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Real Estate

The Mortgage Professor: Do reverse mortgages work for owners of expensive homes?

As a federally insured reverse mortgage program under the Federal Housing Administration, the home equity conversion mortgage program is not designed to help the wealthy. In calculating maximum draw amounts, the highest property value it will recognize is $625,500. If your house is worth $1 million or $10 million, you can't draw more than the amounts available on a home worth $625,500. Further, although higher value properties reduce the risk of loss to the FHA, the mortgage insurance premium is the same for a property worth $1 million and one worth $625,500.

Real Estate

Real estate Q&A: Do you really want to take the HOA to court?

Q: The irrigation system in my area of our community has not worked for several months. I had new landscaping put in around the time it broke. I pay our homeowner's association dues every month, and those include the irrigation system. My water bills are sky-high from having to water the plants every day. Can I make the association fix it, and can I get reimbursed for the hike in my water bill?

Real Estate

The Mortgage Professor: Homebuyers lose a useful mortgage option to overzealous regulation

Before the financial crisis, many mortgage contracts contained a provision stating that borrowers who paid off their loan early had to pay a penalty. Penalties were usually expressed as a percent of the outstanding balance at time of prepayment or a specified number of months of interest. In most cases, the penalties declined with the passage of time and usually disappeared entirely after five years or so. Partial prepayments of up to 20 percent of the balance usually were allowed in any one year without a penalty. Sometimes the penalty applied to a home purchase transaction as well as a refinancing, but more commonly it applied only to a refinance.

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