bank rates credit cards insurance finance calculators

« Archive for the ‘Mortgages’ Category

What If I Don’t Voluntarily Go Away?

A few years ago, Third Federal Savings & Loan in Cleveland was offering one of the best rates in the country on home equity lines of credit – just 3.25% for up to $30,000. There weren’t a lot of fees, so I signed up. Since then, I’ve only had to tap the line once, and I […]

Stewart Torches The Mortgage Bankers

The Daily Show With Jon Stewart Mon – Thurs 11p / 10c

Banks Need A Little Skin In The Game

Banks are still whining about the so-called “skin-in-the-game” requirement that was part of the financial reform bill Congress passed last summer. And I’ve got to say that those complaints are soooooo unattractive. What the law does is require banks to maintain at least a 5% interest in the mortgages, credit card debt and auto loans […]

Let’s Ditch The Mortgage Deduction, Too

There’s a lot of talk about putting an end to Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac — the federal government’s biggest involvement in the mortgage market. But what about the mortgage deduction? The ability to deduct the interest you pay on your home loan has long been portrayed as one of the two, great middle-class tax […]

Pay Extra To Pay Extra On Your Mortgage?

We recently received an email from Citimortgage, urging us to enroll in its “BiWeekly Advantage Plan.” After you sign up, the plan automatically withdraws half of your regular monthly mortgage payment every 14 days for a total of 26 drafts a year. It’s the equivalent of making 13 monthly mortgage payments a year, instead of […]

Mortgage Rates Plunge To Record Lows

The financial crisis in Europe has had the unexpected effect of pushing mortgage rates in the United States to record lows. The average cost of a 30-year fixed-rate mortgage fell to 4.96%, and the average rate for a 15-year, fixed-rate loan dropped to 4.34% in Bankrate’s most recent survey of major lenders. Those are the […]

Best Mortgage Rates Refuse To Budge

Many people feared that mortgages would become much more expensive when the Federal Reserve stopped buying mortgage-backed securities this spring. But the Fed dropped out of the market March 31, and so far, mortgage rates remained near historic lows. Our latest survey of the best rates available in 10 major cities found lenders offering 30-year, […]

Chase’s “Cash Back” Mortgage An Iffy Deal

JP Morgan Chase is pushing a new gimmick to sell mortgages. Take out a new loan — purchase or refinance — and get back 1% of each year’s total mortgage payments. But how much will you have to pay for a Chase loan? When we used the “custom quote” feature on the bank’s Web site, […]

Best Mortgage Rates Still Under 5%

Lenders are offering traditional fixed-rate mortgages for less than 5% in nine of the 10 major cities we surveyed this month. That’s quite an improvement from July when only one of the 10 cities we looked at had those loans available for less than 5%. It’s nearly as good as what we found in November, […]

The Right Bid Is Key To Closing Short Sales

When you bid on a home, you usually open negotiations with a deliberately low offer. Short sales are different. Lenders must approve any deal that allows a home to be sold for less than what’s owed on the mortgage, and it can take weeks, sometimes months, for them to evaluate and approve (or reject) each […]

Home Prices Slow Dizzying Descent

Home prices didn’t fall as quickly as expected in the final three months of 2009, according to the National Association of Realtors latest report. In fact, home prices showed so much improvement that we have to wonder if they’ll really fall another 5% to 10% this year as some experts have projected. The national median […]

Best Mortgage Rates Remain Below 5%

Lenders are offering traditional fixed-rate mortgages for less than 5% in nine of the 10 major cities we surveyed this month. That’s quite an improvement from July when only one of the 10 cities we looked at had those loans available for less than 5%. It’s nearly as good as what we found in November, […]

Bankers Slap Misleading Title On Their Bill

The Florida Consumer Protection and Homeowner Credit Rehabilitation Act. Sounds like a good thing, right? But it’s the misleading title of a 53-page bill the Florida Bankers Association has drafted and wants the state legislature to enact. The new law would make it faster and cheaper for lenders to repossess property by giving them the […]

New GFE Helps You Find The Best Deal

Within three days of applying for a mortgage, you’ll get a “Good Faith Estimate” that lays out all of the terms and fees for the loan you want. But are you getting the best possible deal? On Jan. 1 the government required lenders to start using a new, standardized GFE that can help you decide. […]

Best Mortgage Rates Remain Below 5%

Lenders are offering traditional 30-year mortgages for 4.875% in all but one of the 10 cities we checked in our January home loan survey. That’s a little higher than we found in our November survey of the best mortgage rates. But six months ago you couldn’t find a bank or mortgage broker offering these kinds […]

