The SCOOP! Blog by® 'Stress-Free Mortgages'

Our HUD-certified housing counselors can assist you if you are struggling to make your mortgage payments and help you prepare for successful homeownership.

We have adjusted our Borrower Help Center operations to protect our communities from the direct and indirect impacts of coronavirus (COVID-19). At this time, our Borrower Help Centers are ready and available to assist you by phone or online. We appreciate your flexibility.

Through Freddie Mac’s on-the-ground Borrower Help Centers and national Borrower Help Network, trusted nonprofit intermediaries offer free assistance that includes a full suite of financial education and mortgage help services.

If you’re struggling to make your mortgage payments

If you’re behind on your mortgage payments or believe you may fall behind on your payments soon, our housing counselors can help you by:

  • Providing holistic financial education counseling, including reviewing your budget and providing debt and credit management services.
  • Offering educational resources and tools to help you get back on track.
  • Explain, identify and pursue the best option to avoid foreclosure while working closely with your loan servicer (the company listed on your mortgage statement).

To ensure a productive conversation, take the time to prepare before you reach out by having all documentation about your mortgage, income and debts ready, along with a brief explanation and evidence of your financial hardship.

If you’re planning to buy a home

If homeownership is in your future plans, our housing counselors can help prepare by:

  • Teaching important financial skills such planning your budget and building your credit.
  • Guiding you on the steps to sustainable homeownership through workshops and one-on-one counseling.
  • Comparing the affordable features of various mortgage products – including products that offer lower down payment options.
  • Providing information on down payment and closing cost assistance programs in your area.

Free phone assistance is available through our national Freddie Mac Borrower Help Network at 877-300-4179 or at one of our Borrower Help Centers listed below.

Source: Click here

Posted by Jackie A. Graves on August 5th, 2021 10:38 AM
Posted by Jackie A. Graves on August 4th, 2021 9:50 PM

The rate on a 30-year fixed mortgage decreased today, providing buyers and homeowners interested in refinancing a chance to lock in a historically low rate.

As of today, the average rate on a 30-year fixed mortgage is 3.02% with an APR of 3.25%, according to The 15-year fixed mortgage has an average rate of 2.31% with an APR of 2.66%. On a 30-year jumbo mortgage, the average rate is 2.99% with an APR of 3.12%. The average rate on a 5/1 ARM is 2.80% with an APR of 3.92%.

Loan Term



Rate Last Week

30-year fixed




15-year fixed




30-year jumbo




5/1 ARM





30-year Fixed-rate Mortgages

Today, the average rate for the benchmark 30-year fixed mortgage fell to 3.02%. One week ago, the 30-year fixed was 3.08%. The 52-week low is 2.83%.

The APR on a 30-year fixed is 3.25%. This time last week, it was 3.31%. APR is the all-in cost of your loan.

At an interest rate of 3.02%, a 30-year fixed mortgage would cost 423 per month in principal and interest (taxes and fees not included) per $100,000, according to the Forbes Advisor mortgage calculator. The total interest paid over the life of the loan will be about $52,166.

15-year Fixed-rate Mortgages

Today, the 15-year fixed mortgage rate sits at 2.31%, lower than it was yesterday. Last week, it was 2.34%. Today’s rate is than the 52-week low of 2.31%.

The APR on a 15-year fixed is 2.66%. This time last week, it was 2.66%.

With an interest rate of 2.31%, you would pay 658 per month in principal and interest for every $100,000 borrowed. Over the life of the loan, you would pay $18,419 in total interest.

Jumbo Mortgages

On a 30-year jumbo, the average interest rate is 2.99%, lower than it was at this time last week. The average rate was 3.05% at this time last week. The 30-year fixed rate on a jumbo mortgage is currently higher than the 52-week low of 2.85%.

Borrowers with a 30-year fixed-rate jumbo mortgage with today’s interest rate of 2.99% will pay 421 per month in principal and interest per $100,000. That means that on a $750,000 loan, the monthly principal and interest payment would be around 3,158, and you’d pay roughly $386,875 in total interest over the life of the loan.

5/1 ARMs

On a 5/1 ARM, the average rate rose to 2.80% from 2.78% yesterday. The average rate was 2.78% last week. Today’s rate is currently lower than the 52-week high of 3.43.

Borrowers with a 5/1 ARM of $100,000 with today’s interest rate of 2.80% will pay 411 per month in principal and interest.

