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Mortgages



Mortgages typically have many different owners over the years and many different servicing bureaus, so it's not difficult for a mixup to occur over your loan balance. To protect yourself, run an amortization schedule and check the loan balance reported by your lender against it.


•Keep a copy of every check you ever write for your loan.


•If you call a mortgage servicing bureau about your loan, make sure you get the full name of the person with whom you speak.


• If you find yourself in a dispute with a lender about a payment or another issue, don't send correspondence to the same address you send your payment.


•Keep an eye on how much money your bank collects to cover your annual property taxes and insurance. Lenders are allowed to collect your annual escrow needs plus one-sixth of this figure, but many over collect.


• One of the smartest things someone can do with a mortgage is to prepay on the loan. All you need to do is contact your lender and ask for its prepayment procedure. Then, once a year, check the loan balance the lender sends you to make sure the additional payments have been applied properly.


•Fee-based plans that charge $300 to $500 for administering a prepayment system are a bad idea; you can do it better and cheaper by yourself.


• If you reach 20 percent equity in your home, you can save a substantial of money by asking your lender to drop private mortgage insurance.


• Avoid paying private mortgage insurance by taking an 80 percent first mortgage and a 10 or 15 percent second mortgage.

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HELOCs Make a Comeback

For the first time since the real estate bubble, your ability to borrow against the value of your home is returning. This is significant because over the last 8 years, there was almost no home equity line of credit (HELOC) activity and almost no second mortgage activity. But now we ...

Should I Pay Off My Mortgage Early?

When people ask me whether or not they should pay off their mortgage, my answer is always, unequivocally YES. There are a number of psychological and financial burdens that are lifted once that proverbial noose around the neck is loosened. There’s a world of happiness and freedom out there just ...

Save Thousands On A Mortgage Or Refinance

You can save thousands of dollars on a mortgage or refinance with just one simple tip. Some time ago, The Los Angeles Times  reported more than half of all people stop at one lender when they're getting quotes for a mortgage or refi. Bad idea. In one example, the difference ...

Pros And Cons Of Reverse Mortgages For Seniors

Reverse mortgages remain a popular lure for cash-strapped seniors, but what's good in theory is often abysmal in execution. A reverse mortgage allows someone who is "house rich and cash poor" to get a payment from their lender in exchange for the bank getting the equity in the house over ...

6 Steps To Pay Off Your Mortgage Early

Should you pay off your mortgage early? It's a question personal finance experts have been debating for years. Some say it makes financial sense to invest that money in the stock market, while others say you won't ever regret being 100% debt free. In 2010, I set a personal goal ...

Mortgage Refinance Guide

Are you wondering how to refinance, when to refinance, and what all of the terms really mean? We've put together answers to some of the most Frequently Asked Questions regarding refinancing:      Should I refinance?  As a general rule, if you can shave at least a half point off ...

The Pros And Cons Of For Sale By Owner

With all the technology out there for home buyers and sellers, do real estate agents really matter anymore? For buyers, the research you can do online and with your phone is amazing. Apps like Redfin and HomeSnap will let you drive down a street, pull out your smartphone, aim it ...

Credit Unions Offer Creative Mortgages To Save You Money

Years ago, credit unions weren't the best place to look for a mortgage. But that was then and this is now. Today, credit unions are a great source for mortgages, especially if you're looking for something more creative. Pentagon Federal Credit Union has some unusual loans that you typically won't ...

Websites To Comparison Shop Owner's Title Insurance

When you buy a home or refinance one, you need a simple insurance policy that I just can't get people to buy…even though being without it can be deadly to your finances. Picture this: When you do a refinance, you dump Bank A and pay them off with proceeds lent ...

Rip off alert: Track your mortgage with this free tool

Years ago when I had my first home, the mortgage was sold off by the lender, and the result was a dispute about the balance. I contended I owed around $3,000 less than the new servicer of my mortgage claimed. So I had to prove my point by finding all ...

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