The Best Mortgage Rate Blog

The Best Mortgage Rate Blog by Ask Kate

In retrospect, my Best Mortgage Rate Blog could have been titled A Homeowner's Survival Guide to the Intimidating Mortgage Process!

Besides delivering an unparalleled source of current trends in interest rates as well as national mortgage news, it will lead you through the daunting process of financing your home. Enjoy!

Aug 11, 2016

Kate's Mortgage Rate Report August 11: Rates Bouncing Like a Ping Pong Ball

Kate's mortgage rate report for the week ending August 11, 2016: Rates Bouncing Like a Ping Pong Ball
Mortgage interest rates have been bouncing like a ping pong ball: After last Friday's strong job report began pushing up mortgage rates, the market is now hinting at a reversal, with the 30-year hovering around 3.39 percent for well-qualified borrowers.

See the following weekly nationwide averages reported by Freddie Mac's lender rate survey. Keep in mind that higher interest rates from earlier this week are factored into these averages:

30 year fixed mortgage rates... averaged 3.45 percent costing .5 in points, UP from 3.43 percent last week. Compare to 3.94 percent this time last year.

15 year fixed mortgage rates... averaged 2.76 percent costing .5 in points, UP from 2.74 percent last week. Compare to 3.17 percent this time last year.

5 year fixed/25 year adjustable mortgage rates... averaged 2.74 percent costing .5 in points, UP from 2.73 percent last week. Compare to 2.93 percent this time last year.

You know you're a good risk, responsible, and dedicated to making your house payments. But how do you convince the bank's underwriter to grant you final mortgage approval? Meet four borrowers in the throes of refinancing their homes at How to Solve Glitches When Refinancing Your Mortgage.

Aug 11, 2016

Ask Kate how to avoid unauthorized mortgage rate extension fees

Ask Kate how to avoid unauthorized mortgage rate extension fees
Ask Kate how to avoid unauthorized mortgage rate extension fees:

After locking in her rate, the bank sent a Texan homeowner, Laura,  notification of several thousand in fees that she must pay in order to get her original low locked-in rate.

Why more fees you ask? To cover the bank's hedging. To which I respond, SAY WHAT?

See my answer at... Unapproved Mortgage Rate Lock Extension Fees by Laura from Texas.

Aug 04, 2016

Kate's Mortgage Rate Report August 4: Non-Committal Rates

Kate's mortgage rate report for the week ending August 4, 2016: Non-committal Interest Rates
Kate's mortgage rate report for the week ending August 4, 2016: An interesting (read: boring) week with a quiet bond market led to little movement in mortgage rates.

But could this merely be the quiet before tomorrow's employment report (read: possible storm)? No one knows for sure so consult your loan pro if you are floating your rate. Loan originators can explain the risks and benefits of locking per your individual loan qualifications. There's no one-size-fits-all when it comes to locking in your interest rate.

See the following weekly nationwide averages reported by Freddie Mac's lender rate survey:

30 year fixed mortgage rates... averaged 3.43 percent costing .5 in points, DOWN from 3.48 percent last week. Compare to 3.91 percent this time last year.

15 year fixed mortgage rates... averaged 2.74 percent costing .5 in points, DOWN from 2.78 percent last week. Compare to 3.13 percent this time last year.

5 year fixed/25 year adjustable mortgage rates... averaged 2.73 percent costing .5 in points, DOWN from 2.78 percent last week. Compare to 2.94 percent this time last year.

Suzanne is preparing to buy a home. Before she starts her mortgage pre-approval, she is paying off collections. See how this can be a mixed bag at Improve Your Credit Scores with Lasting Results.

Aug 03, 2016

Poof! Balloon Payment in Mortgage Pay-Off Vanishes

Poof! Balloon Payment in Mortgage Pay-Off Vanishes
Poof! Balloon Payment in Mortgage Pay-Off Vanishes: Fred repeatedly asked his lender for a mortgage pay-off that includes the balloon payment. To which his lender responded, There isn't one. Seems too good to be true. How can Fred verify his actual pay-off?

Jane was told by the bank that her credit will not be affected by her husband's loan modification, even though she was required to sign his paperwork. Is this true?

Private from Middlesex County, Ma is trying to refinance a home with 75 percent equity and a 575 credit score. I offer possible alternatives.

See my answer at... Poof! Balloon Payment in Mortgage Pay-Off Vanishes.

Jul 28, 2016

Kate's Mortgage Rate Report July 28: Smiley Rates

Kate's mortgage rate report for the week ending July 28, 2016: Interest Rates Still Smiling on Borrowers
Kate's mortgage rate report for the week ending July 28, 2016 - Interest rates still smiling on borrowers: During Wednesday's July policy meeting, the Feds did not raise their overnight rate. Neither did they signal that they intend to raise the rate at their next meeting.

Although the bond market responded with a smiley face, rates increased slightly with the 30 year fixed as low as 3.45 percent for well qualified borrowers. But all-in-all, not too bad! See the following weekly nationwide averages reported by Freddie Mac's lender rate survey:

30 year fixed mortgage rates... averaged 3.48 percent costing .5 in points, UP from 3.45 percent last week. Compare to 3.98 percent this time last year.

15 year fixed mortgage rates... averaged 2.78 percent costing .5 in points, UP from 2.75 percent last week. Compare to 3.17 percent this time last year.

5 year fixed/25 year adjustable mortgage rates... averaged 2.78 percent costing .5 in points, SAME as last week. Compare to 2.95 percent this time last year.

