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How a Mortgage Broker Helps You Find a Home Loan

AndreyPopov/iStock/Thinkstock Home buyers and refinancing homeowners have multiple ways of borrowing money to finance their home. They can go to a big bank, a community bank, a credit union, an online lender or a direct lender that only offers mortgage loans. Another option is to consult a mortgage broker. While mortgage brokers used to dominate the …

Tipping Etiquette in the Time of Coronavirus: How Much Is Enough?

agrobacter/Getty Images Delivery workers at restaurants, grocery stores, and other essential businesses provide a lifeline to homebound shoppers while the highly infectious and deadly coronavirus circulates, so you might be wondering: When do I need to leave a tip? And how much gratuity is enough? From curbside pickup to alcohol delivery, there are many services …

8 Earnest-Money Deposit Mistakes Home Buyers Live to Regret

ericsphotography/iStock Once home buyers find a home they love, they declare their commitment to the seller with a sizable chunk of change known as an earnest money deposit. Yes, it sounds so sincere and serious because it is—and if you get it wrong, you could lose thousands of dollars. To scare you straight, here are eight …

What Is a Balloon Mortgage? Pretty Great … Until It Goes Bust

Maxiphoto/iStock Everyone loves balloons, right? So whoever came up with the term “balloon mortgage” was a marketing genius (now, all you need is a clown to hand these loans out and they’d sell like hotcakes). Still, though, what exactly is a balloon mortgage? Simply put, a balloon mortgage is so called because the monthly mortgage payments start …

5 Questions to Ask Before You Refinance Your Mortgage

Homeowners typically refinance their mortgages to save money, but it doesn’t always work out that way. If you’re not sure that you’re getting the best deal, that your home will appraise highly, or if you’ll even qualify, you may end up wasting time and money. Ask yourself these questions before you consider refinancing: Will you …

Buying Your First Home? 10 Financial Mistakes Not to Make

Buying your first home is exciting. It’s an adventure. It also takes a whole lot of preparation. Buying your first home with a mortgage Most people need financial help when they’re buying their first home. Before you apply for that mortgage, you’ll want to make sure you’ve got your financial house in order. Even if …

5 Things Your Mortgage Broker Wishes You Knew

AlexRaths/iStock The financial side of home buying can sometimes feel like a nightmare in which you’re stuck in a calculus final that never ends—and you’ve forgotten the meaning of everything. PITI (or principal, interest, taxes, insurance)? Prepayment penalties? Contingencies? “Confusing” is an understatement. We’re the first to admit that looking for a house is lots of fun—but paying …

FAQs About What the Fed’s Move Means for Home Buyers, Sellers

SAUL LOEB/AFP/Getty Images Oh, those sly dogs at the Federal Reserve Board. We started 2015 assuring you that they’d raise the short-term interest rate (which indirectly affects consumer interest rates) this year, and we thought earlier rather than later. But after faking us out several times, inspiring lots of breathless commentary in the financial press, …

How Much Mortgage Can I Afford?

iStock Of all the questions you may have when buying a home, one of the biggest that may stump you is this: How much mortgage can I afford? After all, the amount of money you can borrow could spell the difference between snagging your dream home or being priced out of your favorite neighborhood entirely. …