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January 23rd, 2011 (Modified on January 24th, 2011)

Weekly Recap (01/17/11-01/22/11)



Calender1 Saturday

Preparing to buy: Do’s and don’ts for your home purchase

Even though we’re still a few months away from the busiest homebuying season of the year, if you’re thinking about buying a home in 2011, it’s time to start preparing a list of do’s and don’ts.

Do: Check Your Credit

Many credit reports contain erroneous data. If one exists, it can lower your credit score and cost you thousands of dollars, or even keep you from getting a loan. Check out Fannie Mae’s Loan Level Pricing Adjustment matrix. A mortgage with a 679 FICO score can cost a full point more than the same loan with a 680 score. That’s an extra $3,000 for a $300,000 loan. You can get your credit report for free from www.annualcreditreport.com, and pay the nominal fee to get your credit score as well. Your score will give you a better idea of how mortgage lenders will evaluate you, and you may be able to correct errors and raise your score a few points before applying for your home loan…


How do you know if a reverse mortgage is right for your parents?

Jane Blume’s story is one many middle-aged Americans can relate to: Her aging parent was beginning to run out of money. The money her mother spent her whole life saving was quickly dwindling. When Social Security was no longer enough to help Blume’s mother cover her bills, maintain her home and pay for her every-day expenses, she suggested her mom apply for a reverse mortgage.

“Older Americans born in the pre-war era have a stigma about reverse mortgages,” says Eric Declercq, national retail leader for reverse mortgages at MetLife. “They [don’t] want to strip their equity”…


Interesting trends in the December home sales numbers

It’s safe to say that the optimism surrounding a significant improvement in home sales in 2011 is still muted. We’re hoping to see improving trends, but are holding our breath in terms of a large audience returning to the market at a time when the job market is still unstable and credit conditions remain stringent.

December’s existing-home sales numbers were another indication of an improving trend, but yet another reminder that home sales still have a lot of recovering to do. December’s existing-sales saw a sizeable 12.3 percent increase from November, but still remain nearly three percent below December 2009 levels. The National Association of Realtors Chief Economist Lawrence Yun said he expects December’s figures to be indicative of what we can expect throughout 2011…


Canada takes further steps to avoid U.S. housing crisis

Even though Canadian officials say they see no signs of a housing bubble forming, they still decided to take steps to “cool” the housing market:

Canada moved on Monday to tighten its mortgage rules for the second time in less than a year, citing the need to prevent the kind of housing market problems that led other countries into financial crisis.

The new rules, designed to ensure Canadians don’t take on more debt than they can handle, took aim at mortgage amortization, refinancing and the use of lines of credit secured by homes…


More support for our Value Gap Refinance plan

It has been a while since we last mentioned our Value Gap Refinance plan here on the blog — it was September 2010 to be exact. Yet, Eugene Ludwig, founder and the chief executive of Promontory Financial Group LLC, recently wrote an article in National Mortgage News about his plan to end foreclosures which reminded us a lot of our plan.

While Ludwig didn’t mention HSH.com’s plan specifically, he outlined an idea that was extremely similar to ours. On January 10, 2011 Ludwig wrote…


Another subtle decline in mortgage rates last week

The end of 2010 brought us an increase in mortgage rates. So far, the first couple weeks of 2011 have brought declining mortgage rates. This is certainly good news for those who made a New Year’s resolution to buy a home or refinance their current mortgage:

An improving economy largely fostered that rise, but year-end investor positioning likely played a role as well. Now that we’ve passed the holiday and vacation season, there seems to be a growing realization that a mild recovery is the most likely to occur, even if it features a slightly faster rate of growth…

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About the HSH Blog

HSH.com's daily blog focuses on the latest developments in the mortgage and housing markets. Our mission is to relate how changes in mortgage rates and housing policy, as well as the latest financial news, impacts consumers, homebuyers and industry insiders alike. Our 30-plus years of experience in the mortgage industry gives us an edge as we break down the latest changes in an ever-changing market.

Our bloggers:

Tim Manni

Tim Manni is the Managing Editor of HSH.com and the author of their daily blog, which concentrates on the latest developments in the mortgage and housing markets.

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