Dom's lender did not issue a mortgage rate lock agreement. Although Dom got the rate he was verbally promised, he was surprised by a $1600 fee when he signed his final documents. He asks me if it's too late to confront the lender since his transaction has already closed. Verbal Mortgage Rate Lock Agreements Are Worthless.

Jul 27, 2016

Mortgage Broker Threatens Home Buyer with Massive Loan Cancellation Fee

Mortgage Broker Threatens Home Buyer with Massive Loan Cancellation Fees
Ask Kate about mortgage broker who threatens home buyer with massive loan cancellation fee: Sean's loan originator ignored 7 requests to lock in his interest rate.

Then after locking at a higher-than-agreed-upon rate, the broker proceeded to charge Sean a $15,000 cancellation fee based on fine print in the loan documents. Sean is at his wits' end and asks for his recourse.

See my answer to Sean at... Mortgage Broker Threatens Home Buyer with Massive Loan Cancellation Fee.

Jul 21, 2016

Kate's Mortgage Rate Report July 21: Snap-Em-Up Rates

Kate's mortgage rate report for the week ending July 21, 2016: Today's Snap-Em-Up Interest Rates
Kate's mortgage rate report for the week ending July 21, 2016: Falling into the snap-em-up category, interest rates for the 30 year fixed are hovering somewhere around 3.5 percent - with no points - for well qualified borrowers.

Have they been lower? Yes. But have rates climbed higher? Yes! So for those borrowers who are gambling on lower rates, proceed cautiously (think: global politics) and stay in close proximity to your loan originator should the markets deteriorate with little notice.

See the following weekly nationwide averages reported by Freddie Mac's lender rate survey:

30 year fixed mortgage rates... averaged 3.45 percent costing .5 in points, UP from 3.42 percent last week. Compare to 4.04 percent this time last year.

15 year fixed mortgage rates... averaged 2.75 percent costing .5 in points, UP from 2.72 percent last week. Compare to 3.21 percent this time last year.

5 year fixed/25 year adjustable mortgage rates... averaged 2.78 percent costing .5 in points, UP from 2.76 percent last week. Compare to 2.97 percent this time last year.

Kristie asks if she should refinance to remove private mortgage insurance (PMI). She also asks about rate-and-term vs cash-out mortgage refinancing. Should I Refinance My Home to Get Rid of PMI.

Jul 20, 2016

Is HARP Refinance a Cash-Out Mortgage Program

Is HARP Refinance a Cash-Out Mortgage Program
Ask Kate if HARP refinance is a cash-out mortgage program: Sandra asks if she can refi with HARP to pay off $15,000 in credit card debt. But first, I have a concern over her loan-to-value ratio. Could she have too much equity for the HARP program?

Joe wonders which would be more beneficial: HARP refinance or another HAMP modification. Anthony asks about help for homeowners with 'regular' mortgages who are still having a hard time affording their homes.

See my answers at... Is HARP Refinance a Cash-Out Mortgage Program.

Jul 14, 2016

Kate's Mortgage Rate Report July 14: Rates a la Soap Opera

Kate's mortgage rate report for the week ending July 14, 2016: Rates a la Soap Opera
Kate's mortgage rate report for the week ending July 14, 2016 - Interest rates a la soap opera: Interest rates have been holding mostly steady, even in the face of last Friday's job status report which normally would have pushed up rates.

But Brexit (the UK exit - a la soap opera - from the European Union) has turned the norm upside down. Thus the week began with a 2-day spike, albeit moderate, followed by yesterday's lower rates.

Locking or floating remains the big question. Consult your mortgage originator if you haven't locked. See the following weekly nationwide averages reported by Freddie Mac's lender rate survey:

30 year fixed mortgage rates... averaged 3.42 percent costing .5 in points, UP from 3.41 percent last week. Compare to 4.09 percent this time last year.

15 year fixed mortgage rates... averaged 2.72 percent costing .5 in points, DOWN from 2.74 percent last week. Compare to 3.25 percent this time last year.

5 year fixed/25 year adjustable mortgage rates... averaged 2.76 percent costing .4 in points, UP from 2.68 percent last week. Compare to 2.96 percent this time last year.

Sherry from Rockwall, Texas is reconsidering her plan to wait for her mortgage insurance to drop off instead of refinancing. I offer her different ways to determine if a refi is worth the cost. What Is the Best Way to Refinance My Mortgage.

Jul 11, 2016

Jennifer Loses Approval on FHA Loan Modification and Partial Claim

FHA Loan Modification: Partial Claim Promissory Note
Ask Kate about the FHA loan modification program that includes a Partial Claim promissory note: Jennifer successfully completed her 3-month payment plan trial for a mortgage modification and was approved for a Partial Claim to bring her loan current.

But when attorneys, loan servicers, mortgage investors, FHA, and HUD suddenly couldn't see eye-to-eye on her final modification terms (which involved her ex-husband's signature on the Partial Claim), can you guess what happened?

See my answer to Jennifer at... FHA Loan Modification: Partial Claim Promissory Note.

Jul 07, 2016

Kate's Mortgage Rate Report July 7: LOW Mortgage Rates

Kate's mortgage rate report for the week ending July 7, 2016: LOW Mortgage Rates
Kate's mortgage rate report for the week ending July 7, 2016: For the last 8 days, Brexit has continued to be the driving force in LOW mortgage rates! So low that you might find a 30-year fixed around 3.25 percent.

But for how long? Your guess is as good as mine! Remember, Friday brings the all-important j-o-b growth report that has the potential to reverse the recent winning streak. So, if you're satisfied with the rate your lender is quoting today, you know my guarantee.

