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

Real Estate and Home

Buying a House With Cold, Hard Cash

by Luke Landes
Cash

When I write about the unbanked, the vast majority of this category of consumer avoids the financial industry due to lack of trust in the industry or a belief that living paycheck to paycheck doesn’t necessitate the fees and hassles of including a third party in financial transactions. Cash, in some respects, keeps you off […]

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Home Mortgage Interest Deduction

by Luke Landes

Although the home mortgage interest deduction is one of the most oft-cited benefits of owning a home, most taxpayers don’t take advantage of it because it requires itemizing taxes. If itemized deductions including mortgage interest paid throughout the year exceed the standard deduction, a taxpayer can take advantage of the benefit. The benefit isn’t as […]

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More Homeowners Can Refinance

by Luke Landes

Thanks to some changes to the federal Home Affordable Refinance Program (HARP), more homeowners can qualify for government-endorsed refinancing. Previously, the program only offered refinancing options for households where the mortgage value was up to 97 percent through 125 percent of the home’s market value. This did help families who have become underwater, having more left to […]

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U.S. Will Sue Major Banks Over Mortgages

by Luke Landes
Foreclosure

Imagine you’re shopping for a new high-definition television. You’re looking around the store for the television with the best picture from a brand you trust. You pick the one you like, not the least expensive model but not the most expensive, either. You take it home, plug it in, and all the television can display […]

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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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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

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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