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5 Answers by Mark Goldman
Q: Finance, Credit Repair
What is a Future Delphi credit scoring and how does it work?
A: Experian is creating a "Delphi Score." Recall that Delphi is the oracle. It is intended to estimate the credit worthiness of people in relation to the economy. It hopes to predict our credit when the economy improves. Our credit may be adversely impacted during this economic downturn. The Delphi Score hopes to predict which consumers will have good credit when the economy improves. That is so vendors can start to sell now, to line up customers for when we are making more money and can pay our bills on time again.
Q: Finance, Real Estate
First-time home-buyer tax credit of up to $8,000 is expiring in November. Should this program be extended or expanded to all home buyers? Should it be increased to $15,000? Was is a temporary fix or has it helped the economy? What's your view?
A: At first blush, free money (tax credits) are always appealing. But, we are at a point of national debt where we must consider the cost and benefit of every dollar borrowed to stimulate our economy. I do not think we get a big enough return on our investment with this program. It locks the tax credit into a home without creating a stream of future additional economic benefits. I will post an article (at artofsaving.com) that future explains my thinking.
Q: Finance, Home Loans
Loan Modification: Are these programs actually working? Was anybody able to successfully renegotiate their mortgage payment and/or reduce loan amount? Everybody talks about loan modification, but are there any “success stories?”
A: Yes. But you may need to go delinquent on your mortgage before the bank will consider a modification. You will need to show a financial hardship and some ability to pay your revised mortgage payment. Be prepared for a long hassle. But the effort can help save your home and a lot of your money.
Q: Finance, Home Loans
What is the difference between $7,500 & $8,000 tax credits for first time home buyers?
A: It depends on the tax year when you bought your home. The $8,000 amount is for homes purchased in 2009. Consult with your tax adviser for special rules.
Q: Finance, Home Loans
How does owner financing work when using a note? Does the seller sell the note to get money up front? Is there a negative for the buyer if the note is sold?
A: All of the preceding is good informaiton.

I would add that the seller can take all or a portion of their equity as a note at the time of sale. If there is not equity in the property, the seller would have to bring cash to the closing in order to lend it to the buyer. The seller can agree to allow their note to be subordinate to a new first mortgage. This is more risky in the event of a foreclosure.

Seller notes can be sold. Usually to private investors who will pay a price that is determined by their required rate of return. If the investor wants a 12% yield, and the note is at 6%, the offer price on the note will be at a large discount, depending on the term of the note and payment history and loan to value.
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