Money Saving Tips for Home Buyers & Owners

How Does Debt Consolidation Work, Exactly?


how does debt consolidation workAre there more than a few bills this month than you saw just a few months ago? You’re certainly not alone. It’s that time of year when home owners start getting their credit card statements and they soon realize they probably spent more than they had planned over the holidays. But pay they must and many do so by taking out a debt consolidation loan. How does a debt consolidation loan work?

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4 Mortgage Refinance Options for Consolidating Debt


mortgage refinance consolidate debtWhen comparing interest rates on home loans with other types of consumer debt such as credit cards or automobile loans it becomes immediately clear there’s quite a bit of difference. Why the disparity? Home loans are secured by real estate while credit cards are not. Other installment debt such as an automobile loan can also carry higher rates compared to a home loan. Consumers can always renegotiate the interest rate on a credit card or other types of debt but even then the rates are still higher than what is offered for a mortgage. That said, home owners can replace those higher rates with a lower one by refinancing an existing mortgage, pulling out extra cash during the process and paying off those high interest rate accounts. How? Here are four mortgage refinance options for consolidating debt.

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The Best Way to Pay Off Credit Card Debt

pay off credit card debt

If they haven’t hit already, they soon will. What are we talking about? Credit card bills. During the months of November and December credit card activity begins to rise as holiday shopping and entertainment is high on most everyone’s list. From plane tickets to grandmother’s house to bringing the kids home from school to extended shopping excursions, that credit card sure comes in handy. But as the holiday memories begin to fade the realities begin to take over and it’s time to take care of that credit card debt, even though you may not have realized how quickly those credit card balances can rise. But there are some strategies that can not only help you get those balances paid down but increase your monthly cash flow each month at the same time.

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How to Choose a Realtor: 5 Do's and Don'ts

How to Choose a Realtor

If you walk by any real estate office and pick up a business card from one of the agents or visit an agent’s website you’d think that all of the real estate agents out there are multi-million dollar producers. Of course, even if that were true, being a multi-million dollar producer in Beverly Hills means something completely different in Tulsa, Oklahoma. The personal promotion is almost to be expected. There are a lot of real estate agents out there and they’re all competing for your business whether you’re about to sell your home, you’re getting ready to buy one or do both. But how do you look beyond the clutter of self-promotion? How do you find the best real estate agent out there, one that addresses your specific needs? And, do you really even need a real estate agent in the first place?

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Topics: Insider

How To Know When To Lock In Your Mortgage Rate


Whether you are a first-time homebuyer looking for a home or a seasoned home-buying veteran, you probably know how important it is to get the best mortgage possible, and much of that importance is placed upon the interest rate associated with the loan. Mortgage lenders compete with one another for your business and one of the primary ways they do so is to be competitive in both terms of rate as well as service and deliverability. But rates are an important factor. There is no shortage of information available about mortgage rates in general, how they act and what makes them move up, down or stay the same. So how do you know when to lock in your mortgage rate?

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Should I Use My Realtor's Preferred Lender?

Real estate agents are asked a lot of questions. They typically juggle multiple parties and services, and provide referrals since most buyers don’t have the specialized contacts that the realtor does. A real estate agent has a list of experts such as inspectors, loan officers, or attorneys that they can recommend when needed. When it comes to your mortgage lender, it’s good to ask questions. Ask yourself; is the realtor’s preferred lender best for me or best for the realtor?

Let’s pull back the curtains a bit and understand how and why real estate agents refer mortgage lenders to their clients.

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My Mortgage Transferred–Now What?


If you’ve had your current mortgage for any length of time, you might have experienced what many homeowners do--a mortgage transfer. Your loan has been sold to another company and you now need to send your mortgage payments to them. This is often the first time that homeowners realize that the company who approved and funded the mortgage loan at the settlement table isn’t the one who accepts the mortgage payments each month. Questions about mortgage transfers are some of the most frequently asked questions for new mortgage customers and experienced buyers alike. 

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Should I Lock In My Mortgage Rate Today?

When you’re first considering applying for a home loan, whether to refinance or to purchase a home, you discover that interest rates for mortgages are a moving target. Mortgage companies set rates each day and rates change often, especially during volatile times. Though it doesn’t happen often, rates can even change during the course of a single business day. As mortgage rates change over time you might ask yourself: Should I lock in my mortgage rate today or see if I can get a better rate later?

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Mortgage Banker vs Mortgage Broker: What's the Difference?

Where is the best place to get a home loan? Should you just use your bank down the street or should you work directly with a mortgage company? And if you decide to work with a mortgage company, should you work with a mortgage banker or a mortgage broker? Did you know there’s a difference between direct mortgage lenders, brokers and bankers?

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How to Avoid PMI

Perhaps the most universally available as well as competitive mortgage loans are those underwritten to standards set forth by Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. Yet with either, if the loan amount is greater than 80% of the current market value of the subject property, mortgage insurance will be required. It used to be that these conventional loans required a downpayment of at least 20% of the sales price but in the late 1950s private mortgage insurance, or PMI, was introduced. PMI is an insurance policy that compensates the lender in the instance of default. This compensation is the difference between a 20% down payment and the borrower’s actual down payment. The simplest method of how to avoid PMI is borrowers simply make the required 20% down payment. But there are other, less cash-intensive ways to avoid PMI.

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