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USDA Drop

Posted On: 08/24/2016
Question: Last year the FHA lowered its annual insurance premium. Is there any chance the USDA might do the same with their rural home loans? Answer: Yes. In a move that will save new borrowers big money, the USDA is reducing both the upfront and annual mortgage insurance premiums for its...

Sold or Not Sold?

Posted On: 08/17/2016
Question: We have received a postcard from a local real estate broker saying that the home next door was sold in just a few days. However, there’s no “sold” sign in front of the property. We’d like to know if the house was sold and for how much. Answer: It used to be...

Grocery Stores and Home Values

Posted On: 08/10/2016
Question: We live in an older, established, residential neighborhood with very little new home construction. However, a major grocery chain is now building a half-size version of their big store here. Some neighbors say home values will increase while others worry about traffic and falling...

Insurance for Short-Term Rentals

Posted On: 08/03/2016
Question: With the children gone we now have a big house with lots of extra space. Rather than sell and downsize we would like to take in boarders on a nightly basis. What insurance coverage do we need? Is such coverage part of our basic homeowners policy or is additional coverage...

Shop Around for Rates

Posted On: 07/27/2016
QUESTION: We are first-time buyers looking for a mortgage. We are very lucky and have no debts, good jobs, considerable savings and excellent credit. We spoke with one lender who said that 30-year conventional financing was available at 3.25 percent – but only with 30 percent down. With...

Closing Date Drama

Posted On: 07/20/2016
Question: We sold our home and await closing. We’ve now found a new house and the owners want to settle about two weeks after the closing on our old home. This means we will have to move out of our house and store our stuff for half a month. Can we get our buyers to delay...

If Rates Rise …

Posted On: 07/13/2016
QUESTION: It’s expected that the Fed will raise interest levels this summer. How will that impact mortgage rates? ANSWER: The fact is that mortgage rates have plummeted since the Fed raised bank rates in December, going from 3.97 percent just before the Fed announcement to 3.58...

The November 8 Effect

Posted On: 07/06/2016
Question: We are now in the midst of the national election cycle. Will a new Administration dump the Dodd-Frank regulations? Answer: No matter who wins the presidency it’s very unlikely that the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act will be repealed. An end to...

Student Debt Rule Change

Posted On: 06/29/2016
Question: Some friends were turned down for an FHA mortgage because their student loan payments were too high. We worry that we might be in the same position, but if we spend more money to reduce our student debt we’ll have less for a down payment. What can we...

Total Interest Percentage… Whaaat?

Posted On: 06/22/2016
Question: We received a Loan Estimate from a lender while we were shopping for a mortgage. At the back was a calculation for something called the Total Interest Percentage. Which is better for comparing loans, a TIP or the APR? Answer: Both the TIP and the annual percentage rate (APR)...
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