Articles filed under Guttentag, Jack

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  • Introducing the ‘kosher’ HECM reverse mortgage Oct 25, 2014 12:00 AM
    The kosher stamp on a food means that it has been certified as fit for human consumption. We need a comparable certification process for financial instruments sold to consumers, with the need most pronounced for the more complex instruments.

     
  • How to eliminate third party-settlement costs Oct 18, 2014 1:00 AM
    In a recent article I proposed that Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac be removed from limbo and given a new mission: to create a better primary mortgage market. Among other things, this would include the elimination of third-party settlement costs.

     
  • Why not use Fannie and Freddie to make a better primary market? Oct 11, 2014 12:00 AM
    The phaseout of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, which have now been in conservatorship for six years, is on indefinite hold. Terminating them without an effective replacement would devastate the market, and no effective replacement is in sight.

     
  • Conventional versus FHA: which should you choose? Oct 4, 2014 12:00 AM
    Don’t jump to the conclusion that the better choice is the mortgage with the lower interest rate. FHAs carry a lower interest rate but largely because of their high insurance premiums, they usually (but not always) cost the borrower more.

     
  • A rocky transition to double-digit mortgage rates Sep 27, 2014 12:00 AM
    For the last 24 years, mortgage interest rates have been in the single digits, supporting a widespread presumption in the industry that this is the normal state of affairs. Yet mortgage rates were 10 percent or higher during most of the 11-year period 1979-1990.

     
  • The easy way and the hard way to get a mortgage: the hard way is better Sep 13, 2014 12:00 AM
    Most homebuyers who need a mortgage place themselves in the hands of a loan officer or mortgage broker referred to them by their real estate agent, or by a friend, relative or business associate. This is the easy way, and I understand its appeal. But there's a better way.

     
  • CFPB is now a consumer complaint clearinghouse Sep 6, 2014 5:00 AM
    Financial services often don’t work well for consumers. The trial-and-error technique that consumers rely on in navigating many markets, such as food and clothing markets, does not work well when transactions are large and infrequent.

     
  • Don’t expect much from unregulated regulators Aug 30, 2014 12:00 AM
    The seeds of this article were planted in my brain some 30 odd years ago, when I did a consulting project for HUD, for which they contracted to pay me $2,500. Three months after delivery and acceptance of my report by HUD, I realized I had not yet been paid and I contacted the person who had retained me. This elicited what I came to realize was a stock reply of an unregulated regulator: The payment was “in process.”

     
  • Manage your credit score to get the best possible mortgage Aug 23, 2014 12:00 AM
    How does one manage credit cards so as to generate the highest possible credit score? Credit scores are calculated using a variety of models that have small differences between them and generate similar, but not identical, scores.

     
  • Housing bubble differed from buildup in subprime car loans Aug 16, 2014 12:00 AM
    In a long front-page article in the NY Times last month, Jessica Silver-Greenberg and Michael Corkery answer this question affirmatively. Their article cites numerous parallels to the conditions that led up to the crisis in the subprime mortgage market in 2007-8. The similarities include:

     
  • Should seniors buying a house do it with a HECM reverse mortgage? Aug 9, 2014 12:00 AM
    Many home purchasers are seniors. They may want a house that has no stairs, or one that is closer to family or friends, or in a warmer climate. In many cases, they want to downsize.

     
  • Yields are incredible when you invest in a larger down payment Aug 2, 2014 12:00 AM
    Anyone looking to purchase a home within the near future faces many decisions, including how large a down payment to make. Many people put down as little as possible despite having the capacity to put down more because they view the down payment as lost money. But that is a mistake.

     
  • A new challenge to the HECM reverse mortgage program Jul 19, 2014 12:00 AM
    The United States today faces a retirement funds crisis: a rapidly growing number of persons who are retiring without the financial capacity to support themselves during ever-increasing life spans. The HECM reverse mortgage program, which allows older homeowners to convert some or all of the equity in their homes into cash, ought to be a major policy tool for dealing with the crisis.

     
  • Two unorthodox ways to pay off a mortgage early Jul 5, 2014 12:00 AM
    Some schemes for paying off a mortgage early, such as biweeklies and bimonthlies, are offered by lenders while others are entirely within the control of the borrower. This article is about two schemes of the second type that keep popping up in my mailbox.

     
  • Too many homebuyers are fearful of adjustable rate mortgages Jun 21, 2014 12:00 AM
    The Mortgage Bankers Association reports that only about one of every 10 home mortgages being written today carries an adjustable interest rate. A combination of negative press on ARMs and a widespread belief that interest rates are bound to start rising in the near future has induced extreme caution among borrowers — as if the only proper response to risk is its complete avoidance.

     
  • Should I apply for a mortgage jointly with spouse, or on my own? Jun 14, 2014 12:00 AM
    Q. My wife and I are looking to purchase a $450,000 home, and I am wondering whether I should apply for the mortgage we will need as an individual, or jointly with my wife? I make $84,000 a year and have a credit score of about 800. She makes $48,000 and has a credit score of about 680.

     
  • When to ignore the APR and when to use it Jun 7, 2014 12:00 AM
    For more than 40 years, the centerpiece mortgage disclosure mandated by Truth in Lending has been the Annual Percentage Rate, or APR. But when is it actually useful to compare APRs when comparing mortgage loans?

     
  • Did banking policy-makers apply a double standard? May 31, 2014 12:00 AM
    Q. Paul Krugman in a recent article argues that the major reason the economy is stuck in low gear today is that policymakers have used a double standard, helping the banks as needed to restore confidence in financial markets but refusing to provide adequate debt relief to individual borrowers. Do you agree?

     
  • Make sure you get the mortgage promised to you May 24, 2014 12:00 AM
    The challenging part of the closing process is perusing the transactional documents that indicate whether or not you are getting the deal you believe you negotiated or were promised.

     
  • Preparing yourself for the mortgage closing May 15, 2014 4:00 PM
    Q. I recently read that the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau is going to make the mortgage loan closing process more consumer friendly. Do you think it can?

     
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