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Mortgage News Roundup

May 8th, 2014

Hands holding a piggy bankMortgage News Roundup

In today’s roundup, we’ll talk about how to protect your credit, alternatives to 20% down, and an interesting trend that we’re seeing on all cash sales.

Be proactive about your credit after breaches

Maybe you’re reviewing your monthly charges and found something you know you didn’t buy. Or perhaps your credit card company sent you a letter stating that they’re sending you a new card because they believed your card number was compromised.

Fraud might be on the rise in part lately because there have been so many significant security breaches, said Adam Levin, chairman and co-founder of Identity Theft 911. We’ve heard of Target, Neiman Marcus, and Michaels Stores and its subsidiary Aaron Brothers.  But what of the ones we haven’t heard of yet?

Industry experts say there are many ways someone’s card information can be compromised :

  • a rogue employee using a skimming device
  • a consumer responding to phishing e-mails
  • malware installed at a point-of-sale system at a store
  • cyber-attacks can be very sophisticated and criminals often are out of the country.
  • “micropayment fraud schemes” that charge your card repeatedly for small amounts for rogue Internet pharmacies, fake anti-virus software, jewelry or handbag buying clubs, and online gambling

So, yes, you’ve got to stay vigilant and regularly monitor your credit card balance and charges. Once you find something, contact your credit card company right away and request a new card. It’s a pain to update all of your recurring payments, but it’s better than the hassle of having to dispute a lot of fraudulent charges.

Alternatives to putting 20 percent down on a home

We all grew up hearing that you had to save up enough cash to put a 20% down payment when you purchase a house, and additional cash to cover the closing costs and additional fees. But that’s not always easy to do considering the Census released the average cost of a house in the United States costs $311,400.

There are alternatives to the standard 20% down payment. If you put less down, you will need to purchase primary mortgage insurance (PMI) and will increase your monthly expenses.

So if you really want a house and you’re looking for alternatives to putting 20 percent down, here’s what you need to know.

Figure out financing before looking for a house. There are numerous programs that will help you buy a home without 20 percent down. Talk with a professional loan officer to find out your options for your financial situation. They spend time each week reviewing new federal and state regulations as well as new loan offerings from the major lenders.

Nearly half of all home sales all-cash deals

All-cash deals hit a record 43% of home sales during the first three months of 2014, according to RealtyTrac. That’s up from 19% compared to the first three months of 2013.  It’s also the highest level reported since RealtyTrac began tracking the deals in early 2011.

The jump is due to two main factors: strict lending standards that make it difficult to get a mortgage and intense buyer competition. Cash deals tend to close on time. Buyers dependent on financing may run into snags due to strict mortgage underwriting standards.

Miami, New York, Boston and coastal California cities are attracting a lot of foreign buyers who are paying in all cash, according to Jeff Meyers, founder of Meyers Research.

First Capital

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