Personal Finance Advice and Commentary

Thursday, April 26, 2012 8:00 am
By Rose Raymond ·

Happy Thursday! The Federal Reserve sat on rates for the 35th time while mortgage rates dropped.

Tuesday, August 17, 2010 8:39 am
By Holden Lewis ·

Regulators want to give you the right to cancel a mortgage application within three days and get a refund of the fees you paid. The little-noticed proposal was included in a 930-page document that the Federal Reserve published Monday in the Federal Register. Here’s the proposal; it’s a 6.9-megabyte PDF file. The Fed’s Proustian tome

Thursday, August 12, 2010 3:00 pm
By Holden Lewis ·

FHA-insured home loans are about to get more expensive. If you’re about to get a Federal Housing Administration-insured mortgage, you might want to act before October. But in some situations, you might want to wait. This is complicated, so bear with me. The FHA insures mortgages, and the insurance fund has taken a big hit

Tags: FHA, home loans
Monday, August 09, 2010 2:07 pm
By Holden Lewis ·

Do you owe way more than your house is worth because property values went down? Are you on time with your mortgage payments? Are you optimistic and lucky? Is your mortgage not insured with the FHA? Do you have time and energy to spend countless hours on the phone with lenders, jawing with customer service

Monday, August 09, 2010 7:06 am
By Holden Lewis ·

The economic calendar has a slow start this week, after enduring Friday’s disappointing employment report. In that report, nonfarm payrolls plunged by 131,000 jobs in July, which was worse than expected. The revision for June magnified that month’s job losses, too. With all those lost jobs, the unemployment rate remained unchanged, at 9.5 percent. Was

Monday, July 19, 2010 3:57 pm
By Holden Lewis ·

As threatened last week, my article about financial reform and your mortgage is up today. The financial regulation law devotes more than 200 pages to mortgages. As far as effects on consumers, I believe the most profound provision is the one that gives favorable treatment to plain-vanilla “qualified mortgages.” These are straightforward home loans that

Friday, July 16, 2010 9:48 am
By Holden Lewis ·

The oil gusher has scrambled the economy along the Gulf Coast, cutting incomes of everyone from fishermen to hotel maids. Regulators are asking banks if they will treat those customers, including mortgage borrowers, fairly. Please? Pretty please? The title of the interagency statement tells you a lot: “Financial Institutions Affected by the Deepwater Horizon Oil

Tuesday, June 29, 2010 1:23 pm
By Holden Lewis ·

Plain vanilla is back, in stealth mode. A year ago, the Obama administration set out its goals for financial reform. One goal was to require mortgage lenders to offer “plain vanilla” loans. The definition of “plain vanilla” wasn’t as narrow as you might expect: It included not only 30-year fixed-rate mortgages, but also hybrid ARMs.

Tuesday, June 22, 2010 11:29 am
By Greg McBride ·

Existing home sales for May not only came in well below expectations, but below April levels. The significance here is that existing home sales are measured at closing, so a nice bump in sales was expected given the tax credit crowd that had signed contracts in March and April moving to the closing table in

Tuesday, June 22, 2010 10:54 am
By Holden Lewis ·

Yesterday I wrote that the lender won’t refinance the mortgage if you owe more than the house is worth. Carol, a loan officer, gently reminded us of the existence of the Home Affordable Refinance Program. HARP is designed to let people refinance even though they are upside-down on their houses. I had forgotten about HARP,

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