Question of the Day

Oct. 17, 2014

Should I Avoid an Adjustable Rate Mortgage?

A:  Because adjustable rate mortgages, or ARMs, fluctuate with the market, they offer less stability than fixed-rate loans.  If an ARM is adjusted upward, monthly payments will increase, and for a lot of people that can be too big a risk to take.  On the other hand, should rates drop ...

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Sept. 11, 2014

Q: What is a hybrid loan?

A: Also called a fixed-period ARM, these crossbreed loans combine features of fixed-rate and adjustable-rate mortgages.

They start out with a fixed interest rate for a number of years – usually 3, 5, 7 or 10 years – and then convert to an ARM.

Initially, the interest rate for the ...

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Aug. 26, 2014

Q: Should I Consider a “B,” “C,” or “D” Paper Loan If I Have Bad Credit?

A: B, C, and D paper loans are types of sub-prime loans. There was a time when they were hard to find. Then when the housing market took off, so did the number of lenders offering them. Not so today. High default rates on sub-prime mortgages made to high-risk borrowers ...

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June 20, 2014

Q: What Is a Mortgage and How Does It Work?

A: A mortgage makes homeownership possible for most people. In the simplest terms, it is a loan that is secured by real property. The lender holds title to the home until the loan is completely repaid. If you fail to pay up, the lender has a right to take the ...

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Dec. 12, 2013

Q: What Should I Know about Low Down Payment Loans?

A: Such loans are offered by government agencies and private lenders, including nonprofit groups and employers. In fact, there are government programs at both the federal and state level to help cash-strapped buyers. Under many state housing agency guidelines, borrowers must usually be first-time homebuyers or have a limited family ...

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Nov. 25, 2013

Q: Should I Avoid an Adjustable Rate Mortgage?

A:  Because adjustable rate mortgages, or ARMs, fluctuate with the market, they offer less stability than fixed-rate loans.  If an ARM is adjusted upward, monthly payments will increase, and for a lot of people that can be too big a risk to take.  On the other hand, should rates drop ...

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Oct. 11, 2013

Q: Where Can I Get a Mortgage?

A: You can get a home loan from several different sources—a credit union, commercial bank, mortgage company, finance company, government agency, thrift (which includes savings banks and savings & loan associations), mortgage broker, and even the seller.

Note, however, that many lenders have tightened their credit standards in light of ...

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Sept. 16, 2013

Q: Should I Sell My Home First or Wait until I Have Bought another Home?

A: This is a tough decision, but the answer will depend on your personal situation, as well as the condition of the local housing market.

If you put your home on the market first, you may have to scramble to find another one before settlement, which could cause you to ...

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Aug. 14, 2013

Q: Can a home be sold for less than its mortgage?

A: Sometimes. But it is a complicated process and a lot will depend on the lender.

This process is called a “short sale,” which occurs when a lender agrees to write off the portion of a mortgage that's higher than the value of a home. But, usually, a ...

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July 26, 2013

Q: How Do You Decide Whether to Add on to an Existing Home or Purchase a New One?

A: There are a few things to consider, including cost, individual needs, and what will add value down the road.  Also important: your emotional attachment to the existing home.

As designer and builder Philip S. Wenz, the author of Adding to a House: Planning, Design & Construction, notes, an addition ...

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