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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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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 ...

An important safeguard to protect your mortgage

An important safeguard to protect your mortgage

Homeowners: With the mortgage industry still in chaos, Clark has important homework for you to check that you are not getting ripped off.

Interest-only mortgages make a comeback

Interest-only mortgages are roaring back to life after doing some much harm to so many. But is this kind of loan automatically a bad idea? I remember getting the first calls about 15 years ago when interest-only loans started being offered. It was like callers wanted me to condone their ...

HOA fees can become a budget buster

When you’re buying in a mandatory homeowners association (HOA), fees that seem reasonable today could skyrocket quickly. Two generations ago, there were almost no condos in the U.S. and no mandatory HOAs. Today, we are closing in on a third of Americans living in a mandatory HOA community of some ...

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