See the following weekly nationwide averages reported by Freddie Mac's lender rate survey. Keep in mind that today's interest rates may even be lower than these averages:

30 year fixed mortgage rates... averaged 3.41 percent costing .5 in points, DOWN from 3.48 percent last week. Compare to 4.04 percent this time last year.

15 year fixed mortgage rates... averaged 2.74 percent costing .4 in points, DOWN from 2.78 percent last week. Compare to 3.20 percent this time last year.

5 year fixed/25 year adjustable mortgage rates... averaged 2.68 percent costing .5 in points, DOWN from 2.70 percent last week. Compare to 2.93 percent this time last year.

Refinancing or buying a home? Know that lenders have hot buttons. Let's take a look at four of them because when it comes to mortgage approval, what you DON'T know could hurt you! Mortgage Loan Approval Process: 4 Common Hot Buttons.

Jul 06, 2016

Mortgage Loan Servicer Violates Code of Ethics

Mortgage Loan Servicer Violates Code of Ethics
Ask Kate how to get help when your mortgage loan servicer violates the code of ethics: Step into Pat's shoes. You suspect your mortgage balance has been inflated by $80,000.

Yet the loan servicer claims they are not responsible for the calculations. Where do you turn for help?

See my answer at... Mortgage Loan Servicer Violates Code of Ethics.

Jul 01, 2016

Kate's Mortgage Rate Report July 1: BREXIT and 3 Year Lows

Kate's mortgage rate report for the week ending July 1, 2016: BREXIT and 3 Year Lows
Kate's mortgage rate report for the week ending July 1, 2016: BREXIT, the exit of Britain from the European Union has taken mortgage rates down to 3-year lows. Happy 4th of July week-end!

See the following weekly nationwide averages reported by Freddie Mac's June 30 lender rate survey, keeping in mind they fell even more on Friday.

30 year fixed mortgage rates... averaged 3.48 percent costing .5 in points, DOWN from 3.56 percent last week. Compare to 4.08 percent this time last year.

15 year fixed mortgage rates... averaged 2.78 percent costing .4 in points, DOWN from 2.83 percent last week. Compare to 3.24 percent this time last year.

5 year fixed/25 year adjustable mortgage rates... averaged 2.70 percent costing .5 in points, DOWN from 2.74 percent last week. Compare to 2.99 percent this time last year.

Hi Kate, I was shopping around to refinance my home loan. One mortgage broker ... convinced me to lock in. Two hours later, another lender told me that the rates had dropped and offered me a better rate for my mortgage. Who do I believe? See 3 Ways To Compare Mortgage Lender Rates for my answer.

Jun 28, 2016

Mortgage Loan Approval: Seller Bailout, Non-Arm's Length Transaction, Due on Sale Clause

Losing Mortgage Loan Approval: Seller Bailout, Non-Arm's Length Transaction, Due on Sale Clause
Ask Kate about mortgage loan approval in regards to seller bailout, non-arm's length transaction, and due on sale clause: Meg sailed through pre-approval with flying colors.

However, once the underwriter saw the seller's late house payments, the transaction was considered a seller bailout. Complicating matters, the seller is her father-in-law, creating a non-arm's length transaction.

Tom inherited a house and asks if the due on sale clause will require a refinance.

See my answers to Meg and Tom at... Losing Mortgage Loan Approval: Seller Bailout Trouble.

Jun 23, 2016

Kate's Mortgage Rate Report June 23: Rates Not Feeling the Love

Kate's mortgage rate report for the week ending June 23, 2016: Rates Not Feeling the Love
Kate's mortgage rate report for the week ending June 23, 2016: Despite a strong bond market, interest rates aren't feeling the love with the 30 year fixed rising to approximately 3.6 percent.

Watch for BREXIT, the possible exit of Britain from the European Union to move rates by Friday, maybe as early as later today. Call your loan originator to discuss locking unless you're comfortable rolling the dice on your own.

See the following weekly nationwide averages reported by Freddie Mac's lender rate survey. Keep in mind that lower interest rates from earlier this week are factored into these averages:

30 year fixed mortgage rates... averaged 3.56 percent costing .6 in points, UP from 3.54 percent last week. Compare to 4.02 percent this time last year.

15 year fixed mortgage rates... averaged 2.83 percent costing .5 in points, UP from 2.81 percent last week. Compare to 3.21 percent this time last year.

5 year fixed/25 year adjustable mortgage rates... averaged 2.74 percent costing .5 in points, SAME as last week. Compare to 2.98 percent this time last year.

If zero down payment and a 30 fixed rate sounds attractive, let's discuss a mortgage program which many home buyers ignore... USDA Rural Home Loans: Zero Down Payment.

Jun 22, 2016

Can I Switch Mortgage Lenders After HARP Refi and HAMP Modification Denial

Can I Switch Mortgage Lenders After HARP Refi and HAMP Modification Denial
Ask Kate if the HARP refi program allows borrowers to switch lenders after a loan denial: Vanessa asks if she is restricted to using her current mortgage lender after they turned down her application for a HARP refinance.

Tina asks if she could lose her primary home or truck if she defaults on a HARP loan for her rental property. Will wants to know the number of times someone can refinance under the HARP program.

See my answers at... HARP Refi Denial: Can I Switch Mortgage Lenders.

Jun 16, 2016

Kate's Mortgage Rate Report June 16: Rates Hold Steady

Kate's mortgage rate report for the week ending June 16, 2016: Steady Interest Rates Thanks to Brexit
Kate's mortgage rate report for the week ending June 16, 2016: Interest rates steadied thanks in part to the influence of the United Kingdom's (BR) proposed plans to leave (EXIT) the European Union (BREXIT).

