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Don't fall prey to homebuying scams
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The extension of the government’s homebuyer program has coaxed many would-be buyers out into the real-estate market. The program (an $8,000 credit to first-time homebuyers or a $6,500 credit to certain current homeowners) has convinced many that this is the time to buy.
However, bad subprime mortgages and shady real-estate dealings are not a thing of the past. Yes, there are new laws governing the mortgage industry, but the game is the same — only the specifics have changed.
“Homebuyers Beware: Who’s Ripping You Off Now? — What You Must Know About the New Rules of Mortgage and Credit” is a must-read for anyone who’s buying real estate right now. If you also are dealing with bad credit, this book can help. Author Carolyn Warren’s insider knowledge comes from a background in the mortgage industry (a dozen years), some of them spent in the subprime real-estate area. When she writes about the lies and the scams, it’s because she’s seen them up close.
Warren provides hundreds of insider tips about buying or refinancing a house, including:
• Nine ways to raise your credit score, including getting bad credit erased from your file.
• The 10-step loan process: Know what to expect so you’ll be aware when things don’t proceed the way they should.
• How to recover from a foreclosure and buy another house.
• How to pick a real-estate agent. (No, they’re not necessarily on your side.) Twelve reasons to use a Buyer’s Agent.
• How to refinance and not get ripped off — 10 things you need to know.
• Comparing loan options for the best deal.
• Listening for code words that indicate you’re about to get ripped off.
• What the good faith estimate has to cover — and what surprise costs could show up at closing.
• Locking in a rate.
• The truth about fees. What fees do you really have to pay? Why “no fee” loans can cost you more.
• Junk fees explained: ancillary fee, e-mail fee, doc prep fee, doc review fee, courier fees, photo review fee, satisfaction fee and more are ways for lenders to get more of your money.
By using even some of the ideas in “Homebuyers Beware,” you’ll save yourself thousands of dollars, and probably a few headaches.

Uffington does not personally answer reader questions, but will incorporate them into his column whenever possible. Write to him in care of King Features Weekly Service, P.O. Box 536475, Orlando, FL 32853-6475, or send e-mail to
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