The Easy Way To Save Thousands On Your Mortgage


You probably comparison-shop for most of your purchases, especially the high-dollar ones. If you’re going to spend money on a new appliance or an automobile, you want to review options to make sure you’re getting the best deal.

According to the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB), there’s a big exception to this rule – mortgages. Almost one-third of homebuyers don’t bother shopping around with different lenders to find the best mortgage rate offer for their home purchase. In fact, over three-quarters of homebuyers applied for a mortgage with only one lender!

Why would you not shop around for the mortgage rate on your new home – the largest purchase that most Americans will ever make in their lifetime?

The CFPB suggests several reasons, topped by the assumption that shopping makes no tangible difference. A previous survey by the CFPB and the Federal Housing Finance Agency found that most consumers assume all mortgage lenders offer roughly the sam…

5 Spending Habits That Won’t Rebuild Your Credit


When your credit score is down, it takes great effort to rebuild it. You have to take care to pay down your debts and get your finances in order. You may also have to change some of your spending habits to have the greatest impact. Consider these five spending habits that will retard your credit rebuilding efforts.

1. Paying Cash

Arguably, it is responsible behavior to pay your bills with cash but using cash does not give lenders any way to assess your creditworthiness. There is no payback to monitor because there is no lending involved.

As Millennial Money Expert Stefanie O’Connell notes: “If you are not borrowing money and you have no history of borrowing money, then you have no credit. That means not being able to be approved for the mortgage or the auto loan or the personal loan… whatever it is in the future.”

2. Using Debit Cards or Prepaid Cards

The same principle applies here as it does with…

Video: The Top 3 Credit Score Myths


Does checking your credit score actually lower it? How does avoiding credit or closing an old account impact your current rating? Watch our exclusive video above as MoneyTips Consumer Advocate Kristin Malia reveals the truth behind three popular credit myths.

You can check your credit score and read your credit report for free within minutes using Credit Manager by MoneyTips.

All About Real Estate Disclosures


You want to know exactly what you are getting when you make any large purchase, especially when you are buying a home – the largest purchase that many Americans will ever make in their life. That’s why a real estate disclosure statement is a fundamental part of any real estate transaction.

By law, home sellers must provide a disclosure statement in writing regarding the condition of their home. The contents of disclosure statements vary by state and municipality, but they must disclose known hazards and defects of the home, as well as any important information that may affect the seller’s decision.

As a seller, you must make sure that you compile a thorough list of disclosure items. Your agent should be able to help you determine if each item must be disclosed.

Sellers are not required to search for any unknown defects, but failing to disclose a reasonab…

Adverse Action Notices 101


Have you been rejected for credit? You can mope and complain about the unfairness of it all – or you can turn a negative today into a positive tomorrow by learning from the experience.

Thanks to the Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA) and the Equal Credit Opportunity Act (ECOA), you must receive an adverse action notice that explains why a potential creditor has denied your application. If the decision was made based on information from a credit report, the adverse action notice must contain the following information:

  • The name, address, and phone number of the credit-reporting agency (CRA) that provided the information used to make the decision.
  • A statement explaining the reason for the denial of credit.
  • Your right to receive a free copy of your credit report from the CRA, and the right to dispute the information in the report.
  • If your credit score was involved in the decision to deny credit, your credit score …

Millennials Have More Home Buying Regrets


Living the Dream

Homeownership is one of the classic measures of “the American Dream.” According to a recent Bank of the West Millennial Study, over half of respondents (58%) say they’ve either attained the American Dream or that the American Dream is still attainable. A similar percentage (59%) says that owning a home is a top ingredient in the American Dream – surpassing retiring comfortably (56%), being debt-free (53%), and even having children (41%).

Millennials show approximately the same numbers in all of these categories, but they break sharply from other generations in one aspect. Over two-thirds of millennials (68%) say they have regrets about their home purchase – almost twice as many as baby boomers and thirteen percentage points above members of Generation X.

Perhaps millennials are expecting too much out of homeownership, ignoring the old axiom – “The secret to happiness is low expectations.” The study suggests rose-colored glasses ma…

5 Things To Know Before Getting A Credit Card


Getting your first credit card can be a liberating experience. You can enjoy the convenience of a simple swipe or tap, and you don’t have to worry about having cash for all your purchases. However, if you don’t use your card wisely, it’s easy to get into unpleasant credit situations that can have long-lasting effects. Avoid such situations by considering these five points before diving into the world of credit and debt.

1. Know What You Want in A Credit Card – How do you plan to use your card? Do you intend to pile every possible bill onto that card in order to get rewards, or do you plan to use it for selected large purchases? Do you want to set up automatic payments on your card? Do you plan to carry a balance (spend more than you can pay off at the end of the billing period)? Defining what you plan to do helps you rule out certain cards and find the on…

Will Your HELOC Be Tax-Deductible?


Homeowners may see less of a tax break this year, thanks to the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act (TCJA). Beginning with homes purchased after December 16, 2017, you can only deduct the interest incurred on $750,000 of mortgage debt on qualifying residences (primary homes and one second residence). Under prior law, the limit was $1 million in mortgage loan debt with an extra $100,000 in home equity debt.

Can you still deduct interest on a home equity loan or a home equity line of credit (HELOC) under the new law? Yes – but only in certain circumstances.

To be deductible, a home equity loan or HELOC must be used to “buy, build, or substantially improve” the home that secures the loan. In addition, the total mortgage debt incurred after the new law took effect – including the home equity debt – must be at or below the cost of the home and below the new mortgage deduction limit ($750,…

Get Your Money As Soon As You Earn It


You’re in a cash-flow crunch again. An important bill is due, and you’ve earned the money to pay that bill – but it’s not payday yet. You’re on a two-week pay cycle and have to wait for another week or so before your money is available.

What are your options? Ask a friend or relative to loan you money for a few weeks. Take out a payday loan and pay painful interest rates. Make the payment late and run the risk of penalty fees and a drop in your credit score. Ask your employer for a payday advance. All these options can be embarrassing and unpleasant.

Many Americans take the payday loan approach – approximately twelve million each year, according to 2016 research from the Pew Charitable Trusts – paying a collective $9 billion in fees and interest charges.

Payday access apps like Earnin are designed to fill this cash-flow gap. As opposed to a payday advance …