Mortgage Advice

Mortgage Advice

Drawing on over forty-five years of industry experience, our mortgage advice section provides you with helpful tips on how to save money and avoid potential pitfalls when you get a mortgage. We make our insider knowledge available to help you find the lowest mortgage rate, avoid high closing costs and prevent you from making costly mistakes or getting ripped off.  Our informative advice enables you to better prepare for the mortgage process and negotiate the best terms possible.  Learn about financing options for different properties including rental, multifamily and fixer uppers.  Our borrower-focused mortgage advice empowers you to find the lender and loan that are right for you.

Money and time saving advice from our mortgage expert
Mortgage ProgramsBest Mortgage Programs for Millennials

Learn the best mortgage programs for millennials based on the unique characteristics of this generation. Understand how factors such as embracing technology, lower credit usage, the sharing economy and the increase in multi-generational households influence the mortgage programs that best meet the needs of millennials.

Mortgage ProgramsHow To Take Cash Out of Your Home

Understand how to take cash out of your home including a cash out refinance, home equity loan, HELOC, reverse mortgage or shared appreciation programs. Compare loan terms including rates, fees and proceeds and assess the positives and negatives for each financing alternative so you can determine the best option to access the cash in your home.

Mortgage ProgramsDifferences Between Buying a New and Existing Home

Know the differences between buying a new home and existing home including your mortgage lender options, loan programs, closing costs and other fees. Learn about home builder incentives and how getting a mortgage to buy a new home is different than financing an existing home. Understand how you can find the best terms depending on the property type.

Mortgage ProgramsWays You Can Get Ripped Off on Your Mortgage

Understand the most common ways you can get ripped off on your mortgage including bait and switch, paying a high interest rate, excessive closing costs, paying PMI when you do not have to and prepayment penalties. Learn the steps you can take to avoid getting ripped off when you get a mortgage.

Mortgage ProgramsHow to Buy a Home with a Low Down Payment

Learn how to buy a home with a low down payment including the many mortgage programs available to borrowers. Understand how you can buy a home with a down payment less than 20% and the different financing options available including grants, gifts and other programs. The perfect resource for borrowers with limited funds saved for a down payment.

Mortgage ProgramsHow to Buy a Home with a Reverse Mortgage

Learn how to buy a home with a reverse mortgage including qualification and eligibility requirements. Understand when it makes sense to buy a home with a reverse mortgage and how the process is different than buying a home with a regular mortgage, including requiring a much higher down payment requirement. Review the upsides and downsides to buying a home with a reverse mortgage to understand if it makes sense for you.

Mortgage ProgramsHow to Compare Mortgage Rates

Review a step-by-step explanation of how to compare mortgage rates to find the lender offering the best terms. Includes helpful tips on what to look for when comparing interest rates including how many lenders to contact and how loan type, discount points, rate lock period and other factors affect your rate.  Learn how comparing mortgage rates saves you money.

Mortgage ProgramsHow to Get a Mortgage for a Fixer Upper

Learn how to get a mortgage for a fixer upper including a review of multiple loan programs that enable you to finance both the cost to buy and renovate a property with one loan. Understand what to look for in a fixer upper mortgage program including the property value used by the lender and how the loan-to-value (LTV) ratio is calculated. Review alternative financing options if you cannot qualify for a standard fixer upper program.

Mortgage ProgramsHow to Get a Mortgage if You Are Self-Employed

Learn how to get a mortgage if you are self-employed including loan requirements, the personal documents your are required to submit and how the application process is different. Understand how lenders calculate income for self-employed applicants to determine what size loan you qualify for. Review mortgage programs that are well-suited for self-employed borrowers.

Mortgage ProgramsHow to Get a Mortgage on a Condo

Understand how getting a mortgage on a condo is different than applying for a loan on a different type of property such as a single family home. Learn the extra documentation you are required to provide on the condo project and homeowners association. Review the difference between warrantable and non-warrantable condos and the condo project requirements lenders apply to get approved for a mortgage.

Mortgage ProgramsHow to Get a Mortgage on an Investment Property

Learn how to get a mortgage on an investment property including qualification requirements and maximum loan-to-value (LTV) ratio. Understand how lenders calculate rental property income as well as the down payment, reserve requirements and programs eligible for investment property loans. Review how investment property mortgage terms are different than the terms for other types of loans.

Mortgage ProgramsHow to Get a Mortgage with Bad Credit

Understand how to get a mortgage with bad credit including what you should do before you apply for the loan. Learn how credit issues affect your loan terms and ability to qualify for a mortgage, how to proactively address credit problems and the best mortgage programs for credit-challenged borrowers.

