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Should You IgnoreRefi "Rules"? Rates are low again. Should you refinance your mortgage? But what about the sacred "rules of thumb." Aren't you supposed to wait until rates get at least 2 percent below your current rate? Or wait two years? Or perhaps you're supposed to recover your closing costs in two years? There sure seem to be a lot of "rules of thumb" when it comes to refinancing! Guess what? Forget the rules. Refinancing a mortgage is simply that, replacing your current mortgage with another one for the purposes of lower payments, a shorter term or combining two loans into one. Whichever reason
Mortgage RatesU.S. daily averages as of February 28, 2001:
30 yr. fixed: 6.78%15 yr. fixed: 6.37%1 yr. adj: 6.42%30 yr. jumbo: 7.24%
Get today's rates
you're using to refinance, pay less attention to any "rules of thumb" and more attention to the real issue: Is refinancing worthwhile for you? For instance, instead of asking
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Remodeling Fears: What They Are & What To Do About Them A major remodeling project -- something that can involve a lot of time, money, and inconvenience -- is a big deal. Little wonder that homeowners are often scared, sometimes emotional, and in a few cases even irrational. Why do homeowners have such feelings? In basic terms, the home improvement anxiety scale has a "big five" -- those issues that more or less get to just about every owner. Here are the items that worry most homeowners -- and what you can do about them. 1. Crooks. Experience shows that almost every homeowner begins the remodeling process with emotional baggage. If you watch television, read the newspaper, or listen to the radio, you will inevitably read or hear stories about unscrupulous home improvement contractors. In these stories, some unsuspecting homeowner was taken advantage of and lost thousands of dollars. Therefore many homeowners don't even trust professional remodelers. They're afraid they will hire a crook, or they fear that someone working with the contractor will get into their home
Narrowing Down YourHome Search It's an enviable position in which to find oneself, but it happens. You're approaching the end of your home search, and you're torn between two or more homes. The major deciding factors -- asking price, quality of the neighborhood, quality of school district and commute time to your office as well as your spouse's -- are relatively equal, so those won't help you favor one home over another. What to do now? The decision could drive you batty. If you lean toward one home, you'll be looking over your shoulder longingly at the other home. All of those "What ifs?" questions will run through your mind. Maybe the carpeting in the other house would have been more versatile. Maybe the layout of the other home would have been more agreeable both for your furniture and for your family's lifestyle. Undoubtedly, after you make your decision and move into the home of your choice, you'll encounter situations during which you may question -- if only for a brief moment -- your decision. And it's natural for those thoughts to cross our minds at some point because it's human nature to view the grass on the other side as greener. But depending upon the process you go through before you select your home and close the deal, you'll either settle that question in your mind with the knowledge and satisfaction that in general, you're happy with your decision; of you'll be in a state of regret, which will
What's "Fair Market Value?" Fair market value. You hear the expression all the time. But what is "fair market value" and how is this number determined? The term "fair market value" generally means the price at which a seller will freely sell and a buyer will freely buy. A more technical definition -- and one with general application -- can be found in the state laws of Louisiana. The state's legal code explains that, "Fair Market Value is the price for property which would be agreed upon between a willing and informed buyer and a willing and informed seller under usual and ordinary circumstances; it shall be the highest price estimated in terms of money which property will bring if exposed for sale on the open market with reasonable time allowed to find a purchaser who is buying with knowledge of all the uses and purposes to which the property is best adapted and for which it can be legally used." The dollar amount represented by fair market value becomes important in many cases.
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