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5 Home Loan Scams to Spot and Avoid

A voice on the radio booms: “Are you facing foreclosure? We can save you thousands or even hundreds of thousands of dollars on your mortgage! Call now!” But should you? In reality, these companies could be out to take your money or even your home. Home loan scams are an ugly fact of life, but …

What Is a Homestead Exemption? Protecting the Value of Your Home

alexsl/iStock Owning a home is likely your biggest asset, but also your biggest expense. Between the mortgage, insurance, unexpected repairs like roof damage, property taxes, and possibly homeowners association fees, your home can take a big chunk out of your wallet. But fortunately, a homestead exemption can provide a degree of relief from those property …

Where to Get a Mortgage: Bank, Broker, or Online?

cnythzl/iStock Wondering where to get a mortgage? More than three-quarters of home-buying consumers need a loan to purchase property. As borrowers, we know that shopping around is the key to getting the best deal on most items. Plenty of us, however, somehow miss that message when it comes to mortgages. According to a report last year …

Are Online Mortgage Lenders the Best Way to Buy a Home? A Reality Check

cnythzl/iStock Online mortgage lenders such as LendingTree and Quicken Loan’s Rocket Mortgage allow home buyers to complete the entire mortgage application on their laptop or phone, rather than heading to a bank to submit all that paperwork in person. Online mortgages are growing in popularity, particularly for younger home buyers: One recent survey by NerdWallet found that a full …

The Best Time to Refinance

When mortgage broker Mathew Carson saw interest rates fall unexpectedly in January, he picked up the phone and called every home buyer he had worked with since the summer. “My refinance business is 50% better than this time last year,” says Mr. Carson, of San Francisco, Calif.-based First Capital Group. In a winter surprise, average …

Self-Employed Workers Face Mortgage Hurdles

Chris Gash/Wall Street Journal Being your own boss allows for innovation and independence. But the self-employed also face difficulties when applying for a mortgage. The biggest hurdle, experts say, is demonstrating they meet the lender’s income requirements. Self-employed workers don’t receive a W-2 form, the document that shows annual wages and withholding amounts. Instead, lenders …

Moving In Together: Financial Advice From a Dad

My daughter Hannah is planning to move in with her boyfriend. It is time to offer some unwanted fatherly advice. On Valentine’s Day, nobody wants to hear that relationships don’t always work out and that money is perhaps the biggest cause of tension among couples. They especially don’t want to hear it from their twice-married …