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.

Lenders begin easing requirements to get a mortgage

By KENNETH R. HARNEY

A closely watched index that tracks mortgage credit availability — lender requirements on credit scores, down payments and other key loan terms — has some good news for potential home buyers: Things are finally loosening up.

After years of progressively tighter rules on borrower eligibility in the wake of the housing bust, banks and mortgage companies have begun modestly easing their requirements and even expanding the types of mortgages they offer. The Mortgage Bankers Assn.’s latest credit availability index reported improvements in all four of its loan categories during January. The improvements mainly reflect positive lender responses to government efforts to ease regulations and improve affordability in the housing market — all of which means an improved environment for mortgage shoppers

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Low down payments make a comeback

CNNMoney (New York) February 17, 2015: 8:28 AM ET

“It’s one of the things that’s inhibiting first-time homebuyers,” said Rob Chrane, president of Down Payment Resource. “There are a lot more people who can qualify for a home that don’t realize that they can.”

FHA cuts insurance costs

The Federal Housing Administration has long backed loans for borrowers with lower credit scores and with down payments as low as 3.5%, but until this year it also required hefty insurance payments.

FHA monthly insurance premiums dropped dramatically at the beginning of 2015. The change, from 1.35% to only 0.85%, will make FHA loans a better choice for some borrowers after years of prohibitively high premiums, said Anthony Hsieh, chief executive officer of loanDepot, one of the largest FHA lenders in the country.

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Home Loan Programs Let Buyers Put Less Down

FEB. 6, 2015
By Tara Siegel Bernard

2-10-15One of the biggest hurdles to buying a home is accumulating the pile of cash for a down payment. By some estimates, it could take two decades to come up with a respectable 10 percent.With the introduction of several new programs, prospective home buyers with little money to put down now have more options to consider. But they will need to sort through the many rules and fine print to find the most cost-effective loan, and they may ultimately come to the realization that it actually pays to wait and save a bit more.
Both Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac recently introduced similar programs aimed at middle-income borrowers that permit down payments as low as 3 percent. And the Federal Housing Administration, which insures loans and generally requires down payments of at least 3.5 percent, recently lowered one of its fees, making the program a bit more competitive with the two new options.

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Real estate is missing an opportunity to reach qualified buyers

by Rob Chrane
Feb 2

inmanAfter decades of operating on the day-to-day transactional side of this industry as an agent and lender, I now enjoy a unique vantage point where the housing industry intersects — real estate, mortgage lending, quasi-governmental housing agencies, policymakers and nonprofit organizations, and, of course, the homebuyer. My observations over the past five years have reinforced some of my long-held beliefs while challenging and even altering others.

First, what hasn’t changed is my respect for real estate professionals who make an honest living in this crazy business. What has changed is my appreciation of how difficult it is for many people and organizations to shake outdated perceptions when opportunity calls.

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3 Things Consumers Should Consider When Shopping for a Title Company

January 29, 2015

WASHINGTON — Purchasing a home is the single largest investment most consumers make in their lifetime. Soon the spring homebuying season will begin and the American Land Title Association (ALTA) reminds consumers of the three most important things to consider when shopping for a title company.

    1. The cost for title insurance varies across the United States and homebuyers need to make certain they have proper protection for their investment.

      To determine title insurance policy premium costs in your area consumers should talk to a local title company. When comparing fees, it’s important to get detailed information about what services are included in a fee to help ensure equal comparisons. In some states, the seller pays for the owner’s title insurance policy. Consumers should also consider and compare all of the associated costs. Some rates may or may not include other services provided by the title company such as conducting the closing, preparing and notarizing documents and other services. When comparing one rate to another, be sure to get detailed information on what is included in that rate, so you are comparing equally. For more information about title insurance, please visit www.homeclosing101.org.

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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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