Mortgage and real estate news this week: First-time buyer credit, housing hardship update

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Remember quiet news weeks? I don’t.

But if you’re looking for a break from the election cycle, the real estate and mortgage industries may be a good distraction. Interest rates remain low, and that means now is still a great time for people to refinance or buy a new home.

Here are Bankrate’s top stories this week from our calm corner of the internet.

1. A plan for first-time homebuyers

Getting the most political story in the lineup out of the way first. Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden has a proposal that would give first-time homebuyers a tax credit up to $15,000 to help with their purchase. That money is likely to go farthest in the Midwest and South, and it should speed up the timeline for new purchases by about three years for the average buyer.

Read the story.

2. Refi with your current lender, or find a new one?

Shopping around is the most important part of any refinance, but you could see some benefits to staying with your current lender. Among other things, they may be willing to match competitive rates in order to keep you as a customer. So if you’re thinking about refinancing, look for offers, and don’t be afraid to ask your current underwriter for a deal.

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3. Hawaii and Nevada top list for housing difficulties

Bankrate’s monthly Housing Hardship Index shows that Hawaii and Nevada had the highest rates of unemployment and mortgage delinquencies in August. Across the country, real estate remains a strong sector of the economy, but the terrain is not completely even across locations.

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4. Tips for becoming a landlord

Although the housing market is competitive, low interest rates make this an attractive time to buy for first timers, existing homeowners and investors alike. If you’re considering purchasing some property with an eye toward renting it out, check out Bankrate’s guide for everything you need to know.

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5. Things to know about no-cost closings

If you’re refinancing your mortgage, you may be fretting over the upfront costs. They can surely be expensive, but for some loans, those fees and other charges can be rolled into the mortgage itself. You’ll have to pay the charges down either way, but a no-cost closing changes when, and how quickly, you have to pay them down.

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