Without doubt, this contributed to Wednesday's Fed statement that the federal funds rate would be left unchanged. This is important because changes in this rate often trickle down to movement in mortgage rates. See the following weekly nationwide averages reported by Freddie Mac's lender rate survey.

30 year fixed mortgage rates... averaged 3.54 percent costing .5 in points, DOWN from 3.60 percent last week. Compare to 4.00 percent this time last year.

15 year fixed mortgage rates... averaged 2.81 percent costing .5 in points, DOWN from 2.87 percent last week. Compare to 3.23 percent this time last year.

5 year fixed/25 year adjustable mortgage rates... averaged 5 percent costing .5 in points, DOWN from 2.82 percent last week. Compare to 3.00 percent this time last year.

Savvy mortgage shoppers ask if they should pay discount points, how to overcome challenges in the loan approval process, when it's worthwhile to refinance, where to turn if their lock-in agreement is broken, what paperwork will be required for mortgage approval - and they get the answers here... Online Mortgage Advice: How to Become a Savvy Mortgage Shopper.

Jun 14, 2016

Local vs Online Mortgage Lenders: Accountability

Local vs Online Mortgage Lenders: Accountability
Ask Kate about local vs online mortgage lenders: Alicia needs a lot loan to build a home on raw land.

But her online lender lacks accountability. She asks for help but my solution may surprise you... Hometown lenders vs online institutions for specialty mortgage origination.

See my answer to Alicia at... Local vs Online Mortgage Lenders: Accountability.

Jun 09, 2016

Kate's Mortgage Rate Report June 9: Lower Interest Rates

Kate's mortgage rate report for the week ending June 9, 2016: Lower Interest Rates
Kate's mortgage rate report for the week ending June 9, 2016: Lower Interest Rates

When the economy's weakness was reflected in last Friday's job report, interest rates reversed their upward trend, ending the week in tune with Freddie Mac's survey averages (see below). If you're choosing to float in hopes of even lower rates, be watchful and keep in touch with your loan originator. Rates generally go up more quickly than down.

See the following weekly nationwide averages reported by Freddie Mac's lender rate survey:

30 year fixed mortgage rates... averaged 3.60 percent costing .5 in points, DOWN from 3.66 percent last week. Compare to 4.04 percent this time last year.

15 year fixed mortgage rates... averaged 2.87 percent costing .5 in points, DOWN from 2.92 percent last week. Compare to 3.25 percent this time last year.

5 year fixed/25 year adjustable mortgage rates... averaged 2.82 percent costing .5 in points, DOWN from 2.88 percent last week. Compare to 3.01 percent this time last year.

Are you self-employed? Get familiar with the hoops you'll need to jump through to qualify for a home loan at Mortgage Approval Help for Self-Employed Borrowers.

Jun 07, 2016

Mortgage Loan Approval Process: 4 Common Hot Buttons

Mortgage Loan Approval Process: 4 Common Hot Buttons
Ask Kate about the mortgage loan approval process: Whether you are refinancing, buying a home, or modifying a mortgage, you should know that lenders have certain hot buttons.

Let's take a look at 4 of them because when it comes to mortgage approval, what you DON'T know could hurt you!

See the rest at... Mortgage Loan Approval Process: 4 Common Hot Buttons.

Jun 02, 2016

Kate's Mortgage Rate Report June 2: Looming Volatility

Kate's mortgage rate report for the week ending June 2, 2016: Looming Volatility
Kate's mortgage rate report for the week ending June 2, 2016: With a short week almost behind us, mortgage rates fell to 2 week lows. But don't get too comfy if you are still floating your rate. Recent weakness in the bond market could just as easily push up rates today, especially on the eve of Friday's pending job report.

See the following weekly nationwide averages reported by Freddie Mac's lender rate survey. But keeping in mind that potential volatility could cause a spike in interest rates, today is a good day to discuss locking with your loan originator:

30 year fixed mortgage rates... averaged 3.66 percent costing .5 in points, UP from 3.64 percent last week. Compare to 3.87 percent this time last year.

15 year fixed mortgage rates... averaged 2.92 percent costing .5 in points, UP from 2.89 percent last week. Compare to 3.08 percent this time last year.

5 year fixed/25 year adjustable mortgage rates... averaged 2.88 percent costing .5 in points, UP from 2.87 percent last week. Compare to 2.96 percent this time last year.

For borrowers like Louise, it's a nightmare getting credit bureaus to reflect the correct details after her trouble with the mortgage payment. Louise asks me how fix the errors at Overcoming Difficulties Correcting Credit Report Errors.

Jun 01, 2016

Mortgage Bank Charges $450 Processing Cancellation Fee

Mortgage Bank Charges $450 Processing Cancellation Fee
Ask Kate about the mortgage bank that charges a $450 processing fee for cancelling a home loan application: Ben cancelled his 15 year mortgage application two days after accepting the bank's offer but before the appraisal was done.

Three months later, he discovered the bank had charged a $450 cancellation fee to his credit card. Is this legal and who can he complain to?

See my answer at... Mortgage Bank Charges $450 Processing Cancellation Fee.

May 31, 2016

Can Non-Resident Buy a Home in US

Can Non-Residents Buy a Home in US
Myrtann from St. John's, Newfoundland asks Kate how non-residents can buy a home in the US: Kate, I'm currently a Canadian citizen looking to purchase a home in Florida. I am having issues finding a mortgage lender where I'm not a US citizen.

Get my answer to Myrtann by scrolling down to the comment section until you see I'm a Canadian Citizen.

