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Mortgage Modification: Another Hurdle for Some

January 2nd, 2009

If you took out a ‘piggyback’ second mortgage (aka a ‘junior-lien loan’) to cover, say, your down payment or private mortgage insurance (PMI), then you may have problems if you need a loan modification. Read the rest of this entry »

Refinancing a Mortgage? Don’t Forget “Consolidation and Assignment”

December 29th, 2008

This blog isn’t really supposed to be about tips, and hints. But, a couple of days ago, the New York Times gave such a good piece mortgage advice that I just have to pass it on. Read the rest of this entry »

Rates Down, Credit Scores Up: What to Do When Your Bank Says No

September 16th, 2008

Recent goings-on in the financial markets, particularly the government take-over of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, made mortgage rates more affordable but loans less attainable. So what should you do if you don’t have a cookie-cutter file, with 5 years on the job, 20% down, and perfect credit? Are the days of 40 or 50 year terms, interest-only or payment option ARMs over for good?

According to Bloomberg, probably–at least at your larger banks. “Tighter standards assure the loans are less likely to fail, but also have had the unfortunate effect of limiting the ability of some first-time home buyers to enter the market,” said Sara Tinsley Demarest, spokeswoman for the Washington-based Mortgage Bankers Association.

Those who financed their homes with Alt-A or non-traditional products have a lot to worry about. If they are facing significant rate resets (which they fully expected to avoid by refinancing or selling) and have not been aided by an increase in home value, they may find it difficult to get out of their loans. This is where, while a bank may not be able to help, a broker may. Non-traditional mortgages are still available. Just be prepared to look harder, pay more, come up with higher down payments, and have better credit. A broker with access to a wide variety of programs may be better equipped to help you with this than a large bank with its conservative offerings.

Look for a loan officer you trust and see what’s available now, and what you may have to do to qualify for it (save more money, show more income when you prepare your taxes, increase your credit score, or pay down your debt). Many feel that in the future, Alt-A programs will make a comeback, though in a more conservative guise. But if you do what you can to make the grade now, you won’t have to rely on the industry changing to accommodate your situation.