Welcome to American Title Guaranty!

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American Title Guaranty and their underwriters provide stability, integrity, experience and personal service that home buyers and sellers should insist on.

Protect yourself against the loss due to title defects. Insist on title insurance policies from American Title Guaranty, Inc.

Please let us know if there are other things you’d like to see on the website or there is anything else we can do to help you have peace of mind in your unique situation.

Title problems can snag your closing

By Joe Gentile January 26

1-28-15You put your house on the market and you find a buyer right away who offered you not only your asking price but also was willing to pay in cash with no contingencies. Everything is going perfectly! But then it all comes crashing down.

The title company calls to let you know the title is not clear because there is an unreleased lien from 1997. They ask you for proof of payoff and release. You panic. Who keeps paperwork from that long ago?  And what is an unreleased lien?

The unexpected unreleased mortgage lien rears its ugly head all too often, according to those of us charged with shepherding consumers through the last stages of home buying.

This situation usually occurs when homeowners paid off their mortgage and continued to live in their homes without obtaining proof that the loan was paid in full. It is not until they try to sell or refinance that they discover they have an unreleased mortgage lien. By then the bank that originated the loan most likely has been absorbed by several bigger banks. It’s still possible to release the mortgage lien but it’s going to take a lot of work. And if you are the heir of the homeowner, it is going to be even more of a hassle.

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Freddie Mac: Housing to get boost in 2015 but it won’t last

Trey Garrison
January 20, 2015 4:01PM

1-21-15Freddie Mac says it expects mortgage rates to hover around 4% through mid-2015, and while there are some of the positive tailwinds buoying the economy at the start of the year, some may not stick around for long.

Expect mortgage rates to remain around 4% for the first two quarters of the year as long as uncertainty in foreign markets continues to result in a flight to safety into U.S. Treasury long-term bonds, the GSE reports.

“On balance there are a lot of positive opportunities in the U.S. economy at the start of the year, and the real question is whether or not households and businesses will be able to seize these opportunities and make the most of them. The reprieve in interest rates and drop in gas prices should help to spur economic growth,” says Frank Nothaft, Freddie Mac vice president and chief economist. “Until rates start to rise later in the year, housing markets should respond positively and we anticipate increases in home sales and continued improvement in construction activity. With rates lower at the beginning of the year, we’ll see higher than expected refinance volumes as well.”

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Guardian Mortgage: 4 bold predictions for housing

January 9, 2015
Marcus McCue

The past year was filled with record-low interest rates,steadily rising home prices and loosening mortgage-lending standard, making it one of the strongest years in the housing industry since the financial crisis six years ago.

More cities are beginning to return to normal as bustling economies, job growth and new home construction continue their three-year uptick back to prerecession activities.

And now that the housing market is diving into 2015, there is a new slate of predictions from rising home prices to the decline of the baby boomer homebuyer.

Here are four predictions for the 2015 housing market that we expect, here at Guardian Mortgage:

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Why Real Estate Could Soar in 2015

By Matthew Frankel
January 3, 2015

motleyfool1-5-15Following double-digit gains in 2012 and 2013, U.S. home prices grew at a much slower pace in 2014, with the average home increasing in value by less than 3%.

So what’s in store for 2015? While it’s impossible to know for sure what the future will hold, there are a few good reasons to believe 2015 could be an excellent year for real estate.

It’s getting expensive to be a renter
According to a report from Zillow, U.S. renters paid almost 5% more rent in 2014 than in 2013. Some areas of the country saw much sharper rent increases. For example, San Francisco saw its average rent rise by 14% in the past year. And because home prices rose by less than 3% in 2014, it’s fair to say that rent is getting expensive faster than home ownership is.

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Short sale tax break signed into law

Ben Lane
December 29, 2014 3:19PM

Homeowners who had short sales in 2014 can now breathe a giant sigh of relief, as the Mortgage Debt Forgiveness Act was signed into law by President Barack Obama.

Under the Mortgage Debt Forgiveness Act, any mortgage forgiveness achieved in a short sale is not counted as income for homeowners whom banks allowed to sell their homes for less than the amount of their mortgage.

The Act was due to expire in 2014, but was extended by recent votes in Congress.

The Mortgage Debt Forgiveness Act passed by a wide margin in the House of Representatives three weeks agoand passed 76-16 in the Senate two weeks ago.

But the Act wasn’t made official until President Obama signed it into law, which he did last week.

The extension only applies to short sales conducted in 2014. Any further extension of the short sale tax break would need to be taken into consideration by the newly elected members of Congress when the Congress begins its 2015 session in January.

