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VINE VOICEon September 25, 2015
I found this book to be highly informative and helpful. It does a great job of explaining how the mortgage process works as well as the roles of those in the mortgage lending business. It arms you with real useable knowledge to avoid getting ripped off or exploited. It is extremely thorough in breaking down the various tactics and tricks used by lenders and brokers to fool unwitting home buyers into paying hundreds, or more likely tens of thousands, of dollars more than they believe they're signing to finance. Something as small and barely noticeable such as a certain number entered in the right box of a Good Faith Estimate can cost you tens of thousands of extra dollars over the life of the loan. One single digit that would likely go unnoticed or ignored by 90% of the people who see it without prior warning.

This book will explain the motivations and tactics of shady brokers and lenders. Not all brokers are bad. There are some very good hardworking honest brokers out there. However, many of the brokers who are bad aren't just bad but downright evil. Predatory brokers and lenders rely on naive purchasers because it's extremely easy to slip all kinds of extra fees and costs. Believe me, as in the case of that single digit statement above, junk fees and back-end boosting tactics are not always in-your-face obvious.

If you are considering buying a home anytime soon, do yourself a favor and read this book first. The tiny cost of this book could be made up at least 500% if you save on even one modest junk fee. Imagine if it saves you $20,000-50,000, which it can easily do. I can't recommend it enough, especially as someone who has already been burned by a bad homebuying experience. I made nearly eveyr mistake mentioned in this book. I almost felt like it was a case study of my mistake filled first home purchase.

But the book doesn't only focus on the negative. It also offers a wealth of useful Information about the many types of loans and funding available for single and multi-family dwellings. It offers information about many different grants and programs that can help different types of purchasers that meet the criteria (and it's not limited to low-income loans). It even offers some practical home buying advice such as why you probably shouldn't buy a home that may not be easy to resell.

While this book certainly touches a diverse range of topics, its primary focus is finance and the shenanigans that can occur during the initial financing stage. If you are seriously considering buying a home, I strongly suggest acquiring and reading books primarily related to the other aspects of the home buying process. Financing is just one aspect that can potentially be hazardous if you're not careful. A few others are:

* Shady sellers, (especially shady flippers).

* Self-serving buyer's agents who are more interested in fast turn-around times and commissions than their client's best interests. Finding a good buyer's agent is a must.

* Negligent home inspectors who miss major flaws but have ridiculously low caps on the liability of their carelesssness buried in their contracts.

There are many more pitfalls. So in addition to this book, I strongly suggest you find and buy a good book on how to find and buy a home that thoroughly covers other considerations outside of financing. I still strongly recommend this book as well. A book on the entire process may touch on financing just as this touched on a few other topics, but I doubt it will offer the same wealth of money saving tips and advice on how to avoid traps as this book.
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on February 8, 2016
This book was a great resource for my husband and I before we purchased our first house. I literally read the entire book in less than 2 weeks...I highlighted important info and put post-its on those pages so I could go back. It is A LOT of information.
I love how she broke down the reasons homeowners get financially suckered so I could keep a look-out for those types of things and know how to read the worksheets my bank gave me. I was actually able to catch some errors (that were obvious mistakes) that could have cost us later down the road.
The book is also an easy read and not entirely boring, which was a plus!
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on September 8, 2011
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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on April 4, 2012
If you are like me, you want to know as much as possible about a product or service before buying it. Refinancing a mortgage is no different. None of us are born with this knowledge.

After surfing the Internet and finding a fair amount of helpful information, I found excerpts of Carolyn's book on Amazon and knew I wanted it as my refi partner.

Even though I used the info as a refinance reference (Part II of the book), the first sections still spoke to me ("Bait and Switch-Determining Whether You've Been Duped," "Tricks at Signing," "Surprise Prepayment Penalty..."). I learned some costly mistakes I made on my first home purchase. Carolyn's examples on Good Faith Estimates and junk fees helped me understand how to spot negotiable charges on my GFE and eliminate or reduce them. Her personal experience in the mortgage industry is insightful-she is on OUR side to keep from getting ripped off.

