162.4 million have been spent defending the two entities and their former executives for... Continue Reading »

'Mortgage Fraud Factory' Whirs Down With 10 Arrests

Federal authorities called Crisp & Cole Real Estate a "full-service mortgage fraud factory" at a press conference on Friday when the 56-count indictment was unsealed. Indeed, people will spend years recovering from the financial damage caused by Crisp & Cole Real Estate, whose owners were arrested Thursday on... Continue Reading »

Communities Fight Back After Banks Walk Away

People aren't the only ones walking away from underwater mortgages. Banks are walking away, too. Communities are fighting back to regain control of their neighborhoods. Some by forcing banks to terminate mortgages. Others by purchasing the homes abandoned by banks, fixing them up then renting or selling them. A... Continue Reading »

Why Canada Doesn't Have a Foreclosure Problem

Why are Canada's homeowners less likely to face foreclosure? Fewer than 1 percent of Canadian mortgages are in arrears, compared to the 2.9 million homeowners that received foreclosure notices in the U.S. in 2010. You might think it's because there are a lot fewer Canadians, and you'd be right on that score. Canada's... Continue Reading »

Another Great Depression for Housing?

Fred Stevens, a policeman in Ohio, saw his house value drop from a peak of $103,000 when he refinanced in 2006 to a current low of less than $40,000. "I could have walked away, but wanted to do the right thing." November 2010 housing prices declined more in the current market than during the Great Depression, according to... Continue Reading »

Credit Scores for Home Buyers in 2011

Consumer lending is still tight, and your credit score will still be a major factor in 2011 if you want to get the best mortgage interest rates. Even if you don't have a top score, you may still be able to get a government-backed loan, such as an FHA, VA or USDA, at a decent rate. To get the best rate on the market,... Continue Reading »

Why MERS Is Center of Foreclosure Mess

News stories placing the Mortgage Electronic Registration Systems (MERS) at the center of the foreclosure storm make MERS the villain in this financial crises. While it's true MERS does enable foreclosures, the problem is a lot bigger than the electronic mess at MERS. Courts in some states are refusing to foreclose on... Continue Reading »

Elizabeth Warren to Tighten Mortgage Regs

Elizabeth Warren has a big job on her hands, but so far the Obama-appointed leader of the team charged with setting up the new Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) seems up to the task. In a major early step, Warren convinced state and federal regulators to sign a memorandum of understanding (MOU) to agree to work... Continue Reading »

Strategic Default Gaining in Popularity

The growing popularity of strategic default can't be denied. Forty-eight percent of homeowners surveyed say they would consider a strategic default -- also known as walking away -- if their home were underwater, in the latest research done for RealtyTrac and Trulia. That's up from 41 percent in May. Yet the banks still seem... Continue Reading »

Mortgage Modifications Get Some Real Help

Since California passed its new law mandating how lawyers can be paid for helping with mortgage modifications, Californians are finding it difficult to get assistance. Charles Martin used his 19 months of fighting for a mortgage modification for his own home in California to learn the ropes and now helps others, not only... Continue Reading »

How MERS Enables Banks to Foreclose

You may never have heard of the Mortgage Electronic Registration Systems (MERS), but it's the culprit that enabled many of the "robo-signers" to perpetuate their foreclosure fraud. L. Randall Wray provides an excellent overview of the fraud in a three part series for the Huffington Post. Banks not only created MERS, but... Continue Reading »

Owners of Disney-Built Homes Not Celebrating

Homeowners are no longer celebrating in Celebration, Fla., the idyllic town built by the Walt Disney Company starting in 1994, where house prices have dropped 38.8 percent or more since 2006. Foreclosures also are up in Celebration, near the Magic Kingdom though there is only one single family bank-owned propery and 11... Continue Reading »

Credit Card Hurting Your Mortgage Chances?

Your credit cards may be hindering your chances of getting a mortgage. Over the past two years, banks have cut back people's credit limits on their credit cards. Now, people are finding that their credit scores have dropped because of these bank actions. Even though they pay their card on time every month, their credit... Continue Reading »

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