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Mortgages - Home Loans

The mortgage center covers everything you'll need to secure the best mortgage or refinance your existing mortgage. We'll cover the different types of mortgages and the steps you should be prepared for ahead of any mortgage transaction.
  1. FHA 203k (4)
  2. Mortgage Glossary (18)
  3. Mortgage Help and Relief (9)
  4. Mortgage Refinancing (7)
  5. Qualifying for a Mortgage (3)
  6. Reverse Mortgages (4)

Get a Mortgage
If you're considering a home purchase in the near future - or within a few years - you should brush up on your mortgage knowledge. Learn what to do before applying for a mortgage, what to watch for during the process, and how to use a mortgage after you've bought your home.

How First Time Home Buyer Loans Work
Special programs may make it easier to afford your first home. Are they always the best deal? First time home buyer loans have advantages and disadvantages. Compare them against traditional loans and then decide what to do.

Private Mortgage - How to do a Private Mortgage
With a private mortgage, you dont borrow from a bank. Instead, you borrow from another person or business. Whether its your only option, or one of many, you should understand how a private mortgage works. Find out what it takes to successfully use a private mortgage.

Mortgage Loan Calculators
Mortgage loan calculators help you understand your loan. This page covers several mortgage loan calculators for different types of mortgages, and different pieces of your mortgage. By running the numbers yourself, you can understand what youre getting into. Use these mortgage loan calculators to educate yourself, save time, and get the best...

High Risk Mortgages
A quick overview of mortgages that have caused problems for borrowers. You'll find a description of each one along with links to more detailed resources. Make sure you know what you're getting into if you use one of these loans.

APR Pitfalls - Getting the Wrong Mortgage by Comparing APR
A smart borrower will shop the market. As you compare loans, you may use the annual percentage rate (APR) as a yardstick. However, APR can lead you astray. This page discusses the pitfalls of using APR to compare loans.

Interest Only Loans
A quick overview of how interest only loans work. Discussion of the advantages and disadvantages of interest only loans, and resources for calculating payments on these loans.

Second Mortgages - Advantages and Disadvantages
When you need money, sometimes a second mortgage is the answer. Second mortgages serve a variety of purposes, and are described with various names. This page is a basic overview of second mortgages, how they are used, and disadvantages of second mortgages.

Mortgage Calculator With Amortization Table
The mortgage calculator is intended to help you figure out how much your mortgage payments might be. In addition, you'll get an idea of how much interest you pay over the years.

FHA Home Loan Pitfalls
FHA home loans are not perfect for all borrowers. Of course, they make home ownership a reality for a number of buyers. In fact, theyre the perfect choice for buyers with a certain profile who might otherwise be forced to rely on predatory lenders. However, FHA home loans have some drawbacks that you just need to be aware of.

Option ARM Loans
Option ARM loans are mortgages that give a borrower a choice on how much a given payment is. While their flexibility makes them appear attractive, option ARM loans can be quite dangerous. This page offers an overview of option ARMs.

Low Documentation Loans
Low documentation loans allow you to borrow without proving that you have the income or assets to repay the loan. There are a variety of reasons to use a low documentation loan, and there are several options available. This page tells you how low documentation loans work.

Fixed Rate Mortgages
Fixed rate mortgages allow a borrower to know in advance what all future payments will be. The rate on a fixed rate mortgage should be competitive, and depends on what general interest rates are at the time. To learn all the details, including how to get the best fixed rate mortgage, read this article.

Quick Tips for a Successful 2nd Mortgage
2nd mortgages can be tempting because you can get a large amount of money. However, there are some common pitfalls you should keep an eye out for. Take a quick glance over these 2nd mortgage quick-tips. Youll be in a better position to negotiate the best 2nd mortgage.

Excel Mortgage Calculation Tips
If you really want to analyze the nuts and bolts of a loan, you can use a spreadsheet such as Microsoft Excel. If you're an Excel whiz, you can set up a spreadsheet that allows you to change the inputs and calculate mortgage payments under several "what-if" scenarios. Your Excel mortgage model will show how your loan amortizes over time.

Adjustable Rate Mortgages
Adjustable rate mortgages (ARMs) are home loans with a rate that varies. As interest rates rise and fall in general, rates on adjustable rate mortgages follow. These can be useful loans for getting into a home, but they are also risky. This page covers the basics of adjustable rate mortgages.

Points - Discount Points And Your Mortgage
Points are dollars you pay as a percentage of your loan. A common use for points is to secure a lower interest rate on your loan. We'll cover how points work and highlight some ways to calculate whether points are worth the expense.

FHA Loan Basics
The Federal Housing Administration (FHA) runs several programs to promote home ownership. In most cases, FHA loans are mortgages obtained with the help of the FHA. With a small down payment, buyers can purchase a home. FHA loans make it easier for people to qualify for a mortgage, but theyre not for everybody.

