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  • 1. Tell me more about FHA loans
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    Terms of Use: What are FHA loans? The Federal Housing Administration (FHA) works to make home ownership a possibility for more Americans. The FHA is not a lender but rather an insurer of loans. The FHA issues guidelines to banks and credit unions to follow so that as long as a loan meets those terms, it agrees to insure against loss. While FHA loans used to be very attractive for first-time homebuyers who might not have saved enough for a down payment of 5% or more for a conventional loan or who  More...
  • 2. How and when can I drop PMI?
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    Terms of Use: Contact your lender directly to ensure that you are actually paying for PMI. If your principal balance is less than 80% of your last appraised value, request that your lender stop charging you for PMI. If your principal balance is more than 80% of your last appraised value, but you know that your home's current market value would cause you to be below the 80% threshold, get an appraisal and present the appraisal to your lender. Be aware that your lender does not have a choice   More...
  • 3. What should I do if I believe that I am being excluded from a neighborhood because of race, color, religion, sex, nationality, familial status, or disability?
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    Terms of Use Immediately contact the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) if you ever feel excluded from a neighborhood or particular house. Also, contact HUD if you believe you are being discriminated against on the basis of race, color, religion, sex, nationality, familial status, or disability. HUD's Office of Fair Housing has a hotline for reporting incidents of discrimination: 1-800-669-9777 (and 1-800-927-9275 for the hearing impaired). To file a complaint, you c  More...
  • 4. What is RESPA and how does it protect me so that I am fully informed and treated fairly when going through the mortgage process?
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    Terms of Use: RESPA stands for Real Estate Settlement Procedures Act. It requires lenders to disclose information to potential customers throughout the mortgage process. By doing so, it protects borrowers from abuses by lending institutions. RESPA mandates that lenders fully inform borrowers about all closing costs, lender servicing and escrow account practices, and business relationships between closing service providers and other parties to the transaction. For more information visit the RESPA  More...
  • 5. Can I get a credit report for free?
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    Terms of Use Credit reports contain a wealth of information about your credit history. Consumers now can get a free copy of their credit report. It's important to review your credit report at least annually to ensure it is accurate and that you have not become a victim of identity fraud.> A study by U.S. Public Interest Research Group found that one in four credit reports contains errors serious enough to cause consumers to be denied credit, a loan, an apartment or or even a job. The   More...
  • 6. What should I do to select a real estate agent?
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    Terms of Use: It is generally a good idea to start by asking family and friends if they can recommend an agent. Compile a list of several brokers in your area and talk to each before choosing one. Look for an agent who listens well, understands your needs, and whose judgment you trust. The ideal agent knows the local area well and has resources and contacts to help you in your search. Overall, you want to choose an agent that you feel comfortable with, and one that can provide all the knowle  More...
  • 7. How can I see my credit report?
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    Terms of Use There are three major credit reporting companies: Equifax , Experian , and TransUnion . Obtaining your credit report is as easy as calling or going to the internet and requesting one. Once you receive the report, it's important to verify its accuracy. Double-check the high credit limit, total loan, and past due columns. It's a good idea to get copies from all three companies to ensure there are no mistakes since any of the three could be providing a report to your lender. Fees  More...
  • 8. How much down payment is normally required to buy a home?
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    Terms of Use There are mortgage options now available that only require a down payment of 5% or less of the purchase price. Mortgages with less than a 20% down payment generally require a private mortgage insurance (PMI) policy to secure the loan. For example, if you pay 10% down on a $100,000 loan, PMI might cost you about $40/month or $480/year. However, the actual rate is based on various factors including the size of the loan, the amount of the down payment, and your individual lendi  More...
  • 9. What is earnest money and how much is customary?
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    Terms of Use Earnest money is money put down to demonstrate your seriousness about buying a home. It must be substantial enough to demonstrate good faith and is usually between 1-5% of the purchase price (though the amount can vary with local customs and market conditions). If your offer is accepted, the earnest money becomes part of your down payment or closing costs. If the offer is rejected, your money is returned to you. If you back out of a deal for anything other than a contingency th  More...
  • 10. Why might I consider getting an FHA loan rather than a conventional mortgage?
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    Terms of Use: The major reason to consider getting an FHA loan is because an FHA loan has less stringent criteria than those used by banks and credit unions for qualifying you for a conventional mortgage. As such, an FHA loan may provide an ideal choice for first-time home owners or individuals rebuilding their credit. For instance, the FHA allows you to use 31% of your income towards housing costs and 43% towards housing expenses and other long-term debt. With a conventional loan, this qualifyi  More...
All information provided through this site is intended to be accurate. However, there may be inaccuracies from time to time which we will make every attempt to correct immediately. Information provided is intended to assist you in making decisions and does not eliminate the need to discuss your particular circumstances with a qualified professional.

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