Calculating Mortgage Payments

If you can’t or don’t want to pay cash, mortgage lenders and mortgages will be part of your home buying process. It’s important to figure out what you’ll likely pay each month to see if it fits into your budget.

Using a mortgage calculator can help you estimate your monthly mortgage payment based on your interest rate, purchase price, down payment and other expenses.

To calculate your monthly mortgage payment, here’s what you’ll need:

  • Home price
  • Down payment amount
  • Interest rate
  • Loan term
  • Taxes, insurance and any HOA fees

How Much to Save for a House?

You may know you have to save enough for a down payment, but it takes more money than that to get through the homebuying process. Plus, after you buy, you have to furnish your new home and keep up with potential repairs.

Here are six things to prepare for when saving up for a house:

  • Down payment
  • Inspection and appraisal
  • Closing costs
  • Ongoing costs
  • Home furnishings
  • Repairs and renovations

Why APR Is Important

APR, or annual percentage rate, is a calculation that includes both a loan’s interest rate and a loan’s finance charges, expressed as an annual cost over the life of the loan. In other words, it’s the total cost of credit. APR accounts for interest, fees and time.

APR can help you understand the total cost of a mortgage if you keep it for the entire term. Keep in mind that the APR is often higher than the interest rate.

Source: Click here

Posted by Jackie A. Graves on August 3rd, 2021 12:26 PM

The first time you get a credit card or take out a loan, your credit history begins. Your credit history is what potential creditors and lenders use to determine if you can manage money responsibly. If you've never had credit, you are referred to as credit invisible, meaning you don’t have a credit history. 

Don't panic if you are credit invisible — there are strategies you can apply to go from "invisible" to "visible" and start building a credit history. By establishing a credit history with a positive pattern of payments over time, you can become a good candidate for a loan, banking product, and other products and services.

Here are just a few of the steps you can take to build a good credit history.

1. Report Your Rent Payment

Your on-time rent payments can be used to build credit with all three major credit bureaus.

Your landlord may already be automatically reporting to credit bureaus, but not all landlords do. Ask if your landlord is reporting your payments and if not, find out if they can.

Alternatively, you can report the rent payments yourself by paying rent through a rent reporting service. However, rental payment services usually charge a fee, so it’s best if the landlord can report on-time payments on your behalf.

2. Consider Applying for a Secured Credit Card

A secured credit card is designed for people with limited or damaged credit and requires you to deposit funds, known as a security deposit, into a linked account. The bank extends you a credit line matching the amount of the security deposit, and they'll hold on to your security deposit for as long as you have the card.

For those with no credit history or damaged credit, a secured credit card doesn't charge the same high fees as unsecured credit cards, because your security deposit is held as collateral by the card issuer in case you default or don’t make payments.

Many secured cards include a graduation feature that allows you to move from a secured card to a traditional credit card seamlessly after establishing a pattern of consistent payments. Some card issuers may automatically review your account to see if you can upgrade to an unsecured card, but you may have to ask your card issuer whether you are eligible and able to convert.

By transitioning to an unsecured card in this way, you will get your deposit back without negatively affecting your credit by closing an account.

3. Consider Applying for a Store Credit Card

From department stores to gas stations and retail chains, many stores offer credit cards. These cards tend to be easier to qualify for and usually have low credit limits, which makes them a good option if you are credit invisible. However, because store credit cards often have high interest rates, you'll want to make sure to pay off the card in full every month to avoid interest charges.

By making periodic purchases with your store credit card and paying them off immediately, you can build a credit record and get used to managing a credit card.

Building credit takes time, and you'll need to pay close attention to your finances to make sure that you're able to make payments when they're due, which is the most important contributor to your credit score.

To learn more about building credit, use our suite of financial capability and homeownership education resources, CreditSmart®. From managing debt to buying a home, you can learn it all at your pace, on your terms. Learn more about CreditSmart.

Source: Click here

Posted by Jackie A. Graves on August 2nd, 2021 9:12 PM

Mortgage giants Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac “will eliminate the adverse market refinance fee for loan deliveries effective August 1, 2021,” the Federal Housing Finance Agency notes. That means that if you refinance your mortgage now, you won’t be paying that fee, which will likely save you money, experts say. Here’s what you need to know if you want to refinance now.

What was the adverse market refinance fee?

