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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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Is a Reverse Mortgage a good deal for you?

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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 ...

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 ...

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