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118 of 124 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars This Book Taught Me Everything I Needed to Know in 24 hrs...Run to the Store and Get it...You Will Not Be Sorry!
Ah, where do I begin?

I am someone who had to learn the hard way about real estate. I looked to buy my first house in areas that had goldmine rushes in appreciation, like Princeton, NJ, Kapaa, HI and finally settled on Portland, OR--one of the most competitive markets in real estate history (last year, prices raised 150 grand in 3 months, and the bubble still...
Published on May 31, 2007 by Elizabeth R. Mueller

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76 of 97 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Potential pitfalls to consider
I have as much, if not more, experience in residential retail and wholesale mortgage lending as the author. There are more than enough (justified) positive reviews praising the information and advice presented in this book. However, most of these are homeowners not educated or experienced in mortgage lending and therefore do not have the full picture. In the interest of...
Published on March 8, 2008 by ESM


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118 of 124 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars This Book Taught Me Everything I Needed to Know in 24 hrs...Run to the Store and Get it...You Will Not Be Sorry!, May 31, 2007
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
This review is from: Mortgage Ripoffs and Money Savers: An Industry Insider Explains How to Save Thousands on Your Mortgage or Re-Finance (Paperback)
Ah, where do I begin?

I am someone who had to learn the hard way about real estate. I looked to buy my first house in areas that had goldmine rushes in appreciation, like Princeton, NJ, Kapaa, HI and finally settled on Portland, OR--one of the most competitive markets in real estate history (last year, prices raised 150 grand in 3 months, and the bubble still has not burst.)

I was in contract multiple times, but since the houses I liked were old, they were plagued with foundation issues, dry rot, water damage...I was so used to bad inspections and dropping properties, I almost fell out of my seat when a perfect, 6 bedroom, Victorian, commercial space had an excellent report.

I was so focused on the front end of my deals, negotiating into contract, I had neglected studying the loan process.

When the sellers to my dream house learned they had backup offers close to 100 grand more than I paid, they did everything they could to throw my deal and restrict my timetable to get a loan. They asked for a week long extension on my inspection period, pretending they would repair misc. small items and then returned saying not only did they not call in contractors, they would not grant me an extension on the close date and practically cackled in my face,"Have fun getting a loan!" I had 2 weeks.

I read 4 books on mortgages, but still felt unprepared. Then, by sheer luck, I found Carolyn Warren's, Mortgage Rip-Offs and Money Savers and it saved my entire deal.

This book is THE most informative, concise, entertaining book you will ever read on mortgages. It is an absolute crash-course, packed with minute details on the dirty, ugly, greedy world of mortgages.

She tells you how to find a loan in one day, what to say to the lenders, how to cut out their sales pitch and get facts, and she warns you about scams --and trust me, even the most reputable companies, will try to deceive you.

I ended up frustrating so many lenders because I would catch them at every turn. Warren's book gives you the power to anticipate the games these companies will play with your time, money and future investment. I had no idea how loan officers can be worse than car salespeople and they are relentless.

What will they do to you? Lie, lie and lie some more. They will pretend they cannot get you Good Faith Estimates or Truth-in-Lending forms without running your credit or taking an application fee (never pay this!), they will say their "computers are down" and want to run numbers verbally (thus, it is not binding), they will quote good deals and then act like they made a mistake-more bait and switch, they will not tell you what the wholesale price of their loan is and how much they over-charged you, they throw in junk fees...but even when you think you have it nailed in writing, they can surprise you at the closing table--especially, if they know you are pressed for time and love the house--they will try to change terms or slip in new charges, and conveniently be "unavailable" to correct blatant errors, in your final moments.

In addition to her book, Carolyn Warren runs a website where you can email her questions. She answers within a day and will even look over your Good Faith Estimates and Truth-in-Lending forms. She claims she will save you twice as much money in your closing costs then she charges you, or else your consultation is free.

I was so terrified of losing this deal and expressed my desperation in an email, Carolyn even took the time to call me and give me additional advice.
I am not sure if she does this for everyone, my situation was pretty extreme...so, I hope my stating this will not result in overwhelming requests for a phone call from her...but I feel I should include this in my review because she was incredibly kind and she armed me with the knowledge I needed to protect myself. (Thank you, Carolyn!)