The adverse market refinance fee was a 50-basis point fee that Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac were charging to lenders when they delivered the refinanced mortgages to the two mortgage companies; the fee then often got passed along to borrowers. The fee was instituted because: “When the pandemic brought high unemployment, regulators feared that a foreclosure crisis would follow. The FHFA added a fee on refinances to boost Fannie Mae’s and Freddie Mac’s rainy-day funds so they could afford an increase in foreclosures,” explains NerdWallet’s home and mortgage expert, Holden Lewis. 

But a foreclosure crisis didn’t happen: “Just 2% of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac loans are in forbearance with that number dropping constantly,” explains Greg McBride, chief financial analyst at Bankrate. And now, Frannie and Freddie have revoked the fee, which the FHFA says will “help families reduce their housing costs.”  

How much can you save on a refi now that the adverse market refinance fee is going away?

“The removal of the fee is reducing the cost of refinancing for homeowners that have Fannie or Freddie loans above $125,000,” says McBride. He estimates that a borrower refinancing a $300,000 loan will see this either via a ? percentage point lower interest rate, which equates to about $20 per month, or $1,500 less in closing costs. (Some lenders included the 0.5% fee in the closing costs — so on a $300,000 loan, that would mean $1,500 in closing costs — or added it to the loan total, others increased mortgage rates to recoup the fee). “The repeal of the fee will benefit people who refinance into mortgages guaranteed by Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac,” says Lewis. 

Should you refinance now? 

McBride suggests it’s a tremendous opportunity to refinance and cut monthly payments in a meaningful way, particularly with the cost of so many other things on the rise: “The removal of the FHFA fee makes the math of refinancing even more compelling,” says McBride. And not only can the slashing of the fee could save you money, so can the super low rates being offered now for refinances.

Lewis says other reasons to refi are “to shorten the loan term from say, 30 years to 15 years, to pay less interest over time” and “to get rid of FHA mortgage insurance, which can’t be canceled in most cases.” The general rule of thumb, according to Lewis, is that refinancing is worth it if you can reduce your interest rate by three-quarters of a percentage point and you plan to stay in the home for at least a few years to recoup all of the costs associated with a refi. All of these groups may benefit from the cancellation of the refinancing fee, especially since interest rates are at their lowest levels since February.

Source: Click here

Posted by Jackie A. Graves on August 1st, 2021 2:59 PM

Mortgage rates have reversed course, and refinancing activity is on the rise. That means homeowners who participated in the great refi boom of 2020 are faced with a fresh decision: Should you refi again?

At mortgage lender Lower, that’s a common question from borrowers, says Chelsea Wagner, a regional vice president. In about half of cases, the answer is yes, a second refi could be a savvy move.

“It comes down to: Does it make sense?” Wagner says. “When rates dropped in 2020, everyone went rushing to refinance. It really depends on when you closed.

As the coronavirus pandemic unfolded, rates plunged to record low after record low. So if you refinanced in May 2020, your rate might be 3.5 percent. If you waited until late 2020 or early 2021, your rate could be less than 3 percent.

The average rate on a 30-year fixed-rate refinance is 3.04 percent as of July 28, according to Bankrate’s national survey of lenders. If your mortgage refi coincided with the absolute bottom of the market, another refinancing probably doesn’t make sense. On the other hand, if you refinanced early in the pandemic, another move could make sense.

“Before refinancing twice in one year, it’s important to take a close look at the numbers and make sure the consumer is making a smart financial decision,” says Glenn Brunker, president of Ally Home. “A good rule of thumb is the interest rate must improve by 50 basis points to make it advantageous to the borrower.”

In other words, if your current mortgage is at 3.5 percent, you’ll want to score a refi rate of 3 percent or lower. Greg McBride, Bankrate’s chief financial analyst, offers similar advice.

“Mortgage rates are at the lowest levels since February and not far removed from record lows, so it is entirely plausible that homeowners that purchased or refinanced in the first half of 2020 could be candidates to do so again,” he says. “If you can cut your rate by one-half to three-quarters of a percentage point and expect to be in the home more than three years, you should look into it.”

Calculate your break-even point

One important thing to remember: You’ll incur closing costs each time you refi, and that can add up to 2 percent to 4 percent of the amount of the loan. That makes it important to calculate your break-even point, the month when the lower payments will equal the amount of closing costs from the new loan.

Say you borrowed $300,000 last spring at 3.5 percent, which equates to a monthly payment of $1,347. If you can refinance into a mortgage at 3 percent, your monthly payment falls to $1,265, a savings of $82 a month.

So even if your closing costs are a modest $6,000, it’ll take more than six years for the refi to pay off.

That harsh math is why Gordon Miller, head of Miller Lending Group in Cary, North Carolina, champions mortgages with no closing costs.

“With a no-cost option, you can refinance every six months if the market warrants without losing equity,” he says. “For everyone else it becomes a math game of how much can I save vs how long it takes to break even, and then they invariably have to refinance for other reasons that may be unpredictable at the time.”

Soaring home values create refi opportunity

Falling rates are just one variable in the refi calculus. Another is the value of your home. Property prices are soaring. If you bought last year with a low-down payment, chances are your home is worth more.

“Many existing homeowners have built equity thanks to rising home prices,” Brunker says.

Say, for instance, you put 5 percent down on a $300,000 home, meaning you borrowed $285,000. If your home value has jumped to $360,000, your loan-to-value ratio is now close to the 80 percent threshold that frees you from private mortgage insurance.

Having a lower loan-to-value ratio might qualify you for a slightly better mortgage rate, Wagner says.

Borrowers who took Federal Housing Administration loans can be especially good candidates for refinancing. That’s because FHA loans include steep mortgage insurance premiums that don’t go away over the life of the loan.

The mortgage insurance premium on an FHA loan is 0.85 percent per year. So on a $300,000 loan, it’s $2,550, or $212.50 a month. Eliminating that monthly fee could make refinancing into a conventional loan without mortgage insurance a good move.

How to refinance your mortgage

Step 1: Set a clear goal

Have a compelling reason to refinance. It could be cutting your monthly payment, shortening the term of your loan or pulling out equity for home repairs or to repay higher-interest debt. You may also want to roll your HELOC into a refi.

What to consider: If you’re cutting your interest rate but resetting the clock on a 30-year mortgage, you might pay less every month but more over the life of your loan. That’s because amortization schedules front-load interest charges in the early years of a mortgage.

Step 2: Check your credit score

You’ll need to qualify for a refinance just as you needed to get approval for your original home loan. The higher your credit score, the better refinance rates lenders will offer you — and the better your chances of underwriters approving your loan.

What to consider: Lenders became stricter about extending credit during the pandemic, so the typical mortgage borrower’s credit score is higher now than ever. While there are ways to refinance your mortgage with bad credit, it can make sense to spend a few months boosting your credit score before you start the process.

Step 3: Determine how much home equity you have

Your home equity is the value of your home in excess of what you owe your mortgage lender. To find that figure, check your mortgage statement to see your current balance. Then, check online home search sites or get a real estate agent to run an analysis to find the current estimated value of your home. Your home equity is the difference between the two. For example, if you still owe $250,000 on your home, and it is worth $325,000, your home equity is $75,000.

What to consider: You may be able to refinance a conventional loan with as little as 5 percent equity, but you’ll get better rates and fewer fees (and won’t have to pay for private mortgage insurance, or PMI) if you have more than 20 percent equity. The more equity you have in your home, the less risky the loan is to the lender.

Step 4: Shop multiple mortgage lenders

Getting quotes from multiple mortgage lenders can save you thousands. Once you’ve chosen a lender, discuss when it’s best to lock in your rate so you won’t have to worry about rates climbing before your loan closes.

What to consider: In addition to comparing interest rates, pay attention to the cost of fees and whether they’ll be due upfront or rolled into your new mortgage. Lenders sometimes offer no-closing-cost refinances but charge a higher interest rate or add to the loan balance to compensate.

Step 5: Get your paperwork in order

Gather recent pay stubs, federal tax returns, bank statements and anything else your mortgage lender requests. Your lender will also look at your credit and net worth, so disclose your assets and liabilities upfront.

What to consider: Having your documentation ready before starting the refinancing process can make it go more smoothly.

Step 6: Prepare for the appraisal

Mortgage lenders typically require a mortgage refinance appraisal to determine your home’s current market value.

What to consider: You’ll pay a few hundred dollars for the appraisal. Letting the lender know of any improvements or repairs you’ve made since purchasing your home could lead to a higher appraisal.

Source: Click here

Posted by Jackie A. Graves on July 31st, 2021 1:53 PM

The current housing boom will flatten in 2022—or possibly early 2023—when mortgage interest rates rise. There is no bubble to burst, though prices may retreat from panic-buying highs.

The boom produced some frantic buying, bids in excess of asking prices, and plenty of worry among would-be homeowners. But this has not been a bubble. A bubble is not simply rising prices but demand not justified by fundamental economic factors. The key to the buying boom has been low mortgage rates plus a shift in desired housing type.

Mortgage rates hit what was then an all-time low of four percent in 2011, and then remained in that neighborhood until the pandemic, when they hit three percent. The decline in mortgage rates in 2020 dropped the monthly payment on a house by 12 percent, enabling many people to buy houses now rather than later.

In addition to the low mortgage rates, some people saw a future of remote work and wanted more space, which often means moving out of an apartment into a single-family house. Others found urban living less fun, so they headed into the suburbs where houses are more common than apartments.

The increased demand for houses drove prices up, quite predictably. Yet the supply could not adjust as fast as demand. Home builders ramped up production in the second half of 2020, but after a few months they ran into supply constraints. Ready-to-build lots were all bought up, labor for construction was hard to find and social distancing made workers less productive. Now rising materials prices and goods on back-order squeeze profit margins. That’s how we find ourselves in the current housing boom.

But this boom is not a bubble, because the rise in prices is easily explained by the fundamentals of cheap mortgages and supply limitations. Recent housing starts are below historical averages, though that is justified by lower population growth. But with the shift from multifamily to single family housing, recent construction levels make sense. There need be no sudden drop in new construction to maintain a reasonable equilibrium.

When will the boom end? The two keys are satisfying the new demand and mortgage rates. Low mortgage rates allowed young families to buy houses earlier than they otherwise would have. It did not change the economics of buying for people who were never going to be homeowners. Instead, low mortgage rates enabled people to achieve their dreams earlier than they otherwise would have. In this sense, the strong housing market of 2020 and 2021 has been borrowing from the future. However, the shift in preferences from urban living to suburban living by people who previously could have bought houses is permanent new demand. At least, so long as they don’t become disillusioned about homeownership.

Mortgage rates are likely to rise when financial markets anticipate more inflation and action by the Federal Reserve to stem inflation. Although the Fed’s traditional tools impact short-term rates, with only small effect on mortgage rates, the new actions by the Fed impact mortgages directly. The Fed has been buying mortgages wholesale, depressing mortgage interest rates. The Fed has also been buying many treasury securities, which are often competitors to mortgages for institutional investors.

Mortgage rates are likely to rise a full percentage point by mid-2022, though this forecast exceeds the average prediction of my fellow economists. They doubt long-term interest rates will rise by a percentage point even out to December 2022. If they are right and I am wrong, then the housing market will remain strong longer.

Business leaders in the housing supply chain should enjoy their strong sales this year but not anticipate further growth in the coming years. Major capital projects must pencil out with sales back at 2019 levels.

Prospective home buyers should probably chill. It’s been a tough buying season. Although prices are unlikely to fall nationwide, there will probably be easier buying opportunities in 2023.

Source: Click here

Posted by Jackie A. Graves on July 30th, 2021 2:38 PM


  • The typical interest rate for 30-year fixed-rate mortgages decreased to 3.01% from 3.11% last week.
  • Applications to refinance a home loan jumped 9% last week from the previous week, according to the Mortgage Bankers Association.
  • Applications for a mortgage to purchase a home fell 2% for the week and were 18% lower than a year ago.

The popular 30-year fixed mortgage rate fell back to the lowest level since February last week, and the 15-year fixed set a record low. That sent borrowers to their lenders, looking to save money on their monthly payments.

Applications to refinance a home loan jumped 9% last week from the previous week, according to the Mortgage Bankers Association’s seasonally adjusted index. They were still 10% lower than a year ago. The refinance share of mortgage activity increased to 67.2% of total applications from 64.9% the previous week.

The average contract interest rate for 30-year fixed-rate mortgages with conforming loan balances ($548,250 or less) decreased to 3.01% from 3.11%, with points decreasing to 0.34 from 0.43 (including the origination fee) for loans with a 20% down payment. The average rate on the 15-year fixed set a new low of 2.36%.

“The 10-year Treasury yield fell last week, as investors grew concerned about increasing Covid-19 case counts and the downside risks to the current economic recovery, said Joel Kan, MBA’s associate vice president of economist and industry forecasting.

Applications for a mortgage to purchase a home fell 2% for the week and were 18% lower than a year ago. That was the second week of declines and the lowest level since May 2020. Purchase applications have now been lower on an annual basis for the past three months.

