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What is Mortgage Refinancing?

Refinancing a mortgage means to get a new mortgage agreement with a different interest rate. If the prevailing interest rate environment has changed, or if a person’s credit history has strengthened since signing the original mortgage agreement, a homeowner might benefit from refinancing their mortgage with a new arrangement. The bank or lending institution would effectively pay off the first mortgage with the new one, and give the client a different interest rate or mortgage term (length) or monthly payment amount. Continue reading...

What is a Mortgagor?

The mortgagor is the borrower in a mortgagor/mortgagee relationship, where the mortgagee is the lending institution that makes the mortgage loan. Mortgages are used to purchase real property, usually single family homes. The purchase of a home with a mortgage and the payments on the mortgage are one of the largest financial decisions or obligations that a mortgagor will ever make. If a mortgagor is delinquent on payments, he or she might be categorized as a home debtor, and the loan would be subject to foreclosure. If there is a foreclosure, the bank or lender will reposes the house, evict the former owner, and sell the house as quickly as possible, sometimes through an auction. Continue reading...

What is a Mortgage?

When a mortgage loan is made to a consumer, the bank or loan institution is the mortgagee, while the consumer is the mortgagor. Mortgages are long term loans secured by the real property of the individual borrowing the money, and they are generally used for homes, called home mortgages. The lending institution, which might be a bank or a mortgage company, is the mortgagee, lending money to the homebuyer, who is the mortgagor. Continue reading...

What is Mortgage Modification?

Mortgage modifications are arrangements agreed to by the lender that are outside of the contractual mortgage agreement, in instances where the borrower experiences unique circumstances or hardship. An example of a mortgage modification is a loan forbearance, which is when a lender agrees to let the borrower temporarily stop payments for an agreed-upon span of time, before resuming payments with an added repayment stipulation for the time spent not paying. Continue reading...

What is a No-Fee Mortgage?

No-fee mortgages are synonymous with no-cost mortgages, which might apply to first mortgages or refinancing arrangements where the closing costs are paid by the lender, broker, or bank, but a higher interest rate is charged on the loan as a means of recouping those waived fees. Closing costs and fees are calculated based on the total amount being loaned, and might be about 3% for a first mortgage and 1.5% for a refinanced mortgage. When the fees and closing costs associated with a mortgage loan are waived for the borrower, they are usually baked in to a higher interest rate on the loan. Continue reading...

What is a Home Mortgage?

A home mortgage is a long-term loan for the purchase of a home, secured by the value of the home itself. Banks as well as mortgage companies make mortgage loans to consumers and charge an interest rate for the duration of the loan that may be fixed or variable. Mortgage loans generally last for between 15 to 30 years, and they are constructed so that paying off a home can fit into a person’s budget while a bank or lending institution collects interest on each payment. Continue reading...

What is an Adjustable Rate Mortgage?

A mortgage whose rate is variably adjusted according to the interest rate environment is known as an ARM. With an adjustable rate mortgage (ARM) , the interest rate is lower at the beginning than the fixed-rate alternative, but the customer bears the risk of interest rates going up in the future. The bank or institution creating such a product will usually peg the rate to a specific index or benchmark rate, and will also probably give the customer a cap at which rate hikes would stop. Continue reading...

What should I look for in a good Mortgage Calculator?

What should I look for in a good Mortgage Calculator?

Mortgage payment arrangements can be engineered in a number of ways, and a good mortgage calculator will give you enough flexibility to input the terms of your own. Ideally a mortgage calculator will be flexible enough to let you input the following: an adjustable rate, a rate cap, optional mortgage “acceleration” payments, balloon payments and resets, impound account calculations which take into account the property taxes and insurance you pay, as well as calculations which take any origination fees into account. Continue reading...

What is a Mortgage Forbearance Agreement?

In the event that a borrower is having issues making mortgage payments on time, they may try to seek a mortgage forbearance agreement to delay the foreclosure process. The mortgage forbearance agreement would specify the plan for resuming mortgage payments on time, and is designed to be a temporary solution to an unforeseen issue with the borrower (unemployment, health issues). Continue reading...

What is Mortgage Life Insurance?

Mortgage life insurance is any life insurance policy which covers the life of the borrower in a mortgage loan and assigns the mortgage lender as a creditor-beneficiary entitled to recoup their losses from the life insurance policy. The bank or lender will be designated as the assignee for the collateral of the life policy. Historically speaking, mortgage life insurance was a term policy with a decreasing death benefit, also called a face amount, that equaled the remaining amount due on the mortgage loan. As the home was paid off, the amount of life insurance required would decrease, and, in most cases, the premium with it. Continue reading...