And here are some extra pieces of advice, from me. When you look for a mortgage broker, google "Upfront Mortgage Brokers." They have a website, with state directories of lenders and brokers. You can read about their philosophies on the website. They will not hassle you about getting Good Faith Estimates or Truth-in-Lending forms...(at least they won't pretend their "computers cannot generate these" without paying a fee--as Countrywide tried to scam me.) But do NOT let your guard down. Follow Carolyn's advice, watch the junk fees, use her service--if you want an extra pair of eyes to catch something on the forms. Even the "Upfront Mortgage Brokers" will mess with you. Be Vigilant.

Finally, when you notice a Realtor or Mortgage agent is making "mistakes"--but then is suddenly out of the office or town, not taking your calls? Always get their cell numbers before your time line crunch hits and try dialing *67 before their number. This blocks your number from registering on their Caller ID. Most likely you will nab them, because they won't want to miss important phone calls from other potential suckers--oops, I mean clients--and you can demand time-sensitive documents be handled/fixed and not ignored.

I wish all of you luck and happiness in finding a home. And I promise you, buying Mortgage Rip-Offs and Money Savers, by Carolyn Warren, will be one of the best bargains you will ever find. I gave this book, as a gift to several friends and they are like me--they cannot shut up about how great this book is! No joke.
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52 of 55 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Not an option to skip this book...., August 23, 2007
This review is from: Mortgage Ripoffs and Money Savers: An Industry Insider Explains How to Save Thousands on Your Mortgage or Re-Finance (Paperback)
This book is absolutely amazing.

I'm currently shopping for a mortgage and was *almost* roped in by several of the tactics Carolyn outlined in her book. My husband and I started our house buying process with the intent to use the builder's financial mortgage services. We got pre-approved using my ss#, income and asset info which was a fairly straightforward process. The builder threw in a 12,500k lot discount and offered us $1,500 credit on closing costs. Our mortgage consultant spent a great deal of time going through various options and even talked about interest rates (6 months outside of the close date). At the time I had no idea what I was doing and so I trusted her to provide me with all of the information I needed to make a decision.

Fast forward to five weeks ago (today is 8/20).

My mortgage consultant essentially faded away. She didn't return calls. She didn't respond to requests for GFEs (if you don't know what that is, buy this book), but finally did after the forth request. Although Carolyn suggests that you shouldn't 'shop' mortgages, I did after reading the 'secrets' and changed my whole approach to the process.

First, my builder's mortgage lender considered us a slam dunk. We were locked into using them otherwise we'd lose our discounts. After reading the book, I decided to call two other brokers one of who responded with 4 GFEs within 45 minutes. I made it easy for him to get them for me because I outlined all of the information Carolyn stated that he needs to generate these. In addition, I asked him point blank the questions that SO MANY people fail to ask!! I'm not going to give you the list because it's in the book (if I quit my job to write a book about the secrets, I wouldn't want someone spilling the beans)!

I asked about some of the fees and here's how he responded:

App & Commitment Fees: With my stellar credit and all of my paperwork ready to go, I promise it will be a very clean loan. "The commitment fee is the only charge from the lender. It is to cover their cost of doing business. I have no leeway in reducing or waiving that fee. As a broker, every lender we have use will have a similar fee. As for the application fee, this is our only fee and I can look into reducing it but I can't waive it completely."

Attorney Courier Fees/Copy/Fax/Email Fee: Again, I'll have all of my paperwork to you early August for a September 12th close date. "Just based on our conversations I can believe that this loan will be very clean and painless for both parties. You are a much more educated borrower than we normally see. The fees that the attorney charges for your closing that is shown on the GFE are an estimate that should cover most attorneys no matter where they are. If you have an attorney that you want to use (and it is your choice) that will negotiate their fees, please let us know. Again this is a third party fee that I cannot negotiate or reduce, whatever they charge is passed along to you with no mark up on our end."

I was amazed when he said, "Your much more educated borrower than we normally see." All of my questions and comments to him came from understanding these dirty little mortgage secrets.

To make a long story short: this book gives you all of the information you need in order to make an educated decision about one of the most important decisions in your life.

The builder's mortgage lender's closing costs are $11635.00 and the new broker's are $6,800.00 and he disclosed every fee and commission (whereas the builder's lender would not). The builder's lender charges a higher rate than the new broker even though I have stellar credit. The builder's lender didn't even try to find a competitive rate for us because they *knew* the discounts would keep us hooked.

My personal mortgage tip for the day: when you see these types of discounts continue to do your homework!! Do not be fooled and by all means, don't sign something saying you'll lose them if you use someone else (like we did).

In the end, we were able to finally negotiate the discount and closing fees using another lender. Had I not purchased and read this book, we would have paid a lot more for our mortgage.

buy today....
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21 of 22 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent resource guide, July 8, 2007
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
This review is from: Mortgage Ripoffs and Money Savers: An Industry Insider Explains How to Save Thousands on Your Mortgage or Re-Finance (Paperback)
This book is an excellent resource for mortgages. If you really want to know tips, advice or directions, Carolyn gives it to you in easy to understand languge. No industry jargon; plain simple english. Step by Step approaches. I think everyone thinking of getting a mortgage should FIRST read this book. It is about time someone is honest and straightforward about the mortgage industry and the process. Don't get a mortgage without it!
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76 of 97 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Potential pitfalls to consider, March 8, 2008
This review is from: Mortgage Ripoffs and Money Savers: An Industry Insider Explains How to Save Thousands on Your Mortgage or Re-Finance (Paperback)
I have as much, if not more, experience in residential retail and wholesale mortgage lending as the author. There are more than enough (justified) positive reviews praising the information and advice presented in this book. However, most of these are homeowners not educated or experienced in mortgage lending and therefore do not have the full picture. In the interest of balance in these reviews, homeowners and potential homeowners reading this book should consider the following:

1. Be careful how much weight you give to the Good Faith Estimate and making a loan decision based on the "best" GFE that has been provided to you by mulitple lenders. A GFE is simply that - an estimate (aka "guess") of what your final settlement charges may be. It is by no means a written offer of credit or guarantee of those fees. While the lender is required to provide a second GFE if the loan terms change significantly, they are not bound to honor any of the terms quoted to you in your initial Good Faith Estimate. The reason for this is because the nature of mortgage lending means that it is impossible to guarantee or quote with 100% accuracy the exact rate and fees of any mortgage loan (even "locked" loans) until that loan has been completely processed, underwritten, and approved. The beginning stages of any loan process and the initial information you are provided about any mortgage loan is always going to be based off HUGE assumptions that may or may not be correct. This is especially true in today's marketplace. These days, its nearly impossible to predict what a particular home is going to appraise for (the most important aspect of any loan proposal) and loan products, guidelines, and interest rates are changing daily - sometimes hourly. The extreme instability in housing and mortgage markets right now makes it almost impossible for even well-intentioned and honest lenders and brokers to quote with any amount of certainity what your final loan terms and settlement charges are likely to be 30 days from now.

2. Be careful entering a race to the bottom regarding loan fees. The loan with the fewest fees or the lowest fees is not automatically the best. The term "junk fees" is subjective. Every single fee charged in any mortgage transaction could be classified as "junk" in one way or another. When you're the one paying them, all the fees seem like junk fees. What's important is to take the total cost of the loan (all fees combined) and compare it to the total benefit (all benefits combined) and, like anything, determine if the cost outweighs the benefit. Very rarely will 3 different Loan Officers working at 3 different companies structure the same indentical loan proposal for you. The cost vs. benefit of each should be judged on its individual merits.

3. Be extremely cautious with "Credit Repair" companies and people claiming they can fix your credit (i.e. remove collections, bankruptcies, judgements, etc.). In almost all cases, "credit repair" involves disputing legitmate debts and other information contained within your credit report. People who practice credit repair rely on a consumer protection law that forces creditors to prove the legitmacy of a negative item on your credit report within a certain timeframe or they are forced to remove it. All credit repair involves the practice of disputing every single negative item on your credit report and counting on the fact that the creditor will not produce the proof of the debt or negative pay history of the debt within the specificed timeframe and therefore be forced to remove it. The vast majority of negative items reporting on anyone's credit report are going to be legitmate debts. Therefore, the practice of credit repair involves disputing (claiming the debt isn't yours, or that you were never late on it, etc.) debts that are perfectly legimate and correct. This is called fraud and its illegal. Disputing a debt you know to be valid, or allowing someone to dispute it on your behalf is not only illegal, its unethical and dishonest.
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14 of 16 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Good advice, for 2007. Now outdated., May 28, 2010
This review is from: Mortgage Ripoffs and Money Savers: An Industry Insider Explains How to Save Thousands on Your Mortgage or Re-Finance (Paperback)
I read the book from cover to cover and was impressed with the insight and advice offered...until I spoke with a friend who is now in the process of getting a mortgage and learned that much of what I learned from the book is outdated. For example, the book teaches that you should get the Good Faith Estimate from multiple lenders before you apply for a mortgage and how to read the Good Faith Estimate. After the housing crisis, however, regulations changed, and now you can't get a GFE until after you apply for the loan, and the format of the GFE changed so much of what the book teaches about how to read it is now irrelevant. The author needs to update this book for it to be useful.
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9 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A gem of a book - No standard pap here, May 6, 2007
By 
This review is from: Mortgage Ripoffs and Money Savers: An Industry Insider Explains How to Save Thousands on Your Mortgage or Re-Finance (Paperback)
There are some legitimate reasons for not buying this book. The number one reason for not buying it is if you are not in the market for a mortgage. Another reason would be that you didn't have any family members, friends, or associates looking to buy a house in the foreseeable future that you would like to be able to help.

If on the other hand you think it might be useful for you, (even essential) to get "real" information about mortgages - BUY THIS BOOK!!!

I'm a reasonably intelligent university graduate who I thought knew which way was forward regarding mortgages. However, after reading Carolyn Warren's book Mortgage Rip-Offs and Money Savers I found out that what I knew about mortgages was and is not sufficient.

I already have a mortgage, so I must know about mortgages, right? Wrong. Additionally, like most people, I have read the "standard" kinds of information about mortgages that we all know. I thought this should be enough - shouldn't it? The answer in a word - No.

I guess in all fairness I should qualify the above statement. Standard information "is" enough if all you want to do is to get a basic feel for the "ABC's" of how mortgages work, and how to get one. Speaking for myself, I am not put off by the name of the "Idiot" and "Dummies" series of books. There are several books in those series that have good, solid, valuable information about mortgages. Unless you are put off by the name, it's hard to go wrong reading one of these books.

On the other hand if you are particularly interested in saving money, and getting "insider" type tips that can help you get the best deal possible, then Mortgage Rip-Offs and Money Savers is the book for you. None of the other books that I have seen even come close to giving you the kind and quality of information that you get from this book.

The book is so amazing that I started learning from it before I even opened it! On the cover, one of the blurbs said ... "why calling around for the best interest rate is a BAD idea"... That surprised and taught me something right then and there. Before I got this book I thought: of course I'm going to start the process by calling around for the best interest rate. It seems like it would make sense to do that. Why wouldn't I? Inside the book the author tells you why not.

Before I go any further let me say that although most people would consider me a frequent book buyer (I'm sure amazon.com loves me, and I love them), I have never written any feedback before. Why? It's simple. Although I have read many good - even excellent books, I have never been moved to the point of taking the step of actually writing feedback. I would imagine that there are probably a lot of people out there who are in the same boat as I am with respect to this.

The reason I mention that I am new to the feedback world is because I have seen some feedback (not on amazon.com) that crosses the line and literally divulges all of the pertinent essences of a book in a kind of "Cliff Notes" fashion, almost to the point where it is not necessary to buy the book!

At this point in time I'm not comfortable doing that. I guess if I find out that it's ok to do that in the feedback world, I will, or I won't leave anymore feedback. At present however, it seems to me a bit unfair to the author to do that.

The role of feedback as I see it is to give you my impression of a book, my opinion as to whether you should buy it, and why - not divulge the contents of the book.

Should you buy this book? I think you already know my answer to that. Why? Because for the price of a pizza you will get a book that will not only teach you about how mortgages really work, but can literally save you thousands of dollars, and help you to avoid costly mistakes in the process.

