Posts Covering Essential Mortgage Miscellany

Make Your Own Mortgage Calculator Using These Popular Formulas

Make your own mortgage calculator for use with Microsoft Excel, Mac Numbers, or Google Docs using these built-in formulas, plus today's live mortgage rates.

HARP, FHA, VA, And More : 20 Mortgage Charts From 2012

There were lots of mortgage charts in 2012, covering rates, costs, and new programs. Here are some of the best.

Appeal Your Real Estate Tax Bill : 50% Of Homeowners Win Lower Rates

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.

The 18 Best Mortgage Market Charts From 2011

I made a lot of mortgage charts in 2011, covering rates, costs, and new programs. Here is a collection of the best of them.

Mortgage Predictions For 2012 From Around The Web

We can't predict the mortgage market's future, but we can have opinions. Here are some of them.

“Big Banks” Begin To Open Mortgage Money Spigots

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.

Tax Escrow Reserve Chart For Home Purchases In Hamilton, Warren, Butler And Clermont County

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.

I’m Looking At My HUD-1 Settlement Statement: What Is A Closing Cost and What Is A Prepaid Item?

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.

Mortgage Market Brain Dump : 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...

The Mortgage Blog Post That Will Start Your Day Right

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...

The Mortgage Market Brain Dump (August 11, 2008 Edition)

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...

The Mortgage Market Brain Dump

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...

How To Distinguish “Prepaid Items” From “Closing Costs” When Reviewing A HUD-1 Settlement Statement

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...

Stick-Figure Explanations : How Mortgage Guidelines Sparked The Foreclosure Boom

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.

Defining Home Equity And How It’s Created

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...

Professor J. Randall Woolridge Warned Me About This In Penn State Finance Classes

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....

It’s May So Non-Cook County Residents May Need To Bring A LOT Of Money To The Closing Table

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, & VA Loan Limits

Mortgage loan limits for every U.S. county, as published by Fannie Mae & Freddie Mac, the Federal Housing Administration (FHA), and the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA)