About the Author

I was an Account Executive with a wholesale mortgage lender in Los Angeles, who saw the good times and the very bad.

But after several grueling, monotonous years in the industry, something occurred to me…I knew a lot about mortgages.

So I’ve decided to share my knowledge and experience with the public because I’ve learned so much about the process, and I know I can provide some valuable mortgage advice you likely won’t hear from other interested parties, namely banks, lenders, loan officers, mortgage brokers, and real estate agents. You know who you are…

If nothing else, whenever I buy property, I’ll have an arsenal of knowledge and helpful information at my fingertips to ensure I snag the best interest rate with the lowest amount of fees.

And not only for me, but for family and friends. Of course, none of them bother to visit the site, but you get my point.

My goal in creating this blog is to provide an honest, inside view of the mortgage industry, and to explain the process of qualifying and obtaining a mortgage in the most straightforward and effective manner possible.

There are so many aspects of the loan process that consumers simply don’t understand, seemingly basic things that can affect your mortgage rate substantially, costing you thousands each year.

And they can be resolved with minor solutions, often just by reading blogs like this.

So go ahead, browse the site and educate yourself. Because in this industry, knowledge equals savings. Big savings!

Best of luck,

Colin Robertson


51 Comments

  1. Joe Santana September 29, 2014 at 12:10 pm -

    Colin
    I’ve read I’m in the process of procuring a refinance and came upon your website. I have read many of your informative topics. I want to thank you for the effort you have put on developing the website. As a consumer, this is invaluable information to have.
    Many thanks

    Joe

  2. Colin Robertson September 29, 2014 at 6:57 pm -

    You are welcome Joe! Glad you found the site helpful and appreciate the kind words!

  3. Linda October 17, 2014 at 3:03 pm -

    Mr. Robertson,

    I’m new at this page I found about the truth in mortgage. I quite understand of what your putting out there for the customers that’s looking to buy or refinance. Well I’m trying to refinance, over two and half years now I was approved from the DOJ vs BOA for mortgage mishaps. BOA gave me a modification with a 2% ARM. I want to do a refinance with fix rate so that my mortgage payments stay the same. It’s been changed twice from high to low, but my income is low and I have low score. I really need to get out of this mess, what can I do my son helps me with the bills. He receives SSI and I SSDI.

  4. Colin Robertson October 17, 2014 at 3:12 pm -

    Linda,

    A 2% ARM doesn’t sound too bad, but if rates rise it could be a problem for you in the future. They probably gave you an ARM because it was cheaper and more “affordable” as a modification. And it might be fixed for the first five years, so check your paperwork. If you want to switch to a fixed loan, you could contact a mortgage broker who can determine what your options are with a wide range of banks based on your limited income and credit score, instead of just going to one bank. In the meantime you should also work on improving your credit score, as that could help with qualifying. Good luck!

  5. Joe November 7, 2014 at 6:01 pm -

    Colin

    Things worked out in our favor and we ended getting approval for the re-finance, as it turned out. In any event the use of the information on your web helped me to be more aware of some of the issues which stood as a challenge. Thanks again,

    Joe Santana

  6. Colin Robertson November 8, 2014 at 12:57 pm -

    No problem Joe, glad you got approved!

  7. bo November 19, 2014 at 10:01 am -

    Mr Robertson,
    I am in the process of purchasing a house. I have been told by my lender that I have to have PMI. My loan is for 36k the house was appraised at 52k and I am putting 5% down/1800, I have 17,800 in equity. Why do I need PMI if my loan to value is greater than 20%? I am 19 and I have a good job(55k yr) and my credit score is 775. Is there another reason I would need PMI?

  8. Colin Robertson November 19, 2014 at 12:29 pm -

    Bo,

    If the purchase price is $36,000, and you’re only putting down $1,800, your loan-to-value (LTV) is 95%, hence the need for PMI. It doesn’t matter if the house appraises for more. Lenders use the lower of the appraised value or the sales price to determine LTV.

