Is a reverse mortgage good for elderly homeowners?

Is a reverse mortgage good for elderly homeownersA reverse mortgage is an increasingly popular option for older Americans to convert home equity into cash. Money can then be used to cover home repairs, everyday living expenses, and medical bills.

Instead of making monthly payments to a lender, the lender makes payments to the homeowner, who continues to own the home and hold title to it.

According to the National Reverse Mortgage Lenders Association, the money given by the lender is tax-free and does not affect Social Security or Medicare benefits, although it may affect the homeowners’ eligibility for certain kinds of government assistance, including Medicaid.

Homeowners must be at least 62 and own their own homes to get a reverse mortgage. No income or medical requirements are necessary to qualify, and they may be eligible even if they still owe money on a first or second mortgage. In fact, many seniors get reverse mortgages to pay off the original loan.

A reverse mortgage is repaid when the property is sold or the owner moves. Should the owner die before the property is sold, the estate repays the loan, plus any interest that has accrued. Consult your tax advisor to see if a reverse mortgage is right for you.

To learn more, please call 503-906-8990 or click here to visit the Columbia Mortgage website.

[Columbia Mortgage license MB38233]


How Do You Spot a Foreclosure Rescue Scam Artist?

With foreclosure rates high, homeowners all over the country are struggling to secure their finances and save their home. Unfortunately, this means that foreclosure rescue and mortgage modification scams are on the rise as well.

So how do these scammers move in? Many companies say they can get a change to a loan that will reduce the homeowner’s monthly mortgage payment. Others say they’re affiliated with the government, or the lender, and many even offer a money-back guarantee. These con artists often claim they can ‘save’ your home, often pretending that they have direct contact with your mortgage servicer. They ask for a fee, or require you to make mortgage payments directly to them, and then they disappear with your money.

And how do they find distressed homeowners? Some watch for public foreclosure notices in newspapers and online, or check public files at local government offices, and then send personalized letters or make phone calls directly to the homeowner. Some place ads online or on TV and let the homeowners come to them.

Here are a few different commonly used tactics that scammers use to lure in distressed homeowners.

The Rent-to-Buy

Companies or scammers who use the rent-to-buy scheme tell the owner to surrender the title to their house as part of a deal that allows them to stay there as a renter with the promise that they can repurchase the property later.

The Counselor

The company or scammer tells the homeowner that for a fee, they’ll negotiate a deal with your lender to reduce your mortgage payments or to save your home. Often, they claim to be attorneys or represent a law firm.

Bait-and-Switch

In this type of scam, con artists give homeowners documents to sign to get an additional loan, which they claim will make their loan current. Usually somewhere hidden in the document is information surrendering the title of the home to the scammers in exchange for a rescue loan.

The Auditor

Here, an “auditor” offers to have an attorney or real estate expert review your mortgage document to determine if your lender complied with the law. They ask for an upfront fee and then disappear. These scam artists often call themselves forensic loan auditors, mortgage loan auditors or foreclosure prevention auditors.

So how can you tell if you are dealing with a foreclosure rescue scam artist? Keep an eye out for the following warning signs:

Beware of anyone who:

– Asks you to pay an upfront fee in exchange for counseling or loan modification

– Pressures you to sign papers immediately

– Asks for payment by wire transfer or cashier’s check

– Claims they will buy your home from you so you can repurchase it over time

– Tells you not to contact your bank, lender or lawyer

– Asks you to make mortgage payments to them, instead of your lender

Do not sign over the deed to your property to any organization or individual unless you are working directly with your mortgage company, and never make a mortgage payment to anyone other than your mortgage company.

If you have any questions or concerns, please call 503-906-8990 to speak with one of the trusted mortgage consultants at Columbia Mortgage. To learn more, visit www.columbiamortgage.net.

License #MB38233


Join Us for Our 20th Annual Ski Night @ Mt Hood Meadows on Feb 3rd!

Skiers, boarders and lodge-loungers … round up your friends and family and join us for Ski Night. The more, the merrier!

Ski Night

Ready to hit the slopes at Ski Night!

This is a great opportunity to get to know other members of the Prudential Northwest Properties & Columbia Mortgage team and have some fun slope side … or fireside!

Lift tickets are valid from 3:00 – 9:00. Take advantage of our group pricing on lift tickets, rentals and beginner lessons, and ride up on the FREE Columbia Mortgage Ski Bus too. A big shout-out to Columbia for sponsoring the bus once again!

Click here to download a registration form with all the details.

We hope you can join us on February 3rd. If you have any questions, please call Sandy at 503.350.7228 or email marketing@prunw.com.

THINK SNOW!

 


Timing couldn’t be much better for first-time homebuyers

First-time homebuyers dominated the U.S. real estate market in 2009, accounting for roughly half of all residential transactions, according to the National Association of REALTORS®.

That trend is likely to continue well into the new year. That’s because interest rates are hovering near all-time lows, home-price affordability is near all-time highs and a third factor – Congress’ extension of the first-time homebuyer tax credit until April 30, 2010 – make conditions quite favorable for those considering homeownership for the first time.

Still, with the prospect of making one of the largest investments you’ll ever make in your life, you can easily become overwhelmed. Some of the questions you may be asking are: Will I be able to afford the home of my dreams? Do I have enough money for a down payment? Will I qualify for the tax credit? Will I make smart home buying decisions? If you go into the process prepared, your first purchase – like the current timing – can be just right.

Continue reading…


Rates on 30-year loans stay below 5 percent

 

Mortgage_rate_091119_hmediumRates on 30-year mortgages stayed below 5 percent again this week. The average rate for a 30-year fixed mortgage fell to 4.83 percent, down from 4.91 percent. Last year at this time, 30-year mortgages averaged 6.04 percent. This week the average rate on a 15-year fixed-rate mortgage fell to 4.32 percent and rates on five-year, adjustable-rate mortgages averaged 4.25 percent. According to Freddie Mac, the best rates usually are available only to borrowers with solid credit and a 20 percent down payment.

Mortgage rates hit 5-week low

Long-term mortgages rates moved lower again this week, hitting the lowest level in five weeks.

Freddie Mac’s weekly report says the average 30-year fixed-rate mortgage was 4.91 percent in the week ending Nov. 12, down from 4.98 percent last week. Rates on 30-year mortgages have been below 5 percent for five of the last seven weeks.

A year ago, 30-year mortgages were averaging 6.14 percent.

A 15-year fixed-rate mortgage averaged 4.36 percent this week, remaining below one-year adjustable rate mortgages, which now average 4.46 percent.

“Mortgage rates eased further over the week, helping to promote an affordable home-purchase market and stimulate refinance,” said Freddie Mac (NYSE: FRE) chief economist Frank Nothaft. “This comes at a time when house price declines are moderating and consumer demand for prime mortgages at commercial banks has picked up.”

The National Association of Realtors this week said third quarter housing prices were down an average of 11.2 percent from a year ago, but 20 percent of the top metropolitan ares saw positive annual growth.

Sales continue to rise, with third quarter existing home sales up 11 percent from a year ago.


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