December 2009

There are 129 blog entries for December 2009.

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Fannie Mae Gets Tough(er) On Borrowers. Again.

Wednesday, December 16th, 2009 at 10:16am. 526 Views, 0 Comments.

Fannie Mae raised the bar for mortgage applicants this past weekend.  Getting approved for a home loan just got harder.

In its official announcement, Fannie Mae says the updates minimize long-term lending risks.  If that's the case, this won't be the last guideline change Fannie Mae makes -- especially with loans defaulting at an above-normal clip.

The immediate changes are major. The first pertains to credit scores.

Effective December 13, 2009, the bulk of Fannie Mae's loans require a 620 credit score minimum.  There are very few exceptions.

A second relates to loans with private mortgage insurance. 

Homeowners whose loan-to-value exceeds 80 percent now have a choice:

  • Pay higher mortgage insurance premiums month-after-month
  • Pay a one-time fee paid at closing to…

  • How To Increase Your 2009 Mortgage Interest Tax Deduction

    Tuesday, December 8th, 2009 at 11:51am. 642 Views, 0 Comments.

    Mail your January 2009 mortgage payment in December 2008 to get an extra tax deductionFor many American homeowners, interest paid on a mortgage is tax-deductible in the year in which it was paid.

    Knowing that, eligible homeowners can increase their 2009 tax deductions just by making their January 2010 mortgage payment before the end of the year.

    By paying in 2009, the mortgage interest paid can be applied against 2009's itemized tax deductions even though the payment isn't technically due until 2010.

    It can reduce your tax burden come Thursday, April 15, 2010.

    And lest you think you're paying the mortgage "in advance", remember that mortgage interest is paid in arrears; a payment due January 1 accounts for interest that accumulated in December 2009 anyway. 

    Tax planning is a complicated issue and not all homeowners qualify for mortgage interest…

    Store Credit Cards : The Hidden Cost Of "Instant Savings"

    Thursday, December 3rd, 2009 at 1:17pm. 495 Views, 0 Comments.

    Credit Score makeup'Tis the season to do shopping -- and get bombarded with offers to open credit cards.

    The deals are tempting, too. "Open a charge card today" and save up to 20% on your purchase. Considering that the average Black Friday ticket was $343, that's $68 saved per store.

    For big-ticket items like televisions, the savings are even bigger.

    But for people in the market for a new home -- or looking to refinance -- taking advantage of in-store savings could be a long-term money loser.

    Every time you apply for a credit card, your credit score drops.

    According to, "new credit" accounts for 85 out of 850 possible credit scoring points.  New credit is defined by such traits as:

    • Number of recently opened accounts
    • Number of recent credit inquiries
    • Time since credit…

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