Mortgage rates looking good

CHICAGO The rates look good. Even those with decent rates can't help but notice. Reducing one's monthly payment can make a difference for the homeowners and the American economy in general.

The Martins have lived in their Austin home for three years. It was their American dream until their mortgage payments adjusted to almost double.

"Actually, it adjusted twice, and it went from $1,200 to about $2,500, so it doubled," said Adrian Martin, homeowner.

With the help of Shore Bank's rescue loan program and a 6 percent fixed mortgage that she recently closed, Martin found peace of mind.

"It's just a wonderful feeling. There's no surprises," said Martin.

Shore Bank's director of mortgage lending says, while some clients may not qualify for the very lowest mortgage rates, with rates so low refinancing homeowners can benefit from the lower rates.

"The rates are coming down, so we've lowered our rates at Shore Bank three or four times over the last three our four weeks, and the fed's continuing to cut rates to let us offer more affordable interest rates, so the time is great," said Michelle Collins, Shore Bank.

Fifth Third Bank has seen a dramatic increase in mortgage refinancing. Customer Connie Borrelli had refinanced a few years ago but is ready to spring into action if the rates go lower.

"I would be the first one in line," said Connie Borrelli, homeowner.

"This is an opportunity for people to gain some ground, dig out of debt, put some money away for the future," said Howard Ackerman, Fifth Third Bank.

The Fifth Third Bank's senior vice president of the mortgage division says credit standards have gotten tougher. He has some advice to those trying to refinance, like:

  • check the cost to refinance - to see if it's worth your while
  • pull all financial documents - pay stubs, W2s, taxes, bank statements, title
  • and be prepared to address any credit issues that may look negative

"The standards have risen, and we're looking for a little more of that openness dialogue about your credit now than ever before ," said Ackerman.

The mortgage experts say, if people can stay in their homes, it not only stabilizes their household, but offers stability in their community, with fewer foreclosures there's less opportunity for negative elements to take hold.

Also, if homeowners feel secure their finances, they are more willing to spend and consumer confidence is what feeds our economy.

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