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About jlhrabette

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    HPC Newbie
  1. Ah! Okay, so that's not so bad. Thank you. But here's a harder question. Some mortgage officer at express-mortgages.com says that "only one or two banks will give a mortgage to a foreign national". Anyone know this to be a fact - or know which banks these are? I'm feeling so...foreign, right now. JLH
  2. Here's my question. Isn't there usually a penalty for early payment? (Does this apply only to the period of the fixed rate?) If so, then is the overpayment penalized? JLH
  3. I apologize for the idiotic sound of this question and hope it doesn't reflect too badly on my intelligence -- I'm beginning to contact mortgage institutions to begin learning about obtaining a mortgage. I have a response from Woolwich, a person who would much rather speak to me by phone, but I'm overseas and want to email instead. I'm completely unable to get through to Halifax, however. Their website is impenetrable; no email address is given for inquiries, and I would have actually to apply for a mortgage to make any online contact. Does some kindhearted person in this forum have e-mail contact information for any mortgage officer at Halifax - or at any other institution you might recommend? Thanks very much, JLH
  4. Depends on the conditions stated in the mortgage. Most prohibit repayment within a period of time that is identical to any teaser rate. Forgive my naivity about the US but as I understood it teaser rates and subsequent re-sets were a big part of the recent problem over there? i.e. a lot of people were not taking out mortgages at a rate that would apply for the life of the mortgage. Also that in many states people are able to walk away from their mortgage without penalty (jingle mail I believe it's called?). Seems to me there are big problems on both sides of the pond. UM Dear Ursa, No question there are problems here as well; but the naivete is not yours, but of those who sign mortgage agreements without reading the terms carefully. The re-set, or 'balloon' mortgages, do have an attractive initial rate, but after a set period revert to the prevailing rate. Why someone would agree to this knowingly (other than an incorruptible optimist) is beyond me. Many have lost their homes when the rate ballooned. (Others lost their homes when they lost their jobs or health coverage, which is another story.) It is much safer to take a fixed rate mortgage, which remains fixed for the life of the loan, often 30 years; if these rates are not manageable, one should not be buying property. Not sure of your reference, "able to walk away from their mortgage without penalty". What do, you mean, 'walk away'? Pay it off, or abandon the home? I have never heard the term 'jingle mail' but will look it up. JLH
  5. Thank you, Erat. (Spooky picture!) Okay, now I understand that there's no knowing what may happen to one's mortgage payment after the initial period has expired. So one must re-finance to keep some control. Given this fact, and given the name of this forum string - it makes sense that one would wish, in certain circumstances, to pay off the mortgage early if possible. But somewhere I read that this cannot be done in the UK. (In New York, it is illegal for a lender to penalize a borrower who pays off or pays down the loan.) Is my information right? Is a UK borrower actually prevented from paying off a loan whose monthly payments may explode at any time? (This may be worse than I think!) JLH
  6. Hello, all. I am new to this forum, and hope my question fits the theme. Does anyone here have the patience to explain a basic about UK mortgages to a hapless foreigner? In the U.S., most home mortgages are fixed. You know exactly how much you'll be paying every month for the life of the mortgage, often 30 years. But after studying the website thisismoney.co.uk, I'm finding that even what you call "fixed rate", isn't - at least not for long: "If you have stretched yourself in trying to buy a property or if you are someone who likes the security of knowing your repayments won't change, then a fixed-rated deal is probably for you. However...rates on fixed rate deals are higher than for variable special offers and many lenders have high fees for their best deals. Two-year fixed rates are the most popular with British homeowners, but increasing numbers of borrowers are turning to longer term fixed rates of five or ten years." So, when the five or ten years are finished, your payment may go up? I must be missing something. If the bank rate shoots up for some reason, then even your "fixed rate" mortgage can become unaffordable. I would be so grateful for some explanation.
  7. Thank you, Flopsy. I've done a little Wikipedia research on the terms you used, and can see why I might not want to be in a council block. Would you then recommend that I limit my gaze to properties labelled "ex-local authority"? How could you tell the building was a council block just by looking at the listing? Was it the price that gave it away? I am not yet working with an EA. It seems premature, since I'm not buying for a year (waiting for that vaunted 20% drop, as many are). I've been looking only on the web, basically rightmove.co.uk and primelocation.co.uk. If you have any additional suggestions I'd be glad to hear them. I'm under the impression that Property Bee is used after one has found a place and wishes to see its sales history.
  8. Hello, all, I have been reading this string, and others in the forum, with interest. I'm shopping around, from overseas, for a flat in the N4- N15 corridor, hoping to buy maybe early in 2010 when I have the down payment saved up. This would be a second home; I'm in the U.S. Unlike many of the others in your group, I'm in the low-end of the market - under 180K. It's hard to navigate the websites without knowing the area very well. For example, here is an extremely low-priced property that's been listed awhile, and I can't figure what the problem is; it's near a Tube station and the area seems okay. Does anybody have a guess? http://www.primelocation.com/uk-property-f...ZFNFJL007502523 Please don't be too concerned - I'm American but I speak very quietly. Thank you so much for your accumulated wisdom and experience.
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