May 26, 2016

Kate's Mortgage Rate Report May 26: Rates Still Up

Kate's mortgage rate report for the week ending May 26, 2016:  Rates Still Up
Kate's mortgage rate report for the week ending May 26, 2016: For a week now, borrowers are looking at about 3.75 percent for the 30 year fixed as the Feds continue to hint at an interest rate increase in June.

See the following weekly nationwide averages reported by Freddie Mac's lender survey. Please note the survey is off by about a percentage point (see above):

30 year fixed mortgage rates... averaged 3.64 percent costing .5 in points, UP from 3.58 percent last week. Compare to 3.87 percent this time last year.

15 year fixed mortgage rates... averaged 2.89 percent costing .5 in points, UP from 2.81 percent last week. Compare to 3.11 percent this time last year.

5 year fixed/25 year adjustable mortgage rates... averaged 2.87 percent costing .5 in points, UP from 2.80 percent last week. Compare to 2.90 percent this time last year.

Dennis set up auto-pay for his elderly mother's mortgage payments. But the mortgage went 60 days without payment... just as he was helping her finance another rental property. He's asked me how this credit mess can be fixed at Help with Credit Repair.

May 23, 2016

Mortgage Loan Servicer: Marred Credit, Robocalls, Harassment

Mortgage Loan Servicer: Marred Credit, Robocalls, Harassment
Ask Kate how to cope with a mortgage loan servicer's harassment: Marred credit and robocalls sum up Rebecca's experience with the servicer of her home loan.

What is her recourse? Can she sue them? What are her rights as a mortgage borrower?

See my answer at... Mortgage Loan Servicer: Marred Credit, Robocalls, Harassment.

May 21, 2016

Potential Downsides to Quit Claim Deed Before Divorce

Potential Downsides to Quit Claim Deed Before Divorce
Chris from Sacramento asks Kate about a quit claim deed: I am in the middle of a divorce and my soon to be ex, wants to buy a new home.

She is currently living at the house (I moved into a rental) which is underwater. In order to purchase a new house, she would like to Deed the current house she is living in to me. I would then short sell after the purchase is complete. What are the potential downsides for me in doing this?

See my answer to Chris at How to Afford Your Mortgage After Divorce by scrolling down to the comment section.

May 19, 2016

Kate's Mortgage Rate Report May 19: Higher Rates Fueled by Panic

Kate's mortgage rate report for the week ending May 19, 2016: Higher Rates Fueled by Panic
Kate's mortgage rate report for the week ending May 19, 2016: Panic and anxiety led to the largest one-day spike in interest rates since February.

Why? Comments from the Feds on Wednesday were interpreted to infer the possibility of a rate hike in June. (Wouldn't it be nice if they spit out what they're really thinking!) So be prepared for your lender to be quoting 3.75 percent for the 30-year today.

See the following weekly nationwide averages reported by Freddie Mac, keeping in mind lower interest rates from earlier this week are factored into these averages:

30 year fixed mortgage rates... averaged 3.58 percent costing .6 in points, UP from 3.57 percent last week. Compare to 3.84 percent this time last year.

15 year fixed mortgage rates... averaged 2.81 percent costing .5 in points, SAME as last week. Compare to 3.05 percent this time last year.

5 year fixed/25 year adjustable mortgage rates... averaged 2.80 percent costing .5 in points, UP from 2.78 percent last week. Compare to 2.88 percent this time last year.

Before you see Mark's story, I'd like to say I understand how helpful refinancing can be. But Mark regrets the day he jumped at the chance to extract his equity. Hopefully, his story will save you from the same costly error. Cautionary Cash Out Mortgage Refinancing Tip.

May 18, 2016

Cash Out Mortgage Refinancing for Home Improvements

Cash Out Mortgage Refinancing for Home Improvements
Ask Kate about cash out mortgage refinancing for home improvements: Meet Clarence whose home needs a new roof and other renovations.

He asks for the inside scoop on tapping into his home's equity with a conventional cash out refinance. I've added a couple of alternatives as well, VA home loans and reverse home mortgages.

See my answer at... Cash Out Mortgage Refinancing for Home Improvements.

May 12, 2016

Credit Score Ratings and Quit Claim Deeds

Credit Score Ratings and Quit Claim Deeds
Property Owner asks Kate about a quit claim deed and new credit: If I had a piece of property quit deeded to me, will it appear on my credit?

See my answer to Property Owner at Credit Score Ratings and Quit Claim Deeds by scrolling down to the comment section.

May 12, 2016

Kate's Mortgage Rate Report May 12: 3-Year Lows Over?

Kate's mortgage rate report for the week ending May 12, 2016: Kate's Mortgage Rate Report: Are 3-Year Lows Over
Kate's mortgage rate report for the week ending May 12, 2016: After a blah job report last week, rates went down to 3-year lows before trickling back up slightly on Wednesday.

Are you still floating? Holding out (gambling) for a certain interest rate is similar to setting an arbitrary weight when dieting. Be smart and in this case, keep in touch with your loan originator for specific lock guidance based on your loan qualifications.

See the following weekly nationwide averages reported by Freddie Mac, keeping in mind that interest rates rose slightly on Wednesday, placing the 30-year back to about 3.61 percent:

30 year fixed mortgage rates... averaged 3.57 percent costing .5 in points, DOWN from 3.61 percent last week. Compare to 3.85 percent this time last year.

15 year fixed mortgage rates... averaged 2.81 percent costing .5 in points, DOWN from 2.86 percent last week. Compare to 3.07 percent this time last year.

5 year fixed/25 year adjustable mortgage rates... averaged 2.78 percent costing .5 in points, DOWN from 2.80 percent last week. Compare to 2.89 percent this time last year.

