Archive for May, 2011
Scotia iTrade serves primarily as a Canadian online trading source. They’re popular in the realm, but given the abundance of American-based sources that are available from anywhere in the world, their Canadian approach doesn’t necessarily nab them any customers they wouldn’t already have.
That’s not to say they aren’t popular—they are. And they have a French translation on their website for those in the French speaking areas of Canada.
Regardless of their key demographic, Scotia iTrade still has a lot to offer. Simply put, Scotia has a wide variety of stocks at their disposal for easy and quick trading. Furthermore, they take as low as $6.99 per trade in commission, meaning traders get a better deal than with several other similar sources.
Their website is extremely user friendly, however. It doesn’t come with a full array of bells and whistles but Scotia gets something right in today’s market because they allow users to customize their own profile. They allow investors to create their own virtual world and personalize aspects of the trading process.
Scotia iTrade also offers an array of accounts, ranging from personal to non-personal accounts. They offer cash accounts, margin accounts, and cash optimizer accounts. Furthermore, they also tackle personal investments and retirement accounts, such as tax-free savings accounts and retirement savings accounts (separate from your traditional IRA).
Unlike many other services there’s virtually no start-up fee or minimum balance on your account. As their site advertises, all you need to start up is a check for $1 and a government issued ID. From there, you can set up an account through their website, personalize your page, and watch your accounts from there.
One perk of the Scotia iTrade site is that it gives you an Extended Hours trading source. What this does is give you access to the American markets even when the market hours are over. You can stay up to date with speculation on the market and important announcements, that way you can always be in peak trading condition.
Similarly, they set up a “watch list” for stocks that you want to stay up to date on. Or if you’re planning on selling a current stock at the appropriate time, it stays on top of that and notifies you when it reaches the correct point in the market.
Scotia Itrade also compiles a wide variety of analyst research as well. It forms a database from analysis done by trained professionals across the world. With this feature, they guide you in the right direction, help you understand the way the market works, and gives you a leg up on the competition.
Reviews of Scotia iTrade are primarily from Canadian sources, but most say favorable things. Because of the low fees, lots of people use Scotia. Furthermore, many people seem to favor their electronic transfer of funds. This makes it easier to quickly get going on a portfolio, allowing you to add funds from other bank accounts instantly.
One of the most prominent aspects of the service that people like is the do-it-yourself approach. People praise the fact that they can set up and design their own home page through the site.
Some reviews indicate a discrepancy from Scotia iTrade’s website, claiming that some trades result in up to $20 commissions for the broker, even though the service prides themselves on low fees.
For first time traders, Scotia iTrade might not be the right option. Given their Canadian base, it’s ideal for that crowd and there are a handful of more powerful options in the US.
However, Scotia does make it easy to transfer over existing portfolios, which is an added bonus for those who have already been in the investment game. They also give timely updates on the market, making it a useful source.
In the US, Etrade’s popularity is widespread. Of all the major online stock and investing services, Etrade advertises most heavily, indicating their prominence in the industry.
Etrade has been a leader in stocks and investing since its inception over 20 years ago. Even in the early 90s when the internet was still a fairly new creation, Etrade managed to establish themselves as a steady force in the investing and trading business.
They currently have over 4.3 million customers worldwide, with a net value of roughly $189 million. Unlike some online trade services, Etrade doesn’t require a large amount of money to start up and often finds you stock trades as low as $10 per share (if not lower).
One of the most promising aspects from Etrade is their full range of investment options and their tutorial website which helps the consumer find the right options for them. In fact, Etrade prides themselves heavily on their full range and emphasizes the importance of a well-rounded portfolio, which is something that not many other similar services focus on.
Like many similar sites, Etrade offers a wide array of modern technology to guide the consumer through the stock trading and investing process. Their programs go so far as to analyze risk, help you pick a retirement account, show you your current portfolio, and so on. There’s also an included income estimator and a search feature that helps you sort through both your current stocks and find potential future investments.
Should you need further information about your stocks Etrade also offers personalized assistance. They can set up a phone or personalized meeting where someone who’s professionally trained will run you through the process of buying and trading stocks. They even offer chartered retirement planning councilors. These specialists focus on both rollover and personal planning. Online chat and phone services are both options for your personal guidance sessions.
