Q: My mom keeps telling me to buy before home prices go through the roof during the hot summer buying season. I've been watching home prices, and they seem pretty steady, and my real estate guy says that sales aren't heating up just yet. What gives?
A: The Mortgage Bankers Association recently reported that demand for purchase money mortgages has reached its lowest level since 1997; it's likely that the flurry of activity caused by the last minute rush before the federal tax credit program expired is causing the current lull in home purchases. Other considerations are ongoing economic concerns and high unemployment. That said, if you're ready to buy a home, the combined effects of lower home prices and rock bottom mortgage rates are providing excellent opportunities. Check out current mortgage rates, and get a few mortgage quotes for finding a great deal on a home loan.
Q: My boss just cut my hours, and making my mortgage payments is going to be tough with lower pay. My buddy at work told me to ask my mortgage lender for a loan modification. What is that, and how can it help?
A: Mortgage lenders are working with government programs such as the Home Affordable Modification Program (HAMP) and also providing their own programs for helping struggling homeowners. You may qualify to have your mortgage terms changed (modified); this could involve lowering your mortgage rate and or extending your repayment term. Contact your mortgage company's loss mitigation department for details and application forms.