Q&A: Getting a new mortgage after a foreclosure

Dear Liz: Is it true that we can’t refinance our home until seven years after a foreclosure? We lost a rental property six years ago. Our credit scores now are in the 740 range, and we are anxious to take advantage of lower rates since our mortgage rate is 5.75%. Other than the foreclosure, our credit is perfect.

Answer: As foreclosures surged, the agencies that buy most mortgages increased the amount of time troubled borrowers had to spend in the “penalty box” before being allowed another mortgage.

Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac still have a seven-year waiting period after foreclosures. But that has been shortened to three years when borrowers can prove “extenuating circumstances,” such as a prolonged job loss or big medical expenses. Waiting times for other negative events, such as bankruptcy or short sale, have been reduced to two years with extenuating circumstances. Otherwise, it’s four years.

There are other loan programs that are even more forgiving. For example, the FHA has a three-year waiting period that can be shortened to one year if borrowers participate in its “Back to Work” program, which requires they document a significant loss of household income, that their finances have fully recovered from the event and that they’ve completed housing counseling. The Veterans Administration, meanwhile, makes loans available one to two years after foreclosure.

Thursday’s need-to-know money news

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Tuesday’s need-to-know money news

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5 Investing Tips for Your 20s
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Timely tax deductions.

Think of frugality as a method, not a lifestyle, to avoid wasting your time
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Thursday’s need-to-know money news

download (1)Today’s top story: Benefits for Millennials. Also in the news: The downsides of prepaid debit cards, a parents’ guide to insurance for college students, and how your house can save your retirement.

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New job, new perks.

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Keep an eye on fees.

The Parents Guide to Insurance for College Students
Keeping them protected when they leave home.

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Using your house as a retirement fund.

Tuesday’s need-to-know money news

Zemanta Related Posts ThumbnailToday’s top story: Questions you should ask your credit card issuer. Also in the news: Student loan tips your need to know, nearly half of couples split home down payments, and personal finance myths experts want to see disappear.

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Going 50/50.

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Mythbusting.

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Tuesday’s need-to-know money news

Zemanta Related Posts ThumbnailToday’s top story: Carrying a credit card balance for the first time. Also in the news: Closing the bank of Mom and Dad, why the starter home is in decline, and an employee benefit that could help with student loans.

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Managing the debt.

Closing the Bank of Mom and Dad
Take your business elsewhere.

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This employee benefit could become as popular as the 401(k)
Seeking help with student loans.

Monday’s need-to-know money news

18ixgvpiu0s24jpgToday’s top story: How to save on your cellphone bill when moving. Also in the news: how to survive a job loss, why millennials aren’t in a rush to buy a home, and why you shouldn’t wait to tackle your debt.

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Taxes and fees vary from state to state.

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Don’t Wait Until Your Debt Starts Hurting to Begin Tackling It
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Q&A: A dirty problem

Dear Liz: I bought a house four years ago. The previous owner allowed a gentleman to plant flowers every spring and tend them all summer. I allowed the man to continue after I bought the house. He waters the flowers using my water and I help weed every year. He came to me last week and said he was getting too old to tend to the flowers and wanted to sell me the dirt for $1,000. This was never addressed when I bought the house. Presumably the guy did bring in special dirt, but removing it would damage the property. What should I do?

Answer: The dirt goes with the real estate you bought and has long since become part of it, said real estate expert Ilyce Glink of ThinkGlink.com. Without a written agreement, the man was simply doing work for free.

That said, his labor and the flowers he bought enhanced the curb appeal of your home and arguably its value, said Glink, author of “100 Questions Every First-Time Homebuyer Should Ask.” Consider offering him $500 as a compromise or “retirement gift” to thank him for his efforts.

Thursday’s need-to-know money news

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