Unlike other similar services, Etrade also has an extensive grouping of tutorial videos available directly from their website. These videos specialize in specific topics, such as investment myths, how to protect your portfolio, and any other number of trade-related problems. Their videos are divided into three groups—basics, intermediate, and advanced—to help you with your specific problem.
Etrade is also available internationally and specializes in trading in international markets. Etrade is extremely popular in other countries such as China and many European countries. International investors use Etrade to get a jump on the American market, given how strong it typically is.
Reviews of Etrade are almost exclusively positive, with most consumers being extraordinarily fond of how simple it is to use the site, open up an account, and manage your stocks and bonds. Furthermore, consumers really like how informative the Etrade company is, specifically regarding their videos and tutorial programs.
As well as offering stock and investment services, Etrade also offers savings and checking accounts. This makes it extremely easy for a consumer to get involved in the stock industry since their funds are already attached to the Etrade site. There’s also a variety of Etrade apps for mobile phones of all sorts.
The Etrade customer service gets extremely high reviews as well. Those who’ve invested in Etrade for so long find that their customer service representatives are extremely easy to get along with.
The only real complaints regarding Etrade is that they take a hefty fee for their work. The pros seem to outweigh this for the most part, given their extensive information pool. But Etrade brokers tend to take a higher commission than other services.
The general consensus seems to be that if you’re a heavy trader, Etrade is a strong option. And although they do make it easy to get into the game and teach you what to do, it might not necessarily be the best site for beginning investors or those not looking to put much money into their investments.
Scottrade is a prominent online stock broker service with over 475 stores country-wide. They make it easy to set up a first-time account or to transfer over an existing portfolio with minimal hassles.
Although Scottrade is mostly an online service, unlike some other similar services they have stores where you can get one-on-one advice from licensed professionals. Part of the focus of their website is to help you find a branch near you so that you can get help in person and not be blindly stuck in the online world.
Reviews typically suggest that this is a favorable feature and extremely helpful for newer investors, since they’re not gaining their information from a website. Users of the service indicate that getting their advice from someone in person gives them a greater understanding of what they’re getting themselves into. Although there’s a lot of information on the internet it’s better conveyed in person, most people seem to believe.
This makes Scottrade a great stop for beginning investors. But for more experienced investors, they certainly won’t be in the dark. The website doesn’t cater to newcomers like many other services do—it almost assumes that the consumer knows what they’re doing.
It maps out things like minimum stock purchases, broker fees, and provides simple services like streaming quotes, up-to-the-minute updates, and so on. It doesn’t come with all the bells and whistles of other services. It doesn’t feature online tutorial videos, downloadable content or cell phone apps. It assumes the investor is either going to go into a store and talk to an individual or already knows what they’re doing.
Further evidence of this is that the website provides a service that compares any current investment brokers you are using to their own. It analyzes your portfolio, your broker fees, and so on and gives an assessment, pointing out how they can benefit you.
Scottrade prides themselves on reliability, which is a word pasted all over their website. Because they offer in-store help, they feel they’re a highly dependable option for anyone looking to invest.
On top of that, Scottrade opts out of having a minimum account balance and doesn’t charge inactivity or maintenance fees, giving them a big leg up on the competition.
Although their website is mostly straightforward, it does offer some information about the investment process. It doesn’t leave everyone in the dark, so if you’re a first time investor and haven’t been into one of their stores yet, you can still access extremely helpful information from a link on the site.
Scottrade’s reviews are almost exclusively positive. Most people praise the user-friendliness of their website and how easy it is to open an account. Opening a new trade account through Scottrade takes less than ten minutes according to most who review the service.
Furthermore, people praise the diversity of the site. Scottrade allows you to trade a wide variety of stocks, bonds, funds, and so on through their site at extremely competitive rates, which consumers favor greatly. Similarly, they appreciate the low cost of broker fees.
Scottrade also offers a popular mobile phone application, which allows users to trade on the go. With this application, you’re always connected and you’re always in the loop, so you can strike when the iron is hot and trade whenever you need to in order to maximize your stock trading.
The lack of fees also ranks highly among people’s favorite aspects of the service. Although some users seem to believe that there’s a minimum account balance, which could be something that varies from place to place (the Scottrade website doesn’t indicate that this is the case).
Scottrade has also received several compliments from well-esteemed publications and sources. Forbes consistently names them to be one of the leaders in the stock broker industry.