Mortgage ProgramsHow to Get a Mortgage if You're a Single Woman

Learn how to get a mortgage if you are single woman including the qualification requirements that are most relevant to sole applicants. Understand how to apply for a mortgage with one income source and how alimony and child support payments are treated by lenders. Review the mortgage topics that apply to all borrowers but that are especially applicable to single women.

Mortgage ProgramsHow to Get a Mortgage on a Multifamily Property

Learn how to get a mortgage on a multifamily property including loan requirements such as down payment, occupancy, borrower reserves and loan limit guidelines. Understand how rental income from the units you do not occupy is factored into your loan application and review the best multifamily mortgage programs. Learn why in some cases it may be easier to qualify for a mortgage on a multifamily property.

Mortgage ProgramsHow to Compare Mortgage Quotes Without Hurting Your Credit Score

Understand how to compare mortgage quotes without hurting your credit score. We outline the steps you should take to compare multiple lenders and save money on your loan. Learn how to request quotes without the lender pulling your credit report so you can shop for a mortgage without affecting your credit score.

Mortgage ProgramsHow to Get the Lowest Mortgage Rate

Learn how to get the lowest mortgage rate possible. Understand how your credit score, mortgage program, loan length, down payment and discount points affect your interest rate. Review money saving tips including how to shop lenders to find the best mortgage rate and creative ways to receive a discounted rate.

Mortgage ProgramsHow to Improve Your Credit Score Before You Apply for a Mortgage

Learn how to improve your credit score before you apply for a mortgage including checking your credit profile and addressing significant issues, paying down debt and wisely expanding your credit capacity. Understand the steps you can take to boost your credit profile and potentially improve your mortgage terms.

Mortgage ProgramsHow to Save for a Down Payment on a Home

Learn how to save for a down payment payment on a home including boosting your savings, setting up a separate bank account, automatically depositing funds, paying off debt or taking on a second or part-time job. Understand creative ways to pay for a down payment including a gift, tapping a retirement account or using a low down payment mortgage program.

Mortgage ProgramsHow to Use Your Retirement Account to Buy a Home

Learn how to use money from your retirement account to buy a home including withdrawal limits and potential fees for a traditional IRA, Roth IRA or 401(k). Understand how the $10,000 first-time home buyer exception works and how to use a retirement account to pay for your down payment and closing costs. Review the positives and negatives of using money in your retirement account to help you buy a home.

Mortgage ProgramsHow to Use Seller Financing to Buy a Home

Learn how to use seller financing to buy a home. Understand how seller financing works and how it is structured, the benefits for both home buyers and sellers and the key loan terms you should focus on. Review the reasons to user seller financing and how to protect your interests when you negotiate a seller note.

Mortgage ProgramsMistakes Made by First-Time Home Buyers

Review the most common mistakes made by first time home buyers including getting a mortgage or buying a home you cannot afford, not shopping lenders, failing to lock your loan terms and not keeping enough money in savings. Understand how to avoid these mistakes so you can get approved for your mortgage and save money when you buy your first home.

Mortgage ProgramsLender Tricks Borrowers Should Know About

Understand the mortgage lender tricks that all borrowers should be aware of. Lender tricks include offering a teaser mortgage rate, guaranteeing a closing date, promoting loan programs you cannot qualify for and charging extra closing costs. The more you know about these lender tactics, the more likely you are to avoid them.

Mortgage ProgramsQuestions You Should Ask Before Getting a Mortgage

Asking mortgage lenders the right questions is one of the most important steps you can take to ensure that you select the right lender and find most attractive loan terms. Review our comprehensive list of mortgage lender questions and answers so you know what to ask before you apply for your loan.

Mortgage ProgramsReasons to Get a Reverse Mortgage

Reverse mortgages are not for all borrowers but there are some cases when a reverse mortgage makes financial sense. Understand the top reasons to get a reverse mortgage including to eliminate your mortgage payment, pay off debt, improve your cash flow or take cash out of your home tax-free. You can also use a reverse mortgage to buy a home, plan for retirement or downsize. Learn why borrowers get reverse mortgages.

Mortgage ProgramsHow to Get Pre-Approved for Your Mortgage

Learn how to get pre-approved for your mortgage and understand key benefits including saving money and time, greater certainty your loan closes, making your offer more attractive to home sellers and addressing issues in your loan application before you apply for the mortgage. Understand why you should get pre-approved before you buy a home.