“Potential buyers continue to be put off by extremely high home prices and increased competition,” Kan said.

Mortgage rates continued to slide early this week, but all eyes and ears are now on the Federal Reserve’s statement coming Wednesday at 2 p.m. ET. Mortgage rates don’t follow the federal funds rate, but they are loosely tied to the yield on the 10-year U.S. Treasury and are guided by the demand for mortgage-backed bonds. The Fed has been buying those bonds but has said it would begin to curtail its purchases. If Fed comments suggest buying will continue longer than expected, then mortgage rates could fall further.

“On the other hand, if the Fed says the recent surge in Covid cases was on their radar and that there hasn’t been any reconsideration of ‘late 2021’ tapering goals, rates could definitely pop higher,” wrote Matthew Graham, chief operating officer at Mortgage News Daily.

Source: Click here


Posted by Jackie A. Graves on July 29th, 2021 10:09 AM

You may only think about your credit when you're preparing for a big purchase or life change, such as moving to a new home or apartment, buying a car, or taking out a loan to pay for your kid's college tuition. But even when it's not top of mind, your credit activity is being recorded and your credit score is changing.

Understanding what credit is, what affects credit and how credit is used can empower you take control of your financial health.

What is credit?

Credit is the concept of using tomorrow's money to pay for something you get today, and your promise to repay your debt over time. Lenders extend credit based on their evaluation of your finances and your ability and history of repaying debts.

Good credit demonstrates that you can manage money responsibly, and having good credit gives you more purchasing power because you have the ability to borrow more money.

Credit can determine your interest rate on loans; the rate on your home or car insurance; and even the security deposits on a rental home, secured credit card or utility services.

What is a credit score?

A credit score is a number that summarizes your credit profile and predicts the likelihood that you'll repay future debts.

Your credit score is generated based on a computer model, and the most commonly used scoring model, the FICO® score, ranges from 300 to 850 points.

The primary factors that affect your credit score are the following:

  • Payment history
  • The amount of debt you owe
  • How long you've been using credit
  • New or recent credit
  • Types of credit used

Each factor is weighted a little differently in your score.

It's important to note that your credit score changes as you go about your daily life, using credit cards and paying your bills.

What is a credit report?

A credit report is a detailed document of your credit history. This record of your credit usage lists your debts and whether you paid them back on time.

Credit reports are created by credit bureaus, and the three major credit bureaus are Equifax®, Experian® and TransUnion®.

Lenders, creditors, landlords, utility companies and insurance companies often request a copy of your credit report to help them determine the risk of doing business with you.

Your credit report includes:

  • Your current and previous address.
  • Your current and previous employers.
  • Your debts.
  • Your payment history with companies that have loaned you money. This includes banks, credit card companies, mortgage companies, and other lenders or department stores. Your history shows whether you paid these bills on time and the proper amount due.
  • Public record financial information such as tax liens, bankruptcies or foreclosures, even if they happened up to 7-10 years ago.
  • Inquiries made by potential creditors or other entities, which happen when you apply for credit.
  • A list of accounts that have been referred to a collection agency due to a default.

You're entitled to receive a free copy of your credit report each year from all three major credit bureaus via

What is a credit score used for?

Lenders and potential creditors use your credit score, along with your credit report and other information in your application, to determine whether you'll get a loan or credit card. Your credit score can also determine your interest rate, credit limit and the types of loan products you qualify for.

By using credit scores, lenders and creditors treat each person objectively. Credit scores apply the same standards to every applicant, assessing risk in the same way for every borrower, every time. Your credit score never factors in demographic differences, such as income or age.

What behaviors are good for credit?

Here are some actions you can take to help build and maintain your credit:

  • On-time payments
  • Keeping debt load manageable
  • Using as little of your credit limit as possible
  • Paying the full amount due, or at least more than the minimum amount due
  • Reviewing credit reports annually
  • Not shopping for too much credit

If you are comparison shopping for a mortgage, auto or student loan, your credit won't be adversely affected by each inquiry as long as all the requests are made within a limited time period, 15-45 days.

How can I improve my credit score?

Here are tips to improve your credit score:

  • Pay bills on time.
  • Pay your credit card bill in full, if you can.
  • Don't charge more than you can afford to pay back.
  • Use a small percentage of your credit limit.
  • Keep only a few credit cards or credit accounts open.
  • Pay down debts.
  • Open and keep credit accounts in your own name.
  • Dispute inaccuracies in your credit report.