What is the House Price Index (HPI)?

The House Price Index (HPI) tracks average prices of homes using data from sales and refinancing, tracking the data for the same residential properties over many years. The Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA) publishes it quarterly and relies on data from Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. The HPI is an important index for the real estate and mortgage industry, as well as the economy as a whole. It uses information from Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac about home sale prices and the refinancing value of homes, tracking the sales and refinancing prices of homes in the Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac databases, all the way back to 1978. They do this using a weighted repeat-sales method. It is published quarterly by the Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA). Continue reading...

What is a Balloon Loan?

A Balloon Loan has lower debt payments than a fully amortized loan up until a lump sum payment at the end of a term. Balloon loans have relatively low monthly payments due over their term and then a large lump sum payment for the remaining balance at the end. This can be advantageous if someone or a business knows they will be paid in a certain way that fits well with this schedule. Other people and businesses may be planning to use a more flexible approach where the lump sum due at the end is rolled into a new financing schedule (such as a two-step mortgage), and this is usually done if there is a reset provision in the contract. Continue reading...

What is Appraisal?

What is Appraisal?

Appraisal is a valuation conducted by a certified professional to assess the value of property, especially real estate. Appraisals are an important service in the real estate industry in particular. Where mortgage loans are being taken out from banks, including original mortgages, refinancing, home equity loans and lines of credit, as well as in business and estate valuations, the property appraisal will play an important role. Continue reading...

What is a No-Cost Mortgage?

No-Cost Mortgages waive the initial closing costs by making a repayment structure for those costs into the interest payments on a mortgage loan. Closing costs can range from 2%-5% of the total cost of the home, and include attorney fees, underwriting fees, application fees, and so on. These costs are deferred and are paid in the form of additional interest on the loan. Closing costs are separate from down-payments of equity, and are a miscellaneous hodgepodge of a wide range of fees associated with closing a mortgage deal. These costs are sometimes covered by the seller, but most often they are paid by the buyer. Continue reading...

What is a Mortgage Broker?

Mortgage brokers act as agents for consumers looking for the best deal possible on a home mortgage loan. Lenders at banks may not be able to find the most competitive interest rates out there. Mortgage brokers can help consumers become more educated about the various kinds of loans out there, some of which are subsidized by the government. Mortgage brokers find and place mortgage loans with consumers who need it to buy a house. Continue reading...

What is a Balloon Payment?

A balloon payment is a lump sum due at the end of a balloon loan term. In a balloon loan arrangement, the payment schedule does not amortize the entire amount of the loan, but instead allows for lower installment payments by holding a lump-sum payment until the end of the term. These terms are usually relatively short, such as 5 years, and often these arrangements are taken by individuals or consumers who plan on refinancing before the balloon payment comes due. Continue reading...

What is Mortgage Fraud?

Mortgage fraud is misrepresentation in mortgage contracts designed to benefit one or more parties to the contract. Sometimes it can be as simple as an applicant lying about financial information to make himself seem more credit-worthy. Sometimes it can involve a few people, such as a real estate agent, an appraiser, and a lender, all colluding to split the profits on a property that isn’t worth as much as they say it is. Continue reading...

What is a Mortgage Company?

Most mortgage companies today are brokerages that do not underwrite or fund the loans themselves. They help to place customers with the most competitive loans that make sense for their situation and personal finances. Many small mortgage companies went bankrupt in the housing bubble of 2008. Mortgage companies are known as loan originators since they pair customers with loans that suit them and get the process started. Some companies also fund mortgage loans, but most are basically brokerage services that do not lend the money themselves. Continue reading...

What is a No-Appraisal Mortgage?

Most mortgages require that an appraisal or at least inspection is done before any loan is made. There are exceptions to this, in the form of no-appraisal mortgages which are available to lower-income homeowners, qualifying members of the military and its veterans, and some farmers. Most no-appraisal loans are through federal programs such as HARP, FHA, and the VA. The purpose of these loans is to keep people in their homes and to keep the economy relatively stable. These are generally not first mortgages, but are relief, modification, and refinancing arrangements to qualifying homeowners that already have a mortgage outstanding. Continue reading...

What is the Home Affordable Refinance Program (HARP)?

In 2009 the Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA) commissioned the HARP program to help Americans upside-down on mortgages to get approved for mortgage refinancing. This is only available to people whose mortgages are already owned by Freddie Mae and Freddie Mac. Many Americans find themselves upside-down, or underwater, on their home mortgages, particularly after the housing bubble popped in 2008. To be underwater means that there is more owed on the loan than the home can serve as collateral for. Continue reading...