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Mortgage

When the COVID-19 pandemic reached the U.S. in 2020, the public health crisis was accompanied by an economic disaster as well. For many, one of the biggest worries was housing, with homeowners concerned about falling behind on mortgage payments.

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Everyone deserves a stable, affordable place to live. But the unfortunate truth is that discrimination in housing has prevented some vulnerable groups from achieving this cornerstone of the American Dream. The good news is that there are laws in place to protect people from being discriminated against when securing housing. One of the most important […]

Despite high demand in both home purchases and mortgage refinancing, many lenders have tightened up their borrowing standards due to the economic uncertainty of the pandemic, and hopeful loan applicants may find it hard to get approved.

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Understanding what happens to your debt when you die is an important part of estate planning—and you don’t have to be rich to have an estate. Everything you own and owe makes up your estate. For many people, that includes a house with a mortgage. The median housing-related debt of a 65- to 74-year-old borrower […]

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As a borrower, waiting for closing can feel like agony—especially if you’re trying to close on a house and you’re ready to move, or if you urgently need the savings a refinance will give you. Throughout most of the closing process, you’re waiting on other people, and you often don’t know how far along they […]

A couple of weeks ago we wrote a column about real estate taxes and real estate tax escrows. Most homeowners pay their property tax bill via an escrow with their lender, but that doesn’t always work out as it should. We wanted to share a few of the comments we received.

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Q: I have a question about what happens to your real estate taxes when you pay off your mortgage. When you have a mortgage, the payment to the lender includes real estate taxes and insurance. Once you pay off your loan, how do taxes get paid? Is it better to pay off your loan or keep a loan so that the taxes keep getting paid? Do property taxes rise when you pay off your loan?

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Here’s a guess: There aren’t many of us who’d care to redo 2020. COVID-19, the novel coronavirus, changed everything, killing more than 365,000 Americans (as of this writing in early January) and taking the economy on an even wilder ride than the Great Recession, just a decade ago.

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Q: We borrowed $355,900 in 2007 for a 30-year fixed mortgage at 6.25% and still owe $230,000. My wife is retired, and I plan on retiring in May 2023. Normally, we wouldn't even bother with refinancing this close to selling the house; but the rates now are so low that we’re thinking refinancing might make sense. Any thoughts on whether it would be OK to refinance, or just leave it alone this close to retirement and selling the house?

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Q: We have lived in our house for 15 years. About four years ago our mortgage was sold to a different loan servicing company. We called the new company several times over the course of a year and they said they have no record of our loan. We had no way to make our loan payments and now the real estate taxes have not been paid. We recently got notice that our real estate taxes were sold. If I pay the taxes, who owns the home?

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