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Merry Christmas for short sellers: Mortgage debt forgiveness is back

by Brittany Morris
Dec 17
A comprehensive tax bill that reinstates protections for distressed homeowners shielding them from having to pay taxes on mortgage debt forgiven in 2014 is headed for President Obama’s desk.

The tax break on forgiven mortgage debt, and another allowing homeowners to deduct mortgage insurance premiums, was one of 55 provisions in the Tax Increase Prevention Act passed Tuesday in a 76-16 Senate vote.

The House passed the bill 387 to 46 on Dec. 3, and Obama is expected to sign the bill into law, enabling the tax break retroactively through Dec. 31 of this year.

The Mortgage Forgiveness Debt Relief Act of 2007 was created in the aftermath of the housing bust, with the intention of protecting homeowners who lose their home in a short sale or deed-in-lieu of foreclosure from the double whammy of a whopping tax bill.

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4 predictions for the housing market in 2015

Chris Matthews @crobmatthews
DECEMBER 9, 2014, 11:42 AM EST

fortuneAt a recent panel discussion on the 2015 real estate market, the chairman of Standard and Poor’s Index Committee, David Blitzer, was asked to describe what the market will look like in one word. His answer? “Mysterious.”

His response tells us that, for one, the real estate market can confound even the experts. But, more importantly, it suggests that housing has reached an inflection point. With home prices in many markets at or above pre-bubble levels, we can no longer expect the “rebound effect” to power home values higher each month. Fundamentals, like population and wage growth, as well as the tastes of a new generation of home buyers, will dictate the trajectory of home prices in the new year. Here are four trends to watch for in the housing market next year:

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The Nation’s Housing: Lending changes expand pool of potential buyers

By Kenneth Harney
Washington Post Writers Group  •  Sunday December 7, 2014 12:54 AM

When buying a house, are you in the “No way I could possibly qualify” category? Not enough cash in the bank for a down payment or closing costs? Credit scores good but not great? So much deferred student loan debt that you assume any lender would slam the door?

Large numbers of Americans feel the same, in part because they read and hear that qualifying standards for mortgages are the strictest they have been in decades.

A study based on a statistical sample of potential homebuyers conducted earlier in the year by the mortgage company loanDepot found that almost 60 percent of people who say they want to buy a home aren’t pursuing it because they are convinced that their applications would be rejected. Three-quarters of them, however, concede that they haven’t checked lender requirements.

But changes are underway in the mortgage market that could give potential homebuyers a better shot at qualifying. Start with recent policy shifts at Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, the two dominant mortgage investors. Last month, both companies announced procedural changes that should encourage lenders to be less fearful that the mortgages they approve would be subject to costly buyback demands if the loans become delinquent.

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Moodys: Home sales and homebuilding will take off in 2015

Trey Garrison, December 4, 2014 12:26PM

houses_3Moody’s Investors Services is bullish on housing and homebuilding for 2015, as they say the year will start with near-record low inventories of completed and unsold new homes, and low inventories of existing homes.

They’re specific: The sector’s revenues will grow by more than 10% year-over-year through 2015, and weighted industry gross margins will exceed 20%.

“We expect total housing starts in 2015 of 1 million – 1.2 million, up from 975,000 – 1 million for 2014, and new home sales will climb to about 500,000 – 525,000, up from about 450,000 for 2014,” analysts say. “Prices will increase at a more modest rate than in 2014, but affordability will remain strong by historical standards, enticing buyers.”

So what will get homebuyers off the sidelines? Real household income growth must resume, they say, to bring that pent-up contingent of  first-time homebuyers to the table.

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Getting a mortgage is about to get easier

Joanna Campione
December 1, 2014 12:38 PM

New guidelines go into effect today aimed at making mortgage lending easier. The new standards stem from an agreement in October put in place to clarify when banks would be penalized for making mistakes on mortgages they sell to Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac.
Yahoo Finance Senior Columnist Michael Santoli says because the banks themselves are risk averse after the mortgage meltdown, they are very conscious of exactly what they are allowed to do and how they are supposed to treat loans. “They apparently had very unclear guidance from Freddie and Fannie about the rules of the road,” he says, “in terms of which types of mortgages were going to be acceptable for Fannie and Freddie to buy.”  Lenders have said this lack of clarity is why credit is tight and many consumers aren’t qualifying for loans.
The Urban Institute says 1.2 million additional home loans could be made per year as a result, according to the Wall Street Journal. Borrowers may see changes in the lending process within weeks. That may include a quicker turnaround time for mortgage applications. The Wall Street Journal says now it can take two months or longer from the time a consumer files an application for a loan to when the loan is actually made.

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