If you need to build or rebuild credit, be patient. The best practice is to review your credit regularly and manage your credit wisely over time.

Can I be denied credit?

If your application for credit is denied, it's important to get a copy of your credit report so that you can see if there are errors or specific items you should work on.

If you're denied credit, creditors are required by law to provide you with contact information for the credit bureau that provided the credit report or credit score they used to deny your application.

By contacting the credit bureau within 60 days of receiving the denial, you are entitled to a free copy of your credit report from them.

If your credit application was denied due to lack of credit, ask the lender or creditor if they'll consider using nontraditional credit items to help you qualify. Using nontraditional credit means the lender looks at other types of payments, such as proof of paying rent or utility bills on time.

To learn more about managing credit, use our suite of financial capability and homeownership education resources, CreditSmart®. From managing debt to buying a home, you can learn it all at your pace, on your terms. Learn more about CreditSmart.

Source: Click here

Posted by Jackie A. Graves on July 28th, 2021 2:00 PM

Homeowners can now refinance their mortgages without worrying about the added costs of a pandemic-era refinance fee.

The Adverse Market Refinance Fee was implemented by the Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA) in December 2020 to cover losses due to the COVID-19 pandemic. It added 0.5% to the cost of refinancing certain types of mortgage loans, which was passed on to borrowers in the form of higher interest rates.

But as a way to reduce housing costs, the FHFA announced on July 16 that it has ended the Adverse Market Refinance Fee earlier than expected, and mortgages originated today will not be subject to the fee. 

Now is the perfect time to take advantage of historically low mortgage rates without being subject to the 0.5% fee. You can see your estimated refinance rates across multiple lenders by filling out a single form on

How much cheaper is refinancing now that the adverse market fee has been eliminated?

The Adverse Market Refinance Fee was charged to lenders on Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae mortgage loans. But the added cost would typically be passed on to borrowers. 

If you were refinancing a $350,000 home loan, the 0.5% fee would add $1,750 to the total cost of servicing the loan. While some lenders may have just included this amount in the closing costs or added it to the total loan amount, others recuperated the cost by increasing your mortgage rate. 

The fee amounted to approximately one-eighth of a point, resulting in a refinance rate that's 0.125% higher, according to the Mortgage Bankers Association.

On a $350,000, 20-year mortgage loan at 3%, for example, that small interest rate hike can add up. It would add about $20 to your monthly payment, increasing the total interest paid over the life of the loan by more than $5,000. But now that this fee has been eliminated on mortgage loans going forward, refinancing will resume without this added cost.

Homeowners have an additional incentive to save money by refinancing following FHFA’s announcement last week to eliminate the 0.5% fee on refinanced mortgages backed by Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. - Bob Broeksmit – MBA President and CEO

You can use 's online mortgage calculator to see how much the 0.125% rate difference would save you. 

Mortgage lenders have already started lowering their rates

The adverse mortgage refinance fee won't officially be eliminated until August 1. But since mortgages that are originated today won't close until after that date, lenders have already started to adjust their rates for mortgage refinancing.

In fact, lenders have already started offering lower mortgage rates to well-qualified borrowers, according to data from Rates on a 20-year refinance hit an all-time low of 2.375% on July 20, and 30-year rates are holding steady near record lows at 2.625%.

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The table below shows current mortgage rates from real mortgage lenders. See the refinancing rate you could qualify for without impacting your credit score by getting preapproved on


Lock in your low mortgage refinance rate before rates inevitably increase

Mortgage interest rates are determined by a number of factors, including the borrower's credit score, the loan amount and the loan's term. But rates are also affected by circumstances that are out of your control.

Mortgage rates are heavily impacted by demand, as well as the Federal Reserve's interest rate on the 10-year Treasury Yield. The Fed has kept rates low to kickstart economic recovery during the coronavirus pandemic, but it's expected to implement two rate hikes by 2023.

As a result, experts predict that mortgage rates will rise within the next few years. The MBA forecasts that 30-year mortgage rates will reach 4.2% in 2022 and 4.9% in 2023.

Act now to make sure you don't miss out on today's mortgage rates, which remain at historic lows. You can get in touch with a knowledgeable loan officer at to begin the mortgage refinancing process so you can get a lower rate on a new loan.

Source: Click here

Posted by Jackie A. Graves on July 27th, 2021 11:20 AM


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