It's a necessity to qualify your lender and determine lock policies BEFORE choosing a bank. Ask Kate about mortgage rate float downs, extensions, and broken locks.

May 09, 2016

How to Compare Mortgage Rate Lock Offers

How to Compare Mortgage Rate Lock Offers
Ask Kate how to compare mortgage rate lock offers: Dan's lender has offered him two rate lock options. Lock in today's mortgage rate without any discount points. Or lock at a slightly higher rate and receive a $3500 credit toward closing costs.

What would motivate a lender to make such an offer, Dan asks me.

See my answer at... How to Compare Mortgage Rate Lock Offers.

May 05, 2016

Kate's Mortgage Rate Report May 5: Low Rates May Be Misleading

Kate's mortgage rate report for the week ending May 5, 2016: Don't Be Misled by Low Interest Rates
Kate's mortgage rate report for the week ending May 5, 2016: Happy Cinco de Mayo but don't be misled by low interest rates

I SO do not like being a party pooper. But there's a reason the drop in rates shouldn't lull you to sleep. Yes, they are sitting pretty at 30-day lows. But keep in mind this is following a period in which rates experienced little movement. If you are still floating, hoping to catch an even lower rate, call you loan originator today to discuss the merits of locking in. See the following weekly nationwide averages reported by Freddie Mac:

30 year fixed mortgage rates... averaged 3.61 percent costing .6 in points, DOWN from 3.66 percent last week. Compare to 3.80 percent this time last year.

15 year fixed mortgage rates... averaged 2.86 percent costing .5 in points, DOWN from 2.89 percent last week. Compare to 3.02 percent this time last year.

5 year fixed/25 year adjustable mortgage rates... averaged 2.80 percent costing .5 in points, DOWN from 2.86 percent last week. Compare to 2.90 percent this time last year.

Robert is trying to understand his final loan documents. He suspects foul play. What about your mortgage? Do you understand your lender's paperwork? Understand Your Home Loan Documents: Knowing the Terms.

May 04, 2016

Getting FHA Mortgage Approval After Bankruptcy to Buy a Home

Getting FHA Mortgage Approval After Bankruptcy to Buy a Home
Ask Kate about getting FHA mortgage approval after bankruptcy: Brian is trying to buy a home to live in with his two young sons. Even though 3 years have passed since his bankruptcy, he can't get FHA financing.

He asks how to get on the path to homeownership. See my suggestions for Brian at... Getting FHA Mortgage Approval After Bankruptcy to Buy a Home.

Apr 28, 2016

Kate's Mortgage Rate Report April 28: No Hint at Rate Increase

Kate's mortgage rate report for the week ending April 28, 2016: Feds Do Not Hint at June Rate Increase
April 29, 2016 update! Rates down slightly, back to lows of April 19th, with the average 30-year fixed sliding down to 3.67 percent.

Kate's mortgage rate report for the week ending April 28, 2016: Yep, boring is comforting when it comes to interest rates. Wednesday, the Fed's monetary policy announcement lacked hints at a June 2016 rate increase, calming the financial markets.

Even so, don't be surprised if the 30 year fixed continues to hover around 3.7 percent. That is, unless the markets are still feeling bullish today after the boring Fed announcement. If you are floating your rate, consult with your loan originator on whether or not to lock.

See the following weekly nationwide averages reported by Freddie Mac:

30 year fixed mortgage rates... averaged 3.66 percent costing .6 in points, UP from 3.59 percent last week. Compare to 3.68 percent this time last year.

15 year fixed mortgage rates... averaged 2.89 percent costing .6 in points, UP from 2.85 percent last week. Compare to 2.94 percent this time last year.

5 year fixed/25 year adjustable mortgage rates... averaged 2.86 percent costing .5 in points, UP from 2.81 percent last week. Compare to 2.85 percent this time last year.

For many homeowners, the deterrent to using minimal down payments is the fear of not being able to get rid of the expensive private mortgage insurance. Get the bottom line at How Do I Get Rid of PMI: Cancellation vs Termination.

Apr 27, 2016

Compare No-Cost HARP Refinance Program to Traditional Refi

Compare No-Cost HARP Refinance Program to Traditional Refi
Ask Kate to compare no-cost HARP refinance program to traditional refinancing with fees: Maria is considering two refinance options. Both loans are for 20 years but one is for underwater homes while the other follows more traditional guidelines.

The HARP (underwater) refinance has lower closing costs but the traditional refi has a lower interest rate. More importantly, you'll find a crucial consideration that Maria missed in comparing the 2 refinance programs.

See how to find the the better deal for your situation at... Compare No-Cost HARP Refinance Program to Traditional Refi.

Apr 21, 2016

Kate's Mortgage Rate Report for April 21: Rates Climb to Monthly Highs

Kate's Mortgage Rate Report for April 21: Rates Climb to Monthly Highs
Mortgage loan rates climb to monthly highs in spite of Freddie Mac reports: The bond market pushed past its recent highs yesterday.

Breaking through this barrier means, translated, don't fall off your chair if your lender is quoting 3.75 percent for the 30 year fixed today instead of the average rate that Freddie Mac is reporting. However, hang onto your hat as the pending European Central Bank Announcement could be a game changer either way.

See the following weekly nationwide averages reported by Freddie Mac, keeping in mind that lower interest rates from earlier this week are factored into these averages:

30 year fixed mortgage rates... averaged 3.59 percent costing .6 in points, UP from 3.58 percent last week. Compare to 3.65 percent this time last year.

15 year fixed mortgage rates... averaged 2.85 percent costing .5 in points, DOWN from 2.86 percent last week. Compare to 2.84 percent this time last year.

