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Friday, February 15, 2013

Six Ways To Avoid Big Blunders When Refinancing Your Home

1.Ignoring The Age Of Your Old Loan If you are 10 years into a 30 year mortgage when you refinance to a new 30 year loan, you will have to make 10 additional years of  payments to pay it off.  Unless your goal is to free up cash, you should consider getting a mortgage shorter than 30 years when you refinance. That will reduce your monthly  payments without extending your loan payments.

2. Buy A Car Or Changing Jobs The loan approval process doesn't stop when your mortgage is approved. Your lender is likely to reconfirm your employment and financials in the week before your loan closes. So your lender might back away from your if he discovers you changed jobs or incurred more debt.
So don't do anything that will significantly alter your credit score until after the mortgage closes.

3. Assuming The Lowest Advertised Rate Is The Best Deal You really can't compare mortgage offers just by comparing rates. A lender could quote a low rate and and jack up the closing costs. When calling lenders, don't ask , "What's your rate?" Ask instead, "Whats your 30 year fixed rate with zero points if I lock it in for 60 days?"  Phrasing the question that way compares apples to apples even if it isn't exactly the mortgage you end up choosing.

4.Allowing Rates To Float Too Long Before locking in a rate, ask the lender what your options are if you over-run your lock up period. Also ask if it's possible to initially allow the rate to float, then later lock it in a few weeks down the road.

5. Letting A Lender Charge You Hidden Points Just because a lender tells you that a mortgage has low or no points does mean it has low or no fees. Points are a type of fee charged as a percentage of the loan. some lenders instead charge steep flat fees so they can tell borrowers  that their loans have low or no points without technically lying. So when a lender quotes you a loan ask if there's a "discount fee", "origination fee" or a "broker fee." These are terms lender use to hide points in the form of flat fees. Also, immediately ask for a written good faith estimate of the mortgage terms. Lenders are required to provide these within 3 days after receiving the loan application. Read it to make sure there are no steep undisclosed fees.

6. Choosing An ARM Because You Expect To Sell Before Rates Reset Always choose a fixed low rate mortgage and lock in today's rates even if you expect to move before an ARM's rate resets. ARM's or ajustable rate mortgages,  are not worth the risk if there's a chance that you will still own the home after the loan rate resets.


Sunday, February 10, 2013

Six New Ways Facebook Is Stealing Your Privacy And What You Can Do About It

1. Timeline Timeline makes its easy for people to search back through your old facebook posts. That could expose private matters embarrassing photos that you've long forgotten. To hide posts you don't want to be seen, hold your cursor over the post and click the pencil con that appears in the upper right hand corner. Then click "hide from Timeline" or "Delete".

2. Facebook Apps Some facebook apps dig deep into your data even accessing info you have designated as private like your religion, political leanings and sexual preferences. So make sure you read the privacy polices carefully before signing up for an app.The  free tool available at  https://www.facebook.com/Privacyscore will help you evaluate the privacy policies of the apps you use.

3.Facebook "Like" Buttons Each time you click on a "like" button on a website, you alert your interests to your facebook friends and its advertising partners. And if you're a facebook user and you visit a web page that has a "like" button, facebook will record you visit to that page if you don't click "like". One way to prevent facebook from knowing where you go online is to set your web browser to block all cookies. You can also use the "In Private Browsing" mode in Internet Explorer, the "Incognito " mode in Google Chrome,  and the "Private Browsing" mode in Firefox and Safari. There are also free plug ins to stop facebook from following you such as http://webgraph.com/resources/facebookblocker/

4. Social Readers If you signed up for sites like The Washington Post it will tell your facebook friends that articles you read on the site. So if you've signed up for a social reader app, then delete it. Just click the lock icon in the upper right hand corner and select"See More Settings" then choose "apps" on the left. Locate the app, click "X" and follow the directions to delete.

5. Photo & Video Tags Some tags can let others see you in unflattering and unprofessional situations. To untag yourself from unflattering photos, hold your cursor over the post and click on the pencil icon. Select "Report/Remove Tag", then follow directions to remove it. Then enable review of all future photos you're tagged in before they appear on Timeline. Click the lock icon in the upper right, the "See More Settings" and select "Timeline and Tagging". Then click "edit" next to "Review posts friends  tag you in before they appear on your Timeline, " and click "Enabled" on the drop down menu. 

6. Facebook Friends If several of your facebook friends list potentially risky or unhealthy activities, a potential insurer, college admissions office or employer might conclude you also enjoy such behavior. You might consider removing these people from your friends list or make your friends  list private.  Just click on your name in upper right hand corner, then click "Friends", the "Edit" and select "Only Me" from the drop down menu.