Mortgage and Refinancing Tips

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    Owning a home is a common goal for many Americans. But anyone who has purchased a house knows that mortgages can be complex and confusing. Below are a few Web sites that can help you understand these important issues. The sites all offer free advice, tips and calculators.

    DecisionAide Analytics
    DecisionAide Analytics allows you to compare various loan features with numerous calculators. With over 50 calculators, you have plenty of options to choose from, along with a Calculator Assistant to direct you to the calculator you need. The mortgage calculators address debt consolidation, how helpful it is to make additional principal payments, refinancing various mortgages, mortgage insurance, affordability, renting versus buying, payment amount, amortization, interest rates, points and fees and more.

    Freddie Mac
    Freddie Mac’s free Web site has several educational sections, including All About Mortgages, which introduces basic concepts about mortgages and helps you to select the proper mortgage for your situation. You will also find advice on avoiding predatory lenders, tips for applying for a mortgage and many tools and calculators.

    Mortgage Professor’s Web site
    The ins and outs of mortgages are explained at this site by Jack M. Guttentag, a professor of finance emeritus at the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania. The site offers his advice and tips about the mortgage industry. The home page provides a list of daily updated wholesale mortgage rates for adjustable- and fixed-rate loans over varying periods of time. Quick Tips on Major Hazards is designed to help you navigate the murky waters of the mortgage business. Finally, the professor provides tips on choosing and dealing with a certified loan provider. The site’s analytical tools include close to 50 mortgage calculators and 13 spreadsheets. lists interest rates and other important company information from over 700 mortgage companies. You can search rates first by type, then by loan amount, state, interest rate, term, points and credit rating. You can also search lenders by type, such as bad credit lenders or Federal Housing Administration (FHA) and Veterans Affairs (VA) lenders, then by location and loan type. The site also offers six mortgage calculators and a mortgage library with educational materials. Finally, a market snapshot includes daily rates, commentaries, recent news and an overview of the real estate market.

    Mortgage-X provides mortgage information and educational tools for consumers. The Web site offers a wide variety of tools and calculators and over 150 articles covering various aspects of the mortgage lending field. Mortgage-X tracks all available adjustable-rate mortgage (ARM) indexes as well as ARM index forecasts, comparison charts and historical graphs. The Mortgage Lender Directory has links to over 2,500 lenders and includes detailed company and rate information. The site’s Mortgage Library offers hundreds of articles about loans, rates, closing costs, mortgage management, refinancing and more. To search for a low rate, you can use the Mortgage Rate Search tool, which compares the rates of hundreds of lenders by state. Mortgage-X provides a few original calculators but also provides links to additional calculators found on other mortgage-related sites.

    National Rate Finder
    The National Rate Finder site is an on-line service dedicated to matching individuals with local mortgage companies. Founded by mortgage bankers, the site provides lists of current mortgage rates as well as educational materials to help consumers understand the intricacies of mortgage lending within their respective states.

    U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development
    This government Web site provides information on home purchasing, selling and renting, as well as tips on avoiding foreclosures. You can download a free brochure called “Looking for the Best Mortgage” by going to Step 3: Shop for a Loan of the home buying guide. æ