  9. bo November 20, 2014 at 5:47 am -

    Mr Robertson,

    Thank you for the clarification.

    Bo

  10. Samonte Family February 4, 2015 at 4:24 pm -

    Hi Colin,

    first of all thank you for this information. do u have anytips for first time home buyer.

  11. Colin Robertson February 4, 2015 at 4:39 pm -

    No problem. Yes, there’s an entire page dedicated to first-time buyers…

    http://www.thetruthaboutmortgage.com/tips-for-first-time-homebuyers/

  12. Char February 4, 2015 at 5:37 pm -

    You are knowledgable, funny, good looking! Thank you for using your powers for good! So, so very helpful – much appreciated, Mr. Robertson. :-))

  13. Brian Reiss March 5, 2015 at 3:50 pm -

    Hi Mr. Robertson,
    Great website you have here. I am looking for information regarding my 7/1ARM..As I look over my documents, my interest rate is at 3.50% and will not adjust until September 2018..The interest portion of my loan, however, is scheduled to be paid off in 2 months…My question is with the interest paid off, what will happen in September 2018? Or do you know where I could go to find this information out?
    Thanks in advance,
    Brian Reiss

  14. Colin Robertson March 5, 2015 at 5:13 pm -

    Brian,

    Do you mean the loan won’t allow for interest-only payments in two months? I’m confused. Your loan docs should specify what will happen once the loan becomes adjustable, including the margin and associated index to come up with the fully indexed rate come 2018.

  15. Linda April 21, 2015 at 11:49 am -

    I have a question:

    I only receive SSA and pension income monthly, so I applied for a refinance with cash out. But I was turned down because of insufficient income. So I tried for an equity home loan, was also turned down because of my credit score of 657. What can I do I need my roof repaired.

    ” HELP”!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  16. Colin Robertson April 21, 2015 at 12:44 pm -

    Hi Linda,

    You can try shopping around with more lenders/brokers to see if you can qualify. Or potentially reduce the loan amount if you are close to the DTI cutoff, or consider a portfolio lender if you can’t qualify via Fannie/Freddie. Good luck!

  17. Denisse June 17, 2015 at 3:01 pm -

    Hello Colin I have a ? I am applying for a loan to buy a home directly from my parents the appraiser valued the home higher then when they purchased the home they are selling it to me at the price they got it at.The lender came back saying we needed to raise the sell price to even out the loan and the gift of equity can you explain this please.

  18. Colin Robertson June 18, 2015 at 10:56 am -

    Denisse,

    They may need to raise the purchase price to get the required down payment necessary to fit guidelines. Ask them for clarification.

  19. Ron Whitehurst July 5, 2015 at 1:49 pm -

    Hi Colin: I’m a usually frustrated Realtor (Residential Home Buyer Representative) with Loan/Mortgage Officers.

    No matter how much lead-time I give the mortgage officer on a Closing Date; the mortgage officer is late with the final approval and of sending the closing package to the Closing Company.

    Can you give me any tips on insuring a reasonable date that they will be done with their part? ….And is there a way to penalize a mortgage company if they are late without a reasonable explanation?

    I did not see any help in the upcoming HUD-1 changes.

  20. Colin Robertson July 7, 2015 at 11:56 am -

    Ron,

    I think the mortgage industry will always be riddled with problems and missed deadlines. I have no solution for that. Perhaps adjusting expectations is a better approach.

  21. Sara July 31, 2015 at 3:12 pm -

    I have a 5/1 30 year mortgage with Chase. At closing in May, I prepaid my interest through June, with the first payment due July 1.

    I paid the first payment June 15, as soon as Chase had everything set up in their system and I could see it online.

    Since then, I have made several extra principle payments. (My monthly payment is about $890 and I pay about 2k+ a month.)

    Chase has not reduced the distribution amounts regarding the interest and the principle, despite the extra “principle only” payments.

    Chase is still treating the loan (applying the payments) as though it were a 30 year fixed loan.

