As featured in The Wall Street Journal, Money Magazine, and more!

Real Estate and Home

How to Qualify for a Mortgage Without a Steady Paycheck

by Luke Landes
Dollar

It’s been almost nine months since I had a regular paycheck. Last year around this time, I was starting to make my plans for leaving my day job. One of my concerns was the possibility of qualifying for a mortgage with only self-employment income. Banks are still tight with their lending. Although mortgage rates are […]

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The 2011 Economic Stimulus: Mortgage Refinancing

by Luke Landes
Mortgage Refinance

The American Reinvestment and Recovery Act of 2009, the 2009 economic stimulus bill, provided an opportunity for homeowners in trouble to qualify for mortgage modifications. The Home Affordable Modification Program (HAMP) and the “Making Home Affordable” provided support for lenders who worked with homeowners. Part of the requirement for qualifying for the modification program is […]

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Appeal Your House’s Assessment to Lower Your Property Tax Bill

by Luke Landes

The comparison of owning a home in New Jersey or Long Island with owning a home in New York City shows that the city has one financial advantage: property taxes. In New Jersey, it’s hard to discuss the cost of owning a home without talking about property taxes. With high property tax rates, it’s worthwhile […]

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Quicken Loans Review

by Luke Landes

For the time being, S&P’s downgrade on United States debt has yet to produce an increase in mortgage interest rates as some predicted. Borrowers can still find mortgage loans for such a low cost that if they qualify, low interest rates combined with lower house prices would make owning a house more affordable than ever. […]

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6% Real Estate Commission

by Luke Landes
House for sale

When selling a house with the help of a real estate agent, that 6 percent real estate commission can eat into any profit the seller might receive from the sale. In today’s depressed real estate market, that fee could even result in an overall loss. Even with the funny accounting used when people sell their […]

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The Benefits of Owning a Condo

by Luke Landes
Condo

A few years ago, I declared I would (probably) never buy a condominium. I still believe this to be true. All my adult life, I’ve lived in rented apartments. Some have been nice, some have been not so nice. My least favorite living arrangement was a railroad apartment in Jersey City, New Jersey. It was […]

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Wells Fargo Fined For Misleading Customers and Falsifying Documents

by Luke Landes

It always pays to shop around. If more mortgage customers didn’t choose to borrow from the trusted institution that held their savings and checking accounts without question, it seems that these customers could have found lower interest rates, particularly if these borrowers were customers of Wells Fargo. The Federal Reserve is alleging that between 2004 […]

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Why Sellers Overestimate the Value of Their Houses

by Luke Landes

When calculating my net worth, I tend to take a conservative approach. Where certain balances are not exact, like the value of my car, I tend to assume the value is lower than what it might be. This way, there are no dangerous surprises if I needed to convert an asset like that into cash […]

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Excellent Credit, Denied Mortgage

by Luke Landes

Even with a credit score above 800, it’s still possible to be denied for a mortgage. Looking at the mortgage industry as a whole, for a period of time, lenders were too lax, offering mortgages practically regardless of qualifications. The pendulum has swung the other way, and even qualified individuals and families are having a […]

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Reverse Mortgages

by Luke Landes
Old house

Homeowners over the age of 62 have a unique option available for accessing cash. Reverse mortgages can help seniors access home equity without having to make monthly payments to repay a loan. When a qualifying homeowner has paid off a mortgage in full, or is very close to paying off a mortgage, a reverse mortgage […]

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