5 year fixed/25 year adjustable mortgage rates... averaged 2.81 percent costing .5 in points, DOWN from 2.84 percent last week. Compare to 2.84 percent this time last year.

Where should you start if you want to refinance? Well, you might get online to check rates or take the route of calling a lender. But how do you get past the lingo to understand your options? How to Get Low Mortgage Payments: 10 Best Kept Secrets to a Successful Refinance.

Apr 18, 2016

Mortgage News: Principal Reduction Program for Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac Loans

Mortgage News: Principal Reduction Program for Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac Loans
April 2016 Mortgage News: Principal reduction program for Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac loans: Homeowners with Fannie Mae or Freddie Mac (GSE) mortgages are breathing a collective sigh of relief this week.

Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA) Director Mel Watt reversed a set-in-stone policy that restricted struggling homeowners with Fan 'n Fred financing from receiving principal reductions to create an affordable mortgage during the loan modification process.

Get the full story at... Mortgage News: Principal Reduction Program for Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac Loans.

Apr 14, 2016

Kate's Mortgage Rate Report April 14: Rates Rise From 3-Year Lows

Kate's mortgage rate report for the week ending April 14, 2016: 3-Year Lows Rise Slightly
Kate's mortgage rate report for the week ending April 14, 2016: Has the downward trend of interest rates reaching 3-year lows reversed? If you are getting a new mortgage and floating your rate, a call to your loan originator to discuss locking would be prudent, based on your individual qualifications and tolerance toward risk.

See the following weekly nationwide averages reported by Freddie Mac, keeping in mind that higher interest rates Wednesday place the 30 year fixed at about 3.65 percent:

30 year fixed mortgage rates: averaged 3.58 percent costing .5 in points, DOWN from 3.59 percent last week. Compare to 3.67 percent this time last year.

15 year fixed mortgage rates: averaged 2.86 percent costing .5 in points, DOWN from 2.88 percent last week. Compare to 2.94 percent this time last year.

5 year fixed/25 year adjustable mortgage rates: averaged 2.84 percent costing .4 in points, UP from 2.82 percent last week. Compare to 2.88 percent this time last year.

In select areas, residential real estate values are increasing. Can a higher appraised value decrease my locked-in interest rate, asks Shannon who is refinancing her home in Reno, Nevada.

Apr 12, 2016

Understand Your Home Loan Documents: Knowing the Terms

Understand Your Home Loan Documents: Knowing the Terms
Ask Kate how to understand your home loan documents with terms such as partial purchase money mortgage: Robert is trying to make sense of mortgage terms on his final loan documents. He feels something nefarious is at play.

Whether it is or not, I do not know. But either way, let's see if some light can be shed on the vague terms that he's unsure about.

And what about your mortgage? Do you understand your lender's paperwork?

See my answer to Robert at... Understand Your Home Loan Documents: Knowing the Terms.

Apr 11, 2016

Foreclosure Alternatives: Kentucky Hardest Hit Funds

Foreclosure Alternatives
Andy from Hebron, KY asks Kate for foreclosure alternatives: My name is Andy and I live in my home with my 4 kids. I am currently in foreclosure and I am looking for any way to save my home. The issue is that I have a balloon mortgage that came due in March of 2015. I was in the middle of a divorce and the bank would not let me refinance without her. I got divorced in July of 2015, but, at that time, I was 4 months late on payments.

I tried to do a loan modification, but the lender required my ex-wife to stay on the note and she refused. I can't get a loan to refinance because of late payments and the bank won't let me do the loan modification without her.

Please are there any options for me to save my home?

See my answer to Andy at Foreclosure Alternatives by scrolling down to the comment section.

Apr 09, 2016

Can Loan Assumption Remove Ex-Spouse From Mortgage

Can Loan Assumption Remove Get Ex-Spouse From Mortgage
Carin from Grover Beach, CA asks Kate about loan assumption: My ex no longer has interest in the property as the house was awarded to me in the divorce decree. I have paid it on my own for the past year and now per decree need to remove his name from the loan so he is no longer liable financially.

The bank is giving me the run around. Please help! Trying my best to not have to refi.


See my answer to Carin at How to Get Spouse Off Mortgage After Loan Modification by scrolling down to the comment section.

Apr 07, 2016

Kate's Mortgage Rate Report April 7: Janet Yellen BFF to Interest Rates

Kate's mortgage rate report for the week ending April 7, 2016: Janet Yellen BFF to Interest Rates
Kate's mortgage rate report for the week ending April 7, 2016: Fed Minutes released this week point to less concern over raising rates. Yes, Fed Chairman Janet Yellen just became your new BFF if you've been floating in hopes of the lowest mortgage rate!

But don't throw caution to the wind. What goes down goes up faster as it pertains to interest rates. Case in point, current rates already slightly higher than the weekly averages below. See the following weekly nationwide averages reported by Freddie Mac:

30 year fixed mortgage rates... averaged 3.59 percent costing .5 in points, DOWN from 3.71 percent last week. Compare to 3.66 percent this time last year.

15 year fixed mortgage rates... averaged 2.88 percent costing .4 in points, DOWN from from 2.98 percent last week. Compare to 2.93 percent this time last year.

5 year fixed/25 year adjustable mortgage rates... averaged 2.82 percent costing .5 in points, DOWN from 2.90 percent last week. Compare to 2.83 percent this time last year.

Pat from North Carolina tells me how the lender locked her rate without her consent. Learn how a homeowner can take charge of locking at Can My Mortgage Interest Rate Be Locked Without My Consent.