This is a very unique, special book in the mortgage field. It's a real find, a gem. In my opinion buying this book is a "no brainer" - just do it. If you're like me, you'll be very happy that you did.
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12 of 14 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Somewhat outdated, February 2, 2011
By 
This review is from: Mortgage Ripoffs and Money Savers: An Industry Insider Explains How to Save Thousands on Your Mortgage or Re-Finance (Paperback)
Quick review:
The good faith estimate (GFE) form that the book talks about was updated in early 2010. Yes, many of the items on the new form are similar to the old form, but it is a waste of time to understand a term to find out that it is called something else on the new form. Case in point, the Yield spread premium (YSP), which the author calles the "biggest secret" of the industry, and worries that it is easy to miss on the old GFE. Well on the new GFE, it is called a "Credit" and is mentioned much more clearly. The author talks about the new GFE in her new book: "Homebuyers Beware: ...", but this book should be updated ASAP. With the GFE form, the lenders will come up with new ways to obfuscate the information, and hence all the sections where the author talks about things to watch out for in the old GFE form are now obsolete. Yes, I could figure out where the same items are mentioned in the new GFE, but if I have to figure out things by myself why do I buy this book in the first place?
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9 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent book for anyone thinking about buying a house!, July 13, 2007
By 
This review is from: Mortgage Ripoffs and Money Savers: An Industry Insider Explains How to Save Thousands on Your Mortgage or Re-Finance (Paperback)
I didn't know the first thing about how to find a loan officer and/or mortgage. I read Carolyn's book and now I feel completely confident in choosing the right type of loan and the right loan officer. Carolyn lays out easy steps to take to get GFEs and how to pick a fair and honest loan officer. It was easy to read and I would recommend it for anyone looking to get a mortgage.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Saved my refinance!, September 8, 2011
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
This review is from: Mortgage Ripoffs and Money Savers: An Industry Insider Explains How to Save Thousands on Your Mortgage or Re-Finance (Paperback)
When I bought my home in 2006 I was uneducated about the housing market and loans. I recently decided to refinance my home and read four different books to learn all I could before doing so. This was by far the best. Not only does it give excellent information, but also the author wrote it in a way that held my attention. It was not a dry, boring read by any means. She used intriguing real life examples that helped me understand the mortgage industry from the inside out.

Because of the method outlined in this book for loan shopping, I was able to lock in at an extremely low rate for my refinance. If it wasn't for this book I know I would have NEVER been able to get the rate I currently have. In fact, when I brought up YSP (a term covered extensively in the book) to one of the brokers I was shopping, he started stumbling over his words and could hardly speak! Needles to say I got him to drop the rate excessively. Thanks Carolyn!

The only downfall to this book is that the lending laws have changed since it was written. But in reality I wouldn't consider it an issue because the method still works the same, you just ask for a Fees Estimated Worksheet instead of a Good Faith Estimate to use to compare lenders, which is all covered in the book. And how do I know this? I know because I emailed the author and asked, and she wrote back the very same day! How many authors will do that? I couldn't be happier with this purchase, and I know for a fact it is saving me thousands of dollars in my refinance. Certainly worth the few dollars it costs to buy the book if you ask me.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Absolute Must Read, March 23, 2009
By 
Clifford "Cliff" (San Diego, US, Canada) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Mortgage Ripoffs and Money Savers: An Industry Insider Explains How to Save Thousands on Your Mortgage or Re-Finance (Paperback)
READ THIS BOOK! I have never written a recommendation for a book before but this is so important - I absolutely had to. Since it's the biggest purchase you'll ever make, you must do your homework. I never read the book from cover to cover, just concentrated on the sections that applied to my situation. This book actually saved me thousands of dollars. Your banker or broker will know you've done your homework and they will be less inclined to RIP YOU OFF"

The most amazing thing is the author says to e-mail her your GFE (if you don't know what that is then you need to read the book - because this is where they can nail you), and for a nominal fee, she will make sure it's legit. If she can't save you some money, there's no charge. What do you have to lose?

Late one evening, I e-mailed Carolyn not expecting too much. Much to my surprise, I received a response the next morning. Fortunately - since I had read her book - my GFE looked good. She did tell me that I could get a better interest rate. I told her I was locked in at 6.375 and she told me to have them change it, regardless of the fact that I was locked in and if they wouldn't that I should tell them to find another bank that would. I tried this tactic and it totally worked. Within the next day my rate was down to 6%.

Not only was I able to communicate with the author of the book, but I also saved thousands of dollars and avoided getting ripped off.

Thank you Carolyn
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