Mortgage and real estate news this week: Forbearance fraud and important tax info

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Whether you’re going to spend this weekend shoveling out from another storm or just kicking back and watching the big game, we at Bankrate know our readers like to have as many options as possible — and not just when it comes to mortgages. So no matter what your plans are, take a second to get caught up on what’s going in real estate and property finance this week.

1. Misleading mortgage forbearance

According to federal regulators, some mortgage lenders misled their clients about their forbearance rights. Some delayed processing the forbearance, some put borrowers into forbearance without their permission, and still others didn’t properly disclose the terms of the arrangement. If you’re struggling to make your mortgage payments as a result of the coronavirus pandemic, you may be eligible to take a pause.

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2. Home equity loan tax deductions

If you opened a home equity line after Dec. 15, 2017, your interest payments may be deductible on your income taxes. Your eligibility depends in part on how you used the money: it’s deductible if you used it for home improvement, but not if you used the loan to consolidate other debt. If you have a HELOC, it’s worth checking to see if you could boost your tax refund.

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3. RenoFi helps homeowners finance improvements

Maybe you don’t have a HELOC yet, but are looking to make home improvements. If you don’t have enough equity to fund the project of your dreams, fintech company RenoFi may be able to help. The lender will give you financing based on how much your house will be worth once the project is complete.

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4. How to make your home offer stand out

In this seller’s market, it can be hard for buyers to secure the house of their dreams. If you’re getting ready to put in an offer, here are some tips for how you can make it more attractive to the seller — and therefore, make it more likely that you get to be the one to seal the deal.

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5. Where are mortgage rates headed? Not very far

Experts have been predicting for a while that mortgage rates are poised to rise. That’s probably true, but that rise is unlikely to be meteoric. Rates will probably kick around near their current levels for the rest of this month, and may start to tick up, but it’s unlikely they’ll go above 3 percent for a 30-year conforming mortgage any time soon.

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Written by
Zach Wichter
Mortgage reporter
Zach Wichter is a mortgage reporter at Bankrate. He previously worked on the Business desk at The New York Times where he won a Loeb Award for breaking news, and covered aviation for The Points Guy.
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