Calculate Mortgage
Some people want to know how to calculate mortgage payments. You dont really need to do the work, but if youre curious you can certainly do so. To calculate mortgage payments, you need to know a few details about the loan. Lets go through the steps and tools you can use to calculate mortgage payments.

Home Equity Loan Tax Deduction
One nice feature of home equity loans is that borrowers may get a tax deduction on interest paid for the loan. Before you fall for a marketing campaign, you should understand that the tax deduction is not unlimited. This page explains how the tax deduction really works.

Interest Only Mortgage Calculator
The interest only mortgage calculator helps you figure out what a monthly payment might be on an interest only mortgage loan. You simply enter the principal amount and interest rate. The interest only mortgage calculator is intended to help you make smart decisions about your home loan.

Negative Amortization Loans
A negative amortization loan is a type of loan that doesn’t reduce your balance. In other words, you're not paying back any principal. In fact, with a negative amortization loan your loan balance increases over time.

Podcast Profile - Beyond the Rate Podcast
A series of informative discussions about mortgages.

HELOC - Definition of HELOC
A HELOC is a Home Equity Line of Credit. The abbreviation is pronounced "he-lock". This page covers the basics of HELOCs and what you need to know about using a HELOC.

Mortgage Refi Basics
Mortgage refi refers to a transaction where you refinance your mortgage. With a mortgage refi, you get rid of an old loan and replace it with a new one. Mortgage refis can help you save money, but they have costs and risks. Let’s review the basics of mortgage refi transactions.

40 Year Mortgages
40 year mortgages are loans scheduled to be paid off over 40 years. They are popular with borrowers who want a low monthly payment. Of course, most people don’t keep a mortgage for 40 years, so 40 year mortgages are just used as a cash flow tool. Let’s get into detail about how 40 year mortgages work and whether or not they’re right for you.

50 Year Mortgages
50 year mortgages are loans scheduled to be paid off over 50 years. Because the loan term is so long, monthly payments are very low relative to other loans. 50 year mortgages are just used as a cash flow tool and are almost never paid off over 50 years. Let’s get into detail about how 50 year mortgages work and whether or not they’re right for you.

Homebuying at About.com
About.com has an extensive resource available to homebuyers. Whether you're a first-time homebuyer or a seasoned veteran you'll find some excellent tips here.

Payoff Letter Basics
A payoff letter is a document describing how you can pay off your home loan. As you prepare to pay off the loan, you should request an official payoff letter to avoid any confusion. Let’s review what payoff letters are and why they’re important.

How Mortgages Work
An in-depth explanation of how mortgages work. Includes details about various types of mortgages.

Genworth's HomeNow
Genworth Financial has some in-depth resources that will help you calculate your borrowing power and payments. You'll also find out what the mortgage process is all about. This site requires free registration, and it contains a wealth of resources.

Can you Transfer a Mortgage?
Can you transfer a mortgage? There may come a time when you want to stop making payments, and you're lucky enough to have somebody willing to take your place. It may be ideal to transfer the mortgage into their name. However, it can be difficult or impossible to transfer mortgages.

Interest Only Period
An interest only period is a period of time during which you’ll only pay interest on a loan. You do not repay any of the original loan balance (or principal), so you owe the same amount of money at the beginning of an interest only period as you do at the end.

What is Home Equity?
Home equity is your share of the value of your home. Its what you truly "own" and have an interest in. When calculating your net worth and getting a loan, home equity is important to understand. Its not always easy to use home equity, but its an asset.

Build Equity
What does it mean to build equity? Conventional wisdom says that you should build equity, and that one of the benefits of home ownership is the ability to build equity. Learn how the process works.

Recast a Mortgage
When you get a home loan, you usually pay it off with a fixed monthly payment. Those payments don't change unless you recast your mortgage. When your mortgage is recast, your lender calculates a new amortization schedule based on a new, lower loan balance.

Why is my Mortgage Payment Still so High?
Question: I recently inherited money and paid off a large portion of my mortgage. I expected to see my monthly payments go down, but they havent. Why not?

What's the Mortgage Payment Formula?
Question: I want to figure out how my mortgage works. What is the formula for mortgage payments? Answer: If you want to run the numbers yourself, you can use a mortgage payment formula to calculate monthly payments. That formula is available here (along with other formulas you’ll need to pick your loan apart). However, it’s usually easier to...

Remove a Name from a Mortgage?
What can be done when you need to get a name removed from a mortgage? It's not easy. Find out why, and what you can do instead.

No Money Down Loans - Why You Cant Get One
Should you buy a home with no money down? Even if you're able to do so you should think about the tradeoffs.

Learn About Lender Paid Mortgage Insurance (LPMI)
Find out how lender paid mortgage insurance (LPMI) works.

Rent to Own vs. Seller Financing
Seller financing is not the same as a rent-to-own program. Learn about the important differences.

Refinancing - Breakeven and More
How do you know if you should refinance? Start with a breakeven calculation, and then look deeper.

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