Posts Covering Essential Mortgage Miscellany
May 7, 2014
Are you the "spreadsheet type"? Make your own mortgage calculator in Microsoft Excel, Mac Numbers and/or Google Docs. Here are your built-in formulas. Just add mortgage rates.
December 31, 2012
There were lots of mortgage charts in 2012, covering rates, costs, and new programs. Here are some of the best.
November 25, 2012
Has your home value dropped but not your real estate tax bill? File an appeal. More than 50% homeowners win. Here's how to do it.
January 4, 2012
I made a lot of mortgage charts in 2011, covering rates, costs, and new programs. Here is a collection of the best of them.
January 3, 2012
We can't predict the mortgage market's future, but we can have opinions. Here are some of them.
May 25, 2011
Independent banks have stopped tightening the mortgage money spigot. The shift is good news for home buyers and anyone else who's watched underwriting standards get tough since last decade.
May 9, 2011
Let's look at what it means to "escrow" your taxes, how it hits your settlement statement's bottom-line, and how you can waive escrows on your loan without paying big fees.
April 24, 2009
The settlement statement Prepaid Items section confuses people. A "prepaid item" is exactly what its name implies -- a payment related to the mortgage, collected before the payment's actual due date.
December 15, 2008
The Witching Hour: In November, the 3:00 P.M. hour generated 26 percent of the total S&P 500 volume for the month; the last 30 minutes accounted for 17 percent. Markets are closing out the day in spastic fashion and mortgage rate shoppers often pay the price. When markets move towards...
October 17, 2008
Historically, mortgage markets are boring place for everyday Americans. I know this because every day I write the blog. Over the past few weeks, however, it's been anything but boring. There's been so much news that keeping up with it all has been a challenge. To help you sort through...
August 11, 2008
Like a fine movie with endless details, mortgage markets were dense last week and in need of a second (and third) look. Here's that extra look, in Brain Dump format. Follow me: Come to Twitter and get my mortgage market updates, wriitten several times daily. If you followed me, you'd...
May 16, 2008
There's a scene in Awakenings when Dr. Sayer theorizes about Leonard's condition. He wonders if the trance-like paralysis is the result of an extreme tremor: If compulsions in the patient were somehow accelerated --- the hands, the shaking, the tics, the head bobbing, the quickening speech -- might they not...
March 4, 2008
Smart people sometimes feel less-then-smart when reviewing a mortgage settlement statement for the first time. It's not that the math is tough -- it's the lack of understanding about what you're looking at and what it all means. Mortgage Math isn't taught in school, after all. As a result, the...
January 18, 2008
A stick-figure explanation of how mortgage guidelines expanded from 2002-2005, then subsequently contracted, triggering mass defaults nationwide. Plus, a look ahead to 2009 and next decade.
October 23, 2007
First, a definition: (Home Equity) = (Value of Home) - (Amount Owed On Home) There are two ways that equity is created: The homeowner pays down the principal balance on the mortgage. The home's value increases because of appreciation But just because both methods increase the equity position in a...
August 21, 2007
The screenshot above is from Countrywide's Web site, taken a few minutes ago. Without context, it seems like a regular advertisement. Get a 12-month CD issued by Countrywide and backed by FDIC. Earn 5.65 percent. Sounds like a good deal. But, out of context, the ad does us no good....
May 3, 2007
Quick note to residents of non-Cook County residents in Chicagoland: your next tax bill is due June 1. The upcoming payment takes on added significance if you're in the middle of a refinance and you are planning to escrow, though. Heads up! Your cash required for closing may be significantly...
2015 Conforming & FHA Loan Limits
Mortgage loan limits for every U.S. county,
as published by Fannie Mae & Freddie Mac, and the FHA.