Top 10 Projects For Boosting Home Values

Making your home bigger, or nicer, always makes it more valuable. But some projects payoff better than others. The average return on improvements has fallen for four straight years, slumping to 63.8% in 2009, which means every dollar spent now boosts a home’s value by an average of 63.8 cents To determine which projects provide […]

Rates Remain Low On Our Favorite HELOCs

Rates on home equity lines of credit haven’t changed much since mid-October — and that’s a good thing. Homeowners with pretty good credit and a chuck of equity in their homes should be able to get a HELOC for 5% or less in most parts of the country. While that isn’t as cheap as they […]

Dirty Little Secrets Of Home Inspections

Hire a contractor — not a home inspector — to examine any house you’re thinking about buying. You just can’t count on them to tell you what’s wrong with a home because of the three dirty little secrets about the home inspection business: Dirty Little Secret 1. The great majority of home inspectors depend on […]

Best Mortgage Rates Fall Below 5%

If you have good credit and a down payment (or some equity if you’re refinancing) there’s no reason to pay 5% or more for your mortgage. The best deals we could find on 30-year, fixed-rate loans in 10 major cities now range from 4.875% to 4.625%. This the first month that every single city we’ve […]

Fixed-Rate Mortgages Cheaper Than Ever

Interest rates on the safest and most popular types of mortgages fell to record lows this week. The average cost of a 30-year, fixed-rate mortgage was 5.06% in Bankrate’s latest weekly survey of major lenders. That’s the lowest average since the survey began in 1985, whacking seven-hundredths-of-a-point off the previous record of 5.13% set in […]

Go House Hunting With A Buyer’s Agent

If you’re purchasing a home, don’t go with just any real estate agent: Get a full-time buyer’s agent. One of the advantages of working with a buyer’s agent is that you’re less likely to have conflicts of interest. Unlike agents who represent buyers and sellers, buyer’s agents won’t steer you toward a home that one […]

Best Mortgage Rates Hold Their Own

The best deals on home loans remained as good as they were in September. The lowest rates for a 30-year, fixed-rate mortgage ranged from 5.125% to 4.875% in the 10 cities we surveyed this month, almost identical to the 5.125% to 4.625% range we found in September. That definitely beats the best deals we were […]

Best HELOCs Cost A Little More This Fall

The best home equity lines of credit are a little more costly this fall than they were in early summer. Back in June, a number of lenders were offering HELOCs for less than 4%. Now only a couple have deals that good, and most borrowers will pay 4.25% or more. You also need to remember […]

Best mortgage rates keep going down

The best deals on home loans are considerably better than they were last summer. The lowest interest rates for a 30-year, fixed-rate loan in the 10 cities we just surveyed range from 5.125% to 4.625%. That’s a little better than in August, when the range was 5.125% to 4.875%, and a noticeable improvement over July […]

First-Time Buyers’ Tax Credit Expiring

Time is running out to take advantage of the first-time homebuyer tax credit. To qualify you must close on your purchase before Dec. 1. If you don’t have a sales contract in hand, and mortgage application in the works, by mid-October you’ll be racing to meet that deadline. The homebuyer’s tax credit has been a […]

Pay Little Or Nothing Down With The Government’s Help

Want to buy a home, but don’t have much cash? Two government programs can help you make a minimal down payment. You can still get 100% financing if you can qualify for a VA loan. Veterans, including members of the National Guard and reserve units, soldiers on active duty, and widows whose spouses’ deaths were […]

Top Mortgage Rates Decline This Month

The average cost of a 30-year, fixed-rate mortgage fell to 5.52% this week. But the best deals in the 10 cities we surveyed this month range from 5.125% to 4.875% for a traditional home loan. The results are just a little bit better than our July mortgage rate survey, which found the best deals were […]

State programs can help with first home

States still have special mortgages, down payment assistance or other help for first-time homebuyers. Some programs don’t have as much money as they did before the mortgage crisis hit. A few states — notably Alabama, Arizona, Illinois, Kansas, Oregon, Texas and Wisconsin — have had to suspend some loan programs temporarily because of the difficulty […]

Stated-income loans making a comeback

Mortgage brokers in at least some parts of the country tell us that lenders are starting to offer stated-income loans again. These are the kind of mortgages that were for small business owners and self-employed professionals who can’t document their income with W-2 forms as most types of mortgages require. Problems arose during the real […]

More homes more affordable than ever

Remember when the overheated housing market made it almost impossible for anyone to buy their first home? Well, those days are definitely over. During the first three months of 2009, nearly 73% of all homes sold were considered affordable for families earning the $64,000 national median income, according to the National Association of Home Builders/Wells […]