Will low-rate mortgages lock-in homeowners?

By Marcie Geffner - Bankrate.com

Suppose your mortgage has a low interest rate--lower than you expect to see ever again. Would you stay put, no matter what, just to keep that low rate? Or would you be willing to sell your home and buy another with a new mortgage at a higher rate?

The question might seem highly personal. But in fact, what's known as mortgage lock-in is on a lot of people's minds because it could have important implications for home sellers and buyers, as well as owners.

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Why we got a reverse mortgage

By Marcie Geffner - Bankrate.com

Mike Ryan was so skeptical of reverse mortgages that he thought for two years about getting one before he finally did it. The idea of taking equity out of his house, tax-free and with no monthly payments, was appealing. But still, he wasn't sure.

Then Beth Paterson, executive vice president at Reverse Mortgages SIDAC, a division of Greenleaf Financial, in St. Paul, Minnesota, told Ryan he could sell his current home and use a reverse mortgage to buy a new home.

With that in mind, he was sold.

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The roof over your new home

By Marcie Geffner - NewHomeSource.com

Most buyers don’t ask many questions about the roof that will be over their heads when they move into their newly built home.

That’s probably not a problem because the roofs on today’s production or tract homes are fairly standard, says Tom Bollnow, senior director of technical services at the National Roofing Contractors Association, a trade organization in Chicago.

Still, buyers should know the basics and be aware of their options if they want to upgrade their roof or purchase a custom-built house.

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Thanksgiving for home buyers

By Marcie Geffner - HSH.com

Home buyers have a lot to be thankful for this holiday season. Interest rates remain low. The Federal Reserve hasn't dumped its portfolio of mortgage-backed securities. The U.S. economy has strengthened, jobs are more plentiful, and home prices have stabilized.

Add it all up and one clear conclusion is that home buyers "basically aren't getting as hosed as they were before," says Nela Richardson, chief economist at Redfin, a real estate brokerage in Seattle.

Here are five things home buyers should be thankful for this Thanksgiving:

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Buy brand-new home with small downpayment

By Marcie Geffner - NewHomeSource.com

Think you need a 20 percent down payment to buy a home? Think again.

Many people believe they need a 20 percent down payment to buy a home.

But, it’s possible to purchase even a brand-new house with as little as 3.5 percent down — or even nothing down at all.

A June 2014 survey of 2,017 U.S. adults, conducted online for Wells Fargo, found that 44 percent held the mistaken belief that a 20 percent down payment was required to buy a home, even though many types of loans allow much smaller down payments, says Ron Sozio, divisional builder sales manager at Wells Fargo in Somerville, N.J.

“The reality is that most of the time you don’t need 20 percent,” Sozio says.

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Should you tell your adult children about your reverse mortgage?

By Marcie Geffner - Bankrate.com
Senior homeowners who want to get a reverse mortgage might wonder whether they should discuss their plan with their adult children.
The answer: maybe.
"I wish I could give you one best practice that's optimal for every family, but it's more complex than that," says Joseph Goetz, an associate professor for the department of financial planning, housing and consumer economics at the University of Georgia and a board member of the Financial Therapy Association.
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