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Articles filed under Harney, Ken

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  • Fighting back on maternity discrimination Jul 4, 2014 12:01 AM
    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 loan applications when a borrower is pregnant or heading for maternity leave.

     
  • Legal issue arises from racial data on realty websites Jun 20, 2014 12:01 AM
    When you shop online for a home, some websites let you specify the characteristics of the community where you want to live. Maybe you’re looking for excellent schools, low crime rates, affordable prices and low property taxes.

     
  • Equity making a strong rebound Jun 13, 2014 12:01 AM
    If you’re like most homeowners, the house is your biggest asset. You can’t track it online or check monthly statements sent to you by a bank, but it’s crucially important for your personal financial well-being and your retirement planning.

     
  • Owners caught in tax-code limbo Jun 7, 2014 1:15 AM
    Is partisan warfare on Capitol Hill over taxation of medical devices crushing thousands of homeowners’ plans to do short sales this year?

     
  • A lone calculator’s saving graces May 30, 2014 2:31 PM
    When you need a mortgage — whether to buy a house or refinance — what do you do? More than likely you jump online and check out competing quotes on sites that let you compare multiple offers, including interest rates, annual percentage rates (APRs) and monthly payments.

     
  • Condos becoming FHA no-lending zones May 23, 2014 12:01 AM
    For young first-time buyers, people with modest down payment cash, or seniors who want to tap their equity using a reverse mortgage, it’s a growing problem: They cannot use Federal Housing Administration financing in condominiums.

     
  • Appraisers’ approval ratings go up as distressed sales fall May 16, 2014 12:01 AM
    Not long ago they were the punching bags of American real estate, accused of rank incompetence, wrecking home sales and failing to pick up on signs of the housing turnaround.

     
  • A case for looser credit scores May 9, 2014 12:01 AM
    Are lenders’ credit-score requirements for home purchasers this spring too high — out of sync with the actual risks of default presented by today’s borrowers? The experts say yes.

     
  • If you’ want to buy, it maybe time to get off the sidelines Apr 25, 2014 12:01 AM
    Are you on the home buying sidelines this spring because you think you won’t be able to qualify for a mortgage? Do you know what sort of FICO credit scores are being accepted by lenders at the moment — they’re lower than they were a year ago — and whether yours could now be good enough?

     
  • Restoration of home-related tax benefits gets complicated Apr 11, 2014 12:01 AM
    Renewal of important expired federal tax benefits for homeowners took a major step forward last week, but the route to final congressional approval is beginning to look longer — and potentially bumpier — than previously expected.

     
  • An FHA retreat, with one hitch Mar 28, 2014 12:01 AM
    Can you be charged interest on your mortgage even after you’ve fully paid it off? Can the meter keep running when you owe the bank nothing — your principal balance is zero?

     
  • Mortgage debt forgiveness back on table Mar 21, 2014 12:01 AM
    Here’s some good news for homeowners worried that Congress will fail again to renew popular tax benefits for use in 2014 — especially those allowing for mortgage debt forgiveness, write-offs for energy-saving improvements and mortgage insurance premiums.

     
  • Economy, owners benefit from rebound in home equity Mar 14, 2014 12:01 AM
    The economy may be growing at a frustratingly slow pace, but one piece of it is booming: American homeowners’ equity holdings — the market value of their houses minus their mortgage debts — soared by nearly $2.1 trillion last year to $10 trillion.

     
  • On homeownership tax breaks, change is in the air Mar 7, 2014 12:01 AM
    You may have seen reports about a major tax reform proposal floated by Rep. Dave Camp of Michigan, the chairman of the House Ways and Means Committee. But you probably didn’t see the grisly list of long-standing home real estate tax benefits that would be eliminated or sharply reduced under Camp’s plan.

     
  • Americans again cash in on home equity Feb 28, 2014 12:01 AM
    One of the mortgage products that contributed to the housing crash is booming again: New home equity credit line borrowings soared by 42 percent in the final three months of 2013 and were up sharply for the entire year, to $111 billion.

     
  • Home deals worth checking out Feb 21, 2014 12:01 AM
    If you’re planning to shop for a home in the coming few weeks, here’s an early spring buying season come-on that just might save you some money if you qualify.

     
  • A helping hand on mortgages for younger buyers Feb 14, 2014 1:01 AM
    Parents, grandparents and young adults know the problem only too well: Heavy student-debt loads, persistent employment troubles stemming from the recession — plus newly toughened mortgage underwriting standards — are all standing in the way of vast numbers of potential first-time homebuyers in their 20s and 30s.

     
  • New bureau uncovers problems with loan servicers Feb 7, 2014 12:21 AM
    Got problems with the company that services your home mortgage — the one that collects your payments, keeps track of your escrow account and lets you know when you’re late?

     
  • The long reach of identity theft may reach homebuyers Jan 31, 2014 1:50 AM
    The numbers of affected Americans are impossible to predict. However, mortgage credit experts warn that the recent massive data breaches at Target, Neiman Marcus and other retailers could have significant side impacts on some real estate transactions in the coming months, as damaged credit files depress scores and jeopardize loan applications and home sales.

     
  • Some options for mortgage shoppers as standards tighten Jan 24, 2014 12:42 AM
    The verdict was nearly unanimous at a recent hearing on Capitol Hill: The new federal “ability to repay” and “qualified mortgage” regulations that took effect Jan. 10 will make obtaining credit tougher, not easier, this year, and potentially force large numbers of credit-worthy homebuyers to defer or cancel their plans.

     
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