One of the most desirably parts of using TradeKing is the extent of which their investment options run. They’re seemingly limitless on the matter and keep up with everything in today’s industry. And they, like many others, offer a tutorial website to help the consumer find the right path to take.
On par with several other sources, TradeKing offers multiple resources to help the consumer get through the process of stock trading and investing. Their services include easy access to your portfolio, streaming quotes, interactive charts, and similar services. They also include detailed options trading, an options screener, a probability calculator, a profit and loss calculator and volatility charts.
If you’re wanting more information about your stocks Tradeking also offers personalized assistance like many other online services. However, unlike the others, their customer service is not available 24-7 which can be a problem considering the other sources have such a leg up internationally, both in regards to other markets and to being utilized by those in other countries.
Tradeking offers $4.95 flat rate stock buying broker assistance rates. They also cut special deals depending on how much you’re going to be investing. In many cases you can get a substantial discount by purchasing or trading a larger number of stocks or bonds.
Unlike other sites, TradeKing’s website isn’t particularly the most user-friendly. It’s straightforward, which might appeal to many. Their approach gets straight to the point, outlines the site’s key services, provides information about stocks and bonds in general, and otherwise helps the consumer get to the right conclusion and find the stocks that are right for them.
But they don’t have all the bells and whistles of some other similar companies. Granted, these bells and whistles are sometimes the downfall of the site—people get too caught up in them and then realize they don’t fully understand their own portfolio or what they’re investing in.
With Tradeking, however, you don’t need a large sum to initially invest. In fact there’s no minimum so you can pay as you go, unlike other services. And even after you’re started, there’s no required minimum that you keep in your account.
Tradeking, thusly, is ideal for a new investor. It’s easy to get going, and they’re straightforward enough to make the process easy.
Similarly, the reviews of Tradeking are mostly positive as well. People are fond of the no minimum account balance and the extremely cheap broker fees. If you’re not a high-income employee and still want to get going in trading, Tradeking might be the route you want to take.
Different from other services, with TradeKing you can get a $150 bonus if you refer somebody else. Even if that person had been with another service before, TradeKing will still offer you and them a $150 bonus for converting.
TradeKing has earned the distinction of receiving four out of five stars from Barron’s—the leader in investing criticism and insights—running from 2007-2011. Smartmoney also named TradeKing number one in customer service in 2010. Overall, TradeKing comes with several distinctions and promising awards.
They also feature online chat service, but like the rest of their customer service it’s not offered 24-7.
But with TradeKing’s extensive trader network, the consumer learns more about investment through the actions of others. Popular trades are analyzed and explained in full. This option differentiates their services from that of other online trading sites.
Thinkorswim, gives innovative trading platforms to investors and market titans alike and has received recognition by many as one of the industry’s best trading services. In existence since 1999, ThinkorSwim has grown and developed substantially, delivering powerful and straightforward technology which supports active traders.
The company has served as an internet-based broker for over a decade, bringing together all necessary parties for prime investment. But they exceed the call of duty by incorporating a high-class customer service option to their services.
Simply put, Thinkorswim educates consumers. They educate those looking to invest. And although they also set up the connection between the investor, trader, and the client, their approach centers around educating the potential investor.
Similarly, ThinkorSwim has it imbedded in their mission statement that they challenge the consumer to educate themselves about the industry and to figure out how to be the best trader and investor they can be.
More so than anything, ThinkorSwim is a vast array of knowledge. It’s an information source for those trying to get into investing or trading. It’s like a training program unto itself, getting the investor ready to dive into the market.
Opening an account is simply accessible from their site’s front page and unlike some services you don’t need to put in a large sum of money to get going (though it is required that you put in funds up-front to begin constructing your portfolio).
The website features up-to-the-minute updates regarding the national stock market (as well as stocks on a global scale). It also offers several programs to download and install on your computer that can run you through the way trading and investing works. ThinkorSwim is also credited with being the first online company to use Web 2.0 technology in their site, giving consumers much more interaction than other sources typically do.
Their software is state of the art, always updated and refreshed so that you don’t experience bugs or glitches. It’s all accessible from their website. Furthermore, they have Flash tutorials to help you use the software that you can download from them.
Because of their education approach, many consumers find ThinkorSwim to be an ideal site. It’s a little more of an alternative pick—some people don’t like to stray from the path and choose to go with the more mainstream and popular sources. But for a small, web-based start up, the ThinkorSwim mission resonates with many people and makes the trading process easy.
