Save Money in this Sunday's paper

Thanks to a policy switch made final last week, charging extra interest payments on loans insured by the Federal Housing Administration will soon be banned.

What nobody mentioned about the score, dubbed FICO Score 9, is that most homebuyers aren’t likely to see any direct benefit from it anytime soon, very possibly not for years.

Are mortgage lenders finally loosening up a little on their credit score requirements – opening the door to larger numbers of home purchasers this summer and fall? It depends on what type of loan you’re seeking.

To make a house more attractive to buyers as a financial proposition, sellers can offer to lower buyers’ long-term monthly mortgage expenses. The sellers achieve this by paying money upfront to the buyers’ lender in order to reduce the interest rate.

What keeps home buyers from qualifying for a mortgage? Tops on the list is their debt-to-income ratio, followed by their recent credit applications and their credit score.

Homebuyers, sellers, small investors and realty agents are about to get new tools that purport to show where local property values are headed: the first “house specific” monitors for consumers that can track price trends – and forecast them up to one year into the future – on 50 million single-family homes across the country.

It doesn’t get much publicity compared with other home mortgage issues, but it appears to be a persistent problem: Lenders and mortgage insurers allegedly delay or deny applications when a borrower is pregnant or heading for maternity leave.

With equity surging again, cash-out refinancings are coming back into vogue – this time under much tighter controls by lenders and used for saner purposes by borrowers than they were last decade.

It’s common knowledge verging on holy writ in real estate: Spring is the absolute best time of the year to sell a house.

You may have seen reports about a major tax reform proposal floated recently by Rep. Dave Camp of Michigan, the chairman of the House Ways and Means Committee.

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Kenneth Harney
Kenneth Harney, who lives in Washington, D.C., writes an award-winning column on housing and real estate.
CharlotteObserver.com