The federal government has finally adopted simple, clear mortgage disclosure forms. Here's what you need to know...
An idea that's long overdue
Long ago, The American Enterprise Institute put out a beautiful 1-page form that was all about transparency so you knew what you were getting into with a mortgage. I loved it when it first came out and I love it today.
In fact, much of the financial heartache our nation went through never would have happened if the AEI form was adopted as law of land *before* the real estate bust. Of course, that didn't happen and we know how the scenario played out.
The form is ready, it is done, but the banks probably won't know what to do until they can get their head around this update.
But here's the thing: All the info in the world won't help you if you make this cardinal mistake...
Read more: 5 reasons to join the small house movement
1 simple way to save thousands on your housing costs
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 between the cheapest loan and the most expensive one for a customer was $75,000 over the life of the loan.
Shopping around and getting multiple quotes is an easy way to save hundreds of dollars each month and thousands of dollars over the lifetime of a loan.
The best way to approach getting a mortgage or refi is to shop with small local banks, credit unions, online lenders, and mortgage brokers. They'll typically give you a rate that's equivalent to a big bank, and they'll offer very large assistance on closing costs that can amount to thousands of dollars. If you're a first-time homebuyer, you'll want to read my advice specifically for you.
Shopping around is easy. I have a handy tool for you to get the job done. One thing is certain: If you want the highest combo of rates and costs (referred to as closing costs and points,) you'll typically find it at a big bank!
For more money-saving advice, see our Homes & Real Estate section.