Learning Center - Mortgages, Personal Finance, Home

Real estate investment trusts – A Reliable Leading Housing Indicator

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Real estate investment trusts, or REITs for short, are investment vehicles used by businesses and individuals to invest in a diversified group of real estate assets.  The investment vehicle is similar to more well-known investment options known as mutual funds. In simple terms, REITs are the mutual funds of real estate and can therefore give us a good sense of the trend in home prices and mortgages. (more…)

Should You Buy Mortgage Origination and Discount Points?


When you purchase your first home, you will be inundated with terms you may find difficult to understand. This is not your fault. The American educational system—even at the collegiate level—is woefully deficient when it comes to preparing us for real-world financial situations.  (more…)

5 Ways To Restore Your 401k and Get Off Life Support


When the economy crashed, real estate and stock markets took a massive hit—a hit that they are just now beginning to recover from. This hit started what we now refer to as the “Great Recession.” In this period, many Americans saw their retirement savings—particularly 401ks—routinely post losses or, at best, minimal gains. Now, that the American markets are beginning to dust themselves off and make a comeback, it’s time for people to begin to set right their retirement accounts. (more…)

How Are Mortgage Rates Set?


What factors affect the final mortgage rate at which willing buyers of homes and sellers of financing are able to agree?  In certain ways, the setting of rates can be incredibly complex, with a plethora of factors able to influence rates, including expected inflation, default probability, government regulation, and maturity risk premium, to name just a few. (more…)

Is Paying off Your Mortgage Early the Best Use of Your Money?

How much are you paying for the peace of mind of owning a free and clear home?

We are taught from an early age that debt is bad, and in most cases, carrying significant debt is not a good idea. If you are carrying a large balance on your credit cards, you should pay that off as soon as you can. If you have other secured or unsecured debt, you should pay that off as well. But when it comes to your mortgage, opinions differ regarding whether you should pay your mortgage off early or use the money for other purposes. (more…)

Improving Debt to Income: the Cases of California and Texas


In the mid-2000s we saw what some might call the golden age of housing. In some places, such as coastline states like California or Florida, home prices appreciated as much as 30% in one year. In other areas of the nation, such as Texas and other natural resource rich states, home prices did not experience the steep run-up like California, but instead experienced steady home price appreciation with little home price depreciation when the housing market dropped. (more…)

Refinancing Nation – Why are Homeowners Refinancing?


Refinancing your mortgage is a lot like trading in a car – you’re looking for something better, but also don’t want to get ripped off.  And, just as the economy affects the demand, supply, and prices of new and used cars, so it is with home refinances, with such things as financial institutions’ willingness to lend, market demand for interest bearing assets, home owner confidence in their expected income streams and desired spending patterns all affecting the strength of the market. (more…)