ThinkorSwim also offers seasonal or semi-regular promotions to draw in customers. Depending on when you’re trying to open your portfolio, you might get a deal and be able to sign up for extremely free or cheap. These specials, however, do fluctuate. However it’s not necessarily something you’re likely to find on another site.
The company has also won several awards, stemming from the Barron’s award sessions, which gives out awards for the best online brokers on an annual basis. They’ve earned a 4.5 out of a possible 5 stars on multiple occasions, also being named “best for frequent traders” and “best option for traders” in 2009, 2008 and several times prior.
ThinkorSwim also offers a prominent mobile phone application so you can access your account, get tips, and so on from your cell phone.
Reviews of ThinkorSwim are generally positive, usually complimenting its user-friendly approach and excellent training program. However, some people complain that they’re not great for international traders. Also, the site requires a $3,500 deposit to open an account. Although in reality this is a smaller amount than through many sites, it’s still not a pay-as-you-go option.
Interactive Brokers has been a successful stock agency in the United States (and several other countries, as well) for the past 34 years.
The company is based entirely online and still serves as one of the largest stock distributors in the world. Interactive Brokers instigates broker, dealer and proprietary trading businesses throughout 90 markets on a national scale. They offer direct access, online trading and clearing services to both institutional and professional traders alike for products traded online, including but not limited to stocks, options, futures, forex, bonds, CFDs and funds.
Furthermore they engage in self-market making for roughly 6,500 different electronically traded products. They and their affiliates bring in nearly 1,000,000 trades every day.
Simply put, they’re in the fore-front when it comes to online stock and trade distribution.
Their electronic trading actually pre-dates the prominence of the internet, meaning that they’re extremely ahead of the curve and know what they’re doing. Since they’ve been trading electronically for so long, the rise of the internet age has only given them an appropriate outlet to reach out on an international level.
Their website spells it all out for you—they connect you to what it is you’re looking for with a wide variety of options. They offer multiple trading platforms to fit your specific needs, as well as applications to install to further interact with your online trading experience.
IB offers access to electronic records of stocks, options, futures, forex, bonds and funds that originate from a wide variety of continents and countries, meaning you have the full palate when it comes time to buy or trade stock.
Since the site acts as a broker, connecting the investor or buyer with an investment, they tend to take a cut off the top. Any broker site is going to do this—that’s how they make money. However, given IB’s large volume of clients they’re able to keep these expenses down low, meaning that you aren’t paying heavily for your investments.
For those uncertain of what they’re doing or what to do, IB also offers somewhat of a tutorial course. This course is offered limitlessly and you can always download it from their website. It runs you through how to account for inflation, currency differences, and any number of other external factors—many of which are extremely complicated for the layperson to understand.
Because of this, they’re managed to hold onto a top spot in the world’s trading market. Their site also features up-to-the-minute updates so you can keep a close watch on the stocks in your portfolio.
IB also offers trade confirmation, so you aren’t kept in the dark about your important transactions and investments. This is a given of any company of the like, but definitely comes in handy.
Generally speaking, all user reviews of Interactive Brokers are positive. People commend the site’s accessibility, their vast array of information regarding current stocks, bonds and so on, and their customer service.
Specifically, people favor the interactive features of the site, including the installable applications and tutorial sessions. With these added features, the communication flow is at its highest and customers don’t feel overwhelmed by the process and thus are more likely to use and reuse the service.
And like similar services, IB keeps their fees and taxes low, so the consumer’s getting set up with the appropriate stock option and not losing a chunk of change in the process.
However, there are some drawbacks of the service, including its high start-up fee. In many cases, it requires you to begin with a $10,000 portfolio and isn’t easily accessible for those with lower incomes looking to trade.
This alienates lower-income customers but it’s not always a deciding factor—many people are still able to invest and trade. It does ring among one of the only cons of IB.
Questrade, based out of both Vancouver and Toronto, Canada, stands as one of the most popular stock trading agencies in the country.
Their services operate on many national markets, including the American one, which controls much of the world’s economy. Although their services are extended to anyone, they’re predominately a way for Canadians to tap into the US stock exchange.
Questrade serves as a broker, hooking up potential investors or small investment firms with stocks, bonds, funds and