Jean Chatzky
The news is full of reports on mortgages and climbing interest rates. Foreclosures are on the rise, suggesting homeowners are in for a rocky ride. Jean talks to Keith Gumbinger, vice president of the mortgage research firm HSH Associates, about how to navigate the mortgage jungle. According to Keith, long-term mortgage interest rates have actually declined over the last several months, and are currently at about 6.25%.
Here are Keith's tips if you're in the market for a mortgage:
  • Beware of the risks you are accepting when you sign a document. Millions of people just jump into mortgage products for which they are unprepared.
  • If you have bad credit, a mortgage broker might be your best resource because they have access to wholesale markets that are less expensive.
  • Watch out for pre-payment penalties.
To get the best deal on a mortgage:
  • Educate yourself about the mortgage process.
  • Shop around.
  • Be sure to evaluate your personal circumstances to find the best option for your family.
  • Determine—as best you can—how long you will be in the home. Is it a starter house, or do you plan to stay in it through retirement?