Nothing beats knowing you did your homework and got the best refi terms available. Carolyn's book helped me navigate the terms of the refi of my home very successfully. In 2010 I saved over $1500 on closing costs and went from a 30-yr at 6.75% to a 30-yr at 4.375%! When I'm ready to go to a 15-yr loan I'll be looking for Carolyn's latest info.
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on July 1, 2014
The book is exactly what I am going through, loved the book I also emailed her also she responded with very in depth email. I mean she really cares. but I am a first time home buyer and well going through the loan process of first time home buyer. Everything in the book she mention of how the loan officer will react to questions is true. Some of them wouldn't show me a Good faith Estimate.
From my experience soo far, Loan officers don't depend and dont want a return buyer. they want to sell you the loan make their high profits and be done.
The book not only tells you but show how they make their profits. how the todays loan officers can bait and trick you at signing, yes you heard me right switch right at the signing table.

I recomend this book for anyone getting the a mortgage loan to read this book first. this should be a college text book. Ive read and i go back make my own notes. The book is that informed and that good
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on May 8, 2017
As another reviewer noted, this book is a little dated (it was written credit crisis). However, while the Good Faith Estimate and Truth in Lending disclosures are gone, there is still a lot of valuable advise here that you can use. For $12, it's a bargain!
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on January 6, 2013
If you've read 2+ mortgage books already, you might not need this book

Author Goes into great detail on Home buying process, Refinance process, and "Unique Situations." The author spends a great deal of time explaining to you what all the terms are, why they are bogus charges, and the like. For example, the section on "Prepay Penalties" was very helpful for us, since we now know we can demand it removed before signing. Instead of finding out 10 years from now that we are going to get charged $10-$20k due to ignorance at the time of purchase.

I purchased this book and "Finding the Uncommon Deal: A Top New York Lawyer Explains How to Buy a Home For the Lowest Possible Price". Together, with these two books and a bit of online googling/updating myself, I feel very prepared for our first home purchase.

It is amazing to me that I will be saving $1,000 - $40,000 or more from a $18 Book purchase..
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on August 23, 2015
Needs to be updated.
It is a good book in terms of revealing the devil tricks everyone in mortgage industry using it against home buyers to rip them off.
However the book dates back to 2006 - 2007 and this is before the economic recession of 2008. Since then a lot of things in mortgage industry have changed --some of those big mortgage loaners are nonexistent today and mortgage rules and forms have changed.
I still recommend everyone to read it as general guideline and a history book of mortgage in USA.
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on August 1, 2016
Excellent book! The author explains what mortgage fees are necessary, and which are junk, providing several clear examples throughout.

Originally published in 2007, it's now a bit outdated due to new lending laws passed in 2015. Instead of asking for 3 good faith estimates before applying for a mortgage, one should ask for a cost estimate worksheet, or fees worksheet.

This book is still 100% worth your time, unless you enjoy being taken advantage of.

Use her blog posts on her website for updates and supplementary information to this book.
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on May 12, 2011
I am a first time home buyer under contract and looking for a mortgage. I have been looking at mortgage rates on the internet for a couple of weeks but don't really know how to compare them, with the different rates, APR, and fees. Stumbled upon Carolyn's book on Amazon, and immediately bought it based on the good reviews. And I have to say this book has been the most valuable $12 I have ever spent, and has been a money saver and a timer saver. On top of that, Carolyn has been incredible in replying to my emails.

Before reading the book, I knew nothing about getting a mortgage, besides knowing that I have to pay interest on it. I did not know how to compare mortgages, did not know about the basics like Good Faith Estimates and Truth-In-Lending forms, let alone par rate and YSP. The book is very easy reading but with a lot of information. In a matter of a few days, I finished the first 8 chapters and made a list of 2 brokers (one referred by my agent and another found on Zillow), and a bank. Armed with the information, I called to request the GFE and TIL. I asked about the par rate and the YSP on the loan, and a broker sounded surprised and I could sense a change of tone in his voice. He even complimented about my knowledge of the mortgage industry.

The 3 quotes I got were similar in fees but the rates were different, and one being lower than any rate I have seen on the internet. I was very skeptical of that low rate and feared that it might be a bait and switch. I wanted an opinion and so I emailed the author Carolyn. I received a response in a few hours and she too thought the rate was low and suggested that I ask the lender about his low rate. I called the lender back and he responded that he keeps a low commission to keep his office busy instead of waiting for the next big one, and that he would not jeopardize the good reviews on Zillow he has worked so hard for. I liked the response and emailed Carolyn, who thought it was OK too. I have now applied with the lender and hope things will go smooth.

A big THANK YOU to Carolyn for the book and her responses to my questions. Her book and advice have saved me time and money, and freed me the worry associated with getting a mortgage. Buy the book and you will know what I mean.
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