Mortgage ProgramsReasons to Refinance Your Mortgage

Review the reasons to refinance your mortgage including to lower your interest rate and monthly payment, shorten your loan term, change mortgage programs, take cash out of your home, consolidate debt and eliminate mortgage insurance. Learn the benefits and costs of refinancing so you can determine if it is the right option for you.

Mortgage ProgramsHow to Lower Mortgage Closing Costs

Learn multiple ways to lower mortgage closing costs and save money on your loan. Ideas for reducing closing costs include a no cost mortgage, having the property seller pay the costs, comparing quotes and negotiating better loan terms, lender rebates and closing cost assistance grants. Review these tips to keep your closing costs down.

Mortgage ProgramsHow to Negotiate the Best Mortgage

Review advice and insider tips to learn how to negotiate the best mortgage including the lowest interest rate and closing costs. Learn how to save money and select the loan that is right for you by reviewing multiple proposals, comparing key loan terms and negotiating with lenders. Understand the documents to request when you shop lenders and the items to focus on to maximize your savings.

Mortgage ProgramsHow to Save Money on a Reverse Mortgage

Review the steps you can take to save money on a reverse mortgage include finding the lowest interest rate, comparing lender fees, choosing a fixed rate loan, not borrowing more proceeds than you need and taking a free reverse mortgage counseling class.

Mortgage ProgramsTop Mortgage Don'ts

Sometimes knowing what not to do is just as important as knowing what to do and this is especially the case when you apply for a mortgage. Understand the top mortgage don’ts so you can avoid these common pitfalls. Learn what not to do when you get a mortgage so you can save money and time and get approved for your loan.

Mortgage ProgramsTop Mortgage Do's

Learn the top mortgage do’s including what to do before you apply for your loan. Helpful tips include checking your credit score, comparing loan proposals, organizing your finances and paperwork and getting pre-approved for your loan. Follow these steps to qualify for your mortgage and get a loan you can afford.

Mortgage ProgramsHow to Avoid Mortgage Scams

Learn about top mortgage scams and how to avoid them. Common scams include foreclosure prevention companies, mortgage acceleration services, teaser interest rates, baiting and switching loan terms and other aggressive lender tactics. Understand how to protect yourself against mortgage fraud and scams.

Mortgage ProgramsHow to Overcome Obstacles to Getting a Mortgage

Review of the key obstacles to getting a mortgage and learn how you can overcome them. Potential mortgage challenges include a low credit score, high monthly debt, a lack of job history, the appraisal coming up short and significant issues in the home inspection report. Understand how to manage these potential stumbling blocks and get approved for your mortgage.

Mortgage ProgramsTop Reverse Mortgage Misconceptions and Myths

Understand common reverse mortgage misconceptions including that you lose ownership of your home, your homeowners equity always increases, your mortgage balance stays the same and you are not responsible for property tax and insurance. Learn more about these misconceptions to determine if a reverse mortgage is right for you.

Mortgage ProgramsHow Lenders Make Money Off Mortgage Borrowers

Understand the different ways mortgage lenders make money off borrowers including interest expense, lender fees, discount points, loan servicing, late fees and prepayment penalties. Learning the ways lenders make money upfront and over the course of your loan enables you to negotiate better mortgage terms and potentially save money.

Mortgage ProgramsHow to Prepare to Get a Mortgage

Learn how to prepare for a mortgage including organizing your finances, knowing your credit score, reducing your monthly debt cost, saving for a down payment and developing lender relationships so you can shop for your loan. Understand the best ways to prepare for a mortgage so you can improve your ability to get approved.

Mortgage ProgramsWhat You Should Know About a Hard Money Mortgage

What you should know about a hard money mortgage, also known as a private money loan, before you apply. Hard money loans apply different qualification requirements, charge higher interest rates and lender costs, may impose extra fees, require a higher down payment and are structured differently than a traditional mortgage. Understand how hard money mortgages are different than regular mortgages so you can determine if a hard money loan is right for you.

Mortgage ProgramsWhat Millennials Need to Know About Getting a Mortgage

We review everything millennials need to know about getting a mortgage and how millennial attributes such as embracing the sharing economy, being mobile-savy and shopping online for everything, can actually help you qualify for a mortgage and save money on your loan.

Mortgage ProgramsWhat To Do If You Can't Afford Closing Costs

Understand your options if you can't afford mortgage closing costs including lender and employer home buyer assistance programs, gifts, closing cost grants, having the home seller pay all or part of the costs and paying a higher mortgage rate. Learn about multiple creative solutions to help you pay for closing costs.