HECMs require financial assessment

By Marcie Geffner - HSH.com

Until recently, homeowners who were at least 62 years old could tap the equity in their home through a reverse mortgage with little, if any, consideration of their personal financial situation.

But no more.

New federal-government guidelines now require an assessment of each prospective borrower's income, assets and debts, explains Eric Meehan, owner of Golden Opportunity Mortgage in San Diego.

"No longer is it just age, equity and the value of the home and based on life expectancy," Meehan says. "On top of that, they take a look at your monthly income and assets versus your revolving debt. They want to know your monthly payments, taxes, insurance, credit cards - any other monthly debt that you pay."

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Show your kid smart money habits

By Marcie Geffner - Bankrate.com

It's a common complaint of parents that their young adult children aren't financially responsible. And there might be some truth to that grumbling. If your kids haven't stepped up, what can you do about it?

"The best thing a parent can do is teach (his or her) kids to be financially independent," says Bob Morrison, founder of Downing Street Wealth Management in Littleton, Colorado. "If you're into subsidizing their lifestyle, that's bad for both parties."

That doesn't mean you can't give your kids money. You can. But there's a world of difference between "once in a while," which is "more a gift," and paying for your child's apartment, insurance, cellphone, vacation or other expenses every month, Morrison says.

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Lower Rates Could Mean Fewer Home Sales

By Marcie Geffner - LendingTree.com

Rising interest rates strike fear and dismay into the hearts of home buyers, sellers, and real estate professionals—and with good reason because when rates rise, home sales tend to decline.

It’s a common misperception that rising mortgage rates cause house prices to drop, but in fact, historical trends show a positive correlation only between rates and sales, not rates and prices.

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6 Ways To Wreck Your Financial Future

By Marcie Geffner - LendingTree.com

Twenty-somethings can afford to make big mistakes in their finances since they have decades to recover and move forward to financial success.

Or at least that has been the conventional wisdom for many years.

But rather than destroy your financial future just because you can, why not avoid known mistakes from the outset? After all, someone older than you already took the risks, made the mistakes, and paid for it.

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Paying Rent On Time Probably Won't Help Credit Score

By Marcie Geffner - LendingTree.com

Savvy consumers know paying their monthly bills on time is one of the best ways to boost their credit score.

But often, there’s one glaring exception: rent.

In most cases, paying rent for an apartment or house doesn’t affect your credit score.

That’s because most apartment owners, landlords, and management companies don’t report rent payments to the three major U.S. credit bureaus, which track consumers’ credit habits and collect the data that’s used to generate credit scores. The three bureaus are TransUnion, Experian, and Equifax.

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5 Smart Ways To Get a House Downpayment

By Marcie Geffner - LendingTree.com

It’s a common misconception that buyers need to save up a lot of money to purchase a home. In fact, it’s possible to buy a home with a very modest sum for a down payment and closing costs.

The down payment is often the most daunting aspect of the process for first-time home buyers. Repeat buyers usually are less concerned about putting money down because they can use the equity they have in their current home to buy their next home.

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Understanding New Home Builder Closing Cost Incentives

By Marcie Geffner - NewHomeSource.com

Closing costs are a mystery to many home buyers, who understandably might not know how much they’ll pay, why they’ll pay that amount and what it’s really for when they buy a home.

A 2015 survey by ClosingCorp, a real estate closing data company, found that more than one-third of people who planned to buy a home were either not very or not at all aware of closing costs.

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Demystifying loan qualification

By Marcie Geffner - LendingTree.com

Lenders consider a number of factors to determine whether a borrower is qualified for a home mortgage.

These factors include:
- Assets
- Credit score
- Debt-to-income ratio
- Documentation

Assets include checking and savings accounts, investment accounts, retirement plans and other sources of funds borrowers can use to make a down payment and pay closing costs.

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Buying a Home: Ready, Set, Move

By Marcie Geffner - LendingTree.com

Lots of people dream about buying a home at some time during their lives. Maybe they're newlyweds or just starting a family. Perhaps they just want to trade renting for a larger or nicer home that they can remodel and re-decorate any way they please.
Whatever the reason, prospective home buyers need to prepare themselves financially and emotionally for the process of finding, choosing and purchasing a home of their own.
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