Apr 06, 2016

Construction Home Loans and Rent-to-Own Fixer Upper Houses

Construction Home Loans and Rent-to-Own Fixer Upper Houses
Ask Kate about construction home loans and rent-to-own fixer upper houses: When home buyers and sellers enter into rent-to-own contracts, they set the price of the home upfront even though the transaction often won't close for several years.

But the home William purchased this way is a fixer upper. So, he asks how he can get a permanent mortgage that includes cash for repairs and remodeling.

See my answer to Bill at... Construction Home Loans and Rent-to-Own Fixer Upper Houses.

Mar 31, 2016

Kate's Mortgage Rate Report: March 31 Rates Sigh with Relief

Kate's mortgage rate report for the week ending March 31, 2016: Interest Rates Sigh With Relief
Kate's mortgage rate report for the week ending March 31, 2016: Interest rates moved lower after Fed Chair Janet Yellen inspired the financial markets to take a collective sigh of relief by indicating that the Federal Reserve Board is less inclined to raise interest rates as quickly as previously thought.

Even so, tomorrow's job report could reverse the downward trend in rates if it confirms that wages are increasing. (Think inflation.) So, float your rate cautiously, if you must. See the following weekly nationwide averages reported by Freddie Mac:

30 year fixed mortgage rates... averaged 3.71 percent costing .5 in points, SAME as last week. Compare to 3.70 percent this time last year.

15 year fixed mortgage rates... averaged 2.98 percent costing .4 in points, UP from 2.96 percent last week. Compare to 2.98 percent this time last year.

5 year fixed/25 year adjustable mortgage rates... averaged 2.90 percent costing .5 in points, UP from 2.89 percent last week. Compare to 2.92 percent this time last year.

These are peculiar times when foreclosure remains as common as buying a house. That's why I recommend a proactive plan to protect your home. Meet Paul who is over his head and going broke making his house payments. Proactive Tips for Avoiding Mortgage Foreclosure.

Mar 31, 2016

HAMP Mortgage Modification and Loan Servicer Misfires

HAMP Mortgage Modification and Loan Servicer Misfires
Ask Kate about mortgage modification and loan servicer misfires: Helen's well known bank raised her modified house payment by $600 a month to cover property taxes on a parcel she no longer owned. The bank refuses to return the funds to Helen, putting her at risk for foreclosure.

Armand recovered from a double-lung transplant and asks for options should their HAMP modification be denied.

Whirljack's lender says that it's not possible to modify a mortgage that was previously modified. Really?

See my answers to their questions at... HAMP Mortgage Modification and Loan Servicer Misfires.

Mar 28, 2016

Mortgage Approval Without Verification of Employment: VOE Snag

Mortgage Approval Without Verification of Employment: VOE Snag
PTI asks Kate about a verification of employment snag: We are getting a FHA loan. But the underwriter claims she can't get in touch with one employer.

Now the employer is calling her back but they do not an HR Dept to verify any of this. They also sent back the verification letters. But the underwriter claims she never received a call. I'm on my last limb here! We gave them everything and now this.


See my answer to PTI at Mortgage Approval Without Verification of Employment: VOE Snag by scrolling down to the comment section.

Mar 24, 2016

Kate's Mortgage Rate Report: Rates Lower (Maybe) Before Holiday

Kate's mortgage rate report for the week ending March 24, 2016: Interest Rates Head Lower Before Good Friday and Easter Holiday
Kate's mortgage rate report for the week ending March 24, 2016: Interest rates seem to be headed lower (crossing fingers) as we approach Good Friday and the Easter holiday.

See the following weekly nationwide averages reported by Freddie Mac, keeping in mind with interest rates bouncing like a ping pong ball, your lender could likely be a bit higher than these averages:

30 year fixed mortgage rates... averaged 3.71 percent costing .5 in points, DOWN from 3.73 percent last week. Compare to 3.69 percent this time last year.

15 year fixed mortgage rates... averaged 2.96 percent costing .4 in points, DOWN from 2.99 percent last week. Compare to 2.97 percent this time last year.

5 year fixed/25 year adjustable mortgage rates... averaged 2.89 percent costing .5 in points, DOWN from 2.93 percent last week. Compare to 2.92 percent this time last year.

Mario from Palm Bay, FL is getting a VA loan but since his bank does not participate in jumbo mortgages, he has to shop for new home financing. He asks if there is a grace period in which other lenders can pull his credit report without lowering his credit scores. Do Credit Scores Go Down When Mortgage Lenders Order My Credit Report.

Mar 23, 2016

Mortgage Debt Forgiveness Act in 2015 and 2016

Mortgage Debt Forgiveness Act in 2015 and 2016
Yullecce S. from Baltimore, Maryland asks me about the Mortgage Debt Forgiveness Act: Kate, Where can I find information on the mortgage debt forgiveness act for 2015. Was it passed?

In case you also missed the news, Congress did, in fact, extend the Mortgage Debt Relief Act of 2007.

See my update at Mortgage Forgiveness Debt Relief Act: Update for Homeowners Involved in Foreclosure and Real Estate Short Sale by scrolling down to the comment section.

Mar 22, 2016

VA Mortgage Loan Requirements for Non-Borrowing Spouse

VA Mortgage Loan Requirements for Non-Borrowing Spouse
Ask Kate about VA mortgage loan requirements for non-borrowing spouses: Douglas's wife will not be a co-borrower on his VA mortgage. Yet the lender is asking her to sign a couple of loan documents as a borrower.

She responds, I will sign nothing without a understandable reason. (I'm liking her!)

But can Douglas still finance his home? Well, there IS a fly in the ointment! See my answer to Douglas at... VA Mortgage Loan Requirements for Non-Borrowing Spouse.

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