    Shouldn’t Chase be adjusting the distribution based on the principle balance, once a month? That is what my two previous lenders did. My monthly payment stayed the same, it was just applied differently.

  22. Colin Robertson August 2, 2015 at 12:23 pm -

    Sara,

    Extra payments go toward the principal balance but the monthly payment stays the same…the loan is just paid off in less time (less than 30 years).

  23. Sara August 3, 2015 at 6:10 pm -

    Thank you. I do understand that part.

    The amount of interest paid each month should be less (some, not much, but still SOME) if I am making extra principle payments each month, even though the monthly payment stays the same.

    Chase is still collecting regular payment and distributing the payment as through it were a 30 year fixed loan. It’s ignoring the fact that I am paying a lot of extra principle each month.

    Shouldn’t they be changing the amount of interest each month be less than the 30 year fixed loan because I am paying a lot of extra on the principe each and every month?

  24. Colin Robertson August 3, 2015 at 11:16 pm -

    Yes,

    More of each payment should be going toward principal each month with a lower outstanding balance. Make sure they are allocating it properly and not just holding it somewhere.

  25. Bryan August 14, 2015 at 9:14 am -

    My home has been on the market for 6 months. I have favorable 3.5% mortgage but still owe 80% of value. Can I sell the home on some sort of contract that allows me to carry new owner and continue to make my current mortgage payments? If so, what is market for minimum I should require down and carry interest rate?

  26. Karen October 2, 2015 at 8:00 am -

    We just refinanced for 15 year mortgage but we want to be debt free in 8 years! On our Amortization Schedule, if when I pay the 1st payment and add the principal portion of the last payment(180)…and continue 2nd payment add principal portion of payment 179 and do this every month then the mortgage would be paid off in 7 years and 6 months! Is this correct!

  27. Rich October 6, 2015 at 12:58 pm -

    My father passed away a year ago 10/31/2014. The family home was willed to me and my two brothers. The younger brother is obtaining a mortgage to buy out my older brother and I. After numerous delays over the last year, we were supposed to close today on what the attorney said is being considered a refinance mortgage. So we would have to wait three business days for rescission. I do not understand if there is such a law, why there is not a law that allows the interested parties to sign or agree to waive this issue, especially as this is between brothers. Also the attorney is being very arrogant and condescending. Now we get told that the bank failed to email him the package, after my older brother and I signed all of the paper work. Will we have to re-sign or will the younger brother, purchaser of the home be the only one to have to sign and will that further delay the issuance of the funds?

  28. Colin Robertson October 7, 2015 at 11:14 am -

    Rich,

    The RoR is a standard clause on refinances; it can be waived with certain extenuating circumstances but it’s very hard to waive and lenders don’t like to waive it because if something happens they can get into trouble. I get that the process can be annoying and bureaucratic but it sounds like you’re almost to the finish line. GL.

  29. Colin Robertson October 7, 2015 at 12:29 pm -

    Karen,

    To cut the term in half, you could take the 90th payment’s principal amount (find this using an amortization schedule) and add it to each monthly payment.

  30. raleigh myhren October 16, 2015 at 4:49 pm -

    If the principal on a loan is paid off but not the interest, does the interest amount change or is it fixed and still to be paid at the time the principal is paid?

  31. Colin Robertson October 20, 2015 at 3:04 pm -

    Raleigh,

    If your payments are fixed you’d pay the loan off quicker but monthly payments would stay the same until the balance is zero.

  32. James December 4, 2015 at 9:40 pm -

    Question,

    We bought a home in April 2005 in Florida, Purchased for 450,000, loan was structured as an 80/15/5 with Company A. 5% I placed down at purchase, the 15% was purchase money as HELOC (known then as a piggyback). 1st mortgage has always stayed the same. In Oct of 2005, we had the HELOC converted to a HELOC with a revolving secured line of credit with a limit of 125,000. This money was dispersed to pay off the HELOC from April (piggyback), and 20K was dispersed into a personal checking account. There were also undisbursed funds. All these monies were paid back over the next 10 years to present.

    Fast forward to 2015, loans in good standing, I am Attempting to combine The remaining 1st and HELOC loan into one loan to refinance to a fixed rate with Company B.

    Company B wants to increase my locked and fixed new rate because they saw the HELOC from Oct 2005 as a cash out refinance instead. My Old loan papers state that the mortgage was a HELOC with a secured line of credit.

    When does a HELOC become a cashout refi? when your paperwork says HELOC. Based on the definitions Ive read on Cash out, my loan structure does not fit with that definition. I have about 20% equity in the home now, which includes some lost equity from the market crash. Can company B call this a cash out situation? Appreciate your feedback.
    James

  33. Colin Robertson December 7, 2015 at 1:05 pm -

    James,

    Generally HELOCs are treated as cash out when refinanced if not originally used to purchase the property.

  34. Sandy December 15, 2015 at 9:22 am -

    I love your blog. Wishing you success and longevity with it. I’d like to see some articles and ideas on owning a home and buying another one simultaneously. What are the requirements?

    I can see that many people may have to buy another home while they are in their current home because the rentals are increasing in value, moving to another state may require an employment history to qualify for a new mortgage.

  35. Colin Robertson December 15, 2015 at 4:17 pm -

    Thanks Sandy, I’ll work on that topic and try to get it up soon. Thanks for the suggestion and the kind words, it is greatly appreciated!

  36. Corey January 4, 2016 at 9:17 pm -

    Hi Colin! You mention in the section about Alt A loans that many lenders offer low or zero down payments. I am looking for a lender that will do a 5% down payment Alt A loan of around $200-250k. My three scores within the past 3 days were 790/792/803. Any suggestions? Thanks!!

  37. Colin Robertson January 6, 2016 at 7:50 pm -

    Corey,

    What makes your loan Alt-A? You have excellent credit and 5% down is readily available.

  38. Alex Yunga January 12, 2016 at 2:46 pm -

    Hello Colin, I am caught in the middle of a complex situation in which I am the victim of both mortgage and bank. My father and I are failing to understand the steps to take after our landlord who owns the house failed to pay a mortgage and now we are being asked to leave. We even had a so called real estate agent come into our house (broke in) and then told us that he’d help us relocate. He even offered us money if we left the house on dates that he had set. I am in urgent need of help, for I am new to this I am only 18 and all this is new to me I am trying my best to help out my dad and make the right decision. Who do we believe? We got a letter in the mail saying the house no longer belonged to our landlord or it had been auctioned. We were also told by our landlord that he still owns the house, and then the “real estate agent” claimed that he doesnt. So we are completely confused and are thinking of following the real estates agents advice on emptying the house and leaving.

  39. Colin Robertson January 12, 2016 at 4:53 pm -

    Alex,

    Before you make a decision you may want to research tenant rights in your state when your landlord is facing foreclosure. While you’re at it you may want to get evidence that they’ve actually been foreclosed on, when it happened, and what the timeline is for you to take some sort of action. Good luck. Hopefully you’ll learn a lot through this process.

  40. Bobby February 4, 2016 at 2:21 am -

    Hi Colin, I’m trying to refinance my home and am confused by the Fannie Mae rules. I researched a lot, read a lot, trying to understand the things that confused me. Your writings are very informative, I haven’t found anyone else explained things so thorough. They answered many of my questions, but I still have one question that haven’t find answer yet. I am a US citizen, a US company’s employee, have W-2 forms. I pay income tax to IRS. My address in 1040 is my US home address, but I qualify for Foreign earned tax deduction and on that form 2555 I have a foreign address. The underwriter said, since I have a foreign address and live there most of the time in a year, therefore my US home is not my primary residence, and they treat second home as investment property because it is a duplex. I have not married, my mother and I live in this duplex as one family for the last 17 years and we always have meals together. I didn’t rent out my home, I have all my belongs here and I live here whenever I come back home. My mother lives here full time. That is my home. I never thought my foreign address can be called “my home”. From IRS point of view, my US home is my primary residence. Is there any chance that I can find an underwriter who shares the same view as IRS? If so, will you be able to recommened one? Is there any absolute answer ? I even called Fannie Mae, but they said they can only answer questions to underwriter if the underwriter would call to ask. They don’t allow to answer consumer directly. Hope you can clear my mind and help me out. I would appreciate very much.
    – Bobby

  41. Colin Robertson February 4, 2016 at 9:23 pm -

    Bobby,

    Fannie restricts second homes to one-unit dwellings, otherwise they assume it’s a rental since it’d be weird to own multiple units as a second home that are vacant most of the year. Maybe you could get an exception as owner-occupied since it’s your only home and houses an elderly parent? It might be worthwhile to “ask around” aka use a knowledgeable broker who has access to lots of lenders and can find a home for your refinance. Good luck.

  42. Bobby February 6, 2016 at 10:54 pm -

    Thank you, Colin! Your answer cleared my mind for what might able be done and not waste time on what can not be done. I’ll try and, yes, wish me luck ;-)

  43. Jason Myers February 15, 2016 at 5:33 pm -

    Colin

    I recently wrote a book on mortgages and I want to send you a copy for your review. Can you shoot me your address and I will drop one in the mail to you.

    Jason Myers

  44. Jeanette March 10, 2016 at 12:45 pm -

    Hi Colin:

    I’m on a fixed income, and a rental property in Atlanta (a very bad investment) is draining me financially. I can cover the mortgage even when there’s not a tenant, but I’m consistently losing money (ongoing major repairs, multiple burglaries including a recent home invasion, vandalism, non-paying tenants, etc.)

    Wells Fargo won’t grant a short sale because of my ability to cover the mortgage. But I need to walk away, and I’m told a deed in lieu of foreclosure will damage my credit less than a foreclosure.

    Is it likely WF will grant a deed-in-lieu of foreclosure if they said no to the short sale? Should I hire a foreclosure defense attorney to argue my case? If so, what’s the best way to find a good one?

    Thanks in advance!

    Jeanette

  45. Colin Robertson March 16, 2016 at 10:19 am -

    Jeanette,

    Check out the differences here: http://www.thetruthaboutmortgage.com/deed-in-lieu-of-foreclosure-vs-short-sale/

    As for hiring someone, that’s up to you and Wells Fargo. Good luck.

  46. wayne March 16, 2016 at 6:44 pm -

    I purchased my house 19 years ago using an FHA fixed at 4.25%. I received my loan through a mortgage company and at the time they told me it would probably be sold. Which is understandable. I notice on my statement from the new company that my interest rate is 6 1/2%. Can they raise a fixed FHA rate?

  47. Colin Robertson March 22, 2016 at 11:27 am -

    Wayne,

    If the loan is truly fixed the rate shouldn’t change so you may want to dig into your paperwork and/or make some phone calls to get some clarity.

  48. Pamela Wharton April 1, 2016 at 7:03 pm -

    Dear Colin,
    My husband had a VA loan during his first marriage and now I need to find out the amount that we need to pay back in order to use the VA loan again. Could you give me some ideas of where to look for the answers?
    Thanks
    Pamela

  49. Colin Robertson April 4, 2016 at 6:52 pm -

    Pamela,

    Check out my VA page about using second-tier entitlement.

  50. jon May 26, 2016 at 11:00 am -

    Colin – If i applied for a HELOC on my current house in order to use those funds to make a downpayment on a new house… is it fine if i apply for a mortgage for the new house before the HELOC on my exisiting home isn’t closed yet?

    Thanks.

  51. Colin Robertson May 26, 2016 at 1:26 pm -

    Jon,

    I would think the common approach is the other way around so the new lender knows where the down payment funds are coming from (and that you actually secured said funds because there’s no absolute guarantee) and factors the HELOC payment into your DTI when applying for the new loan. Also, the new home purchase would likely make the old house an investment property assuming you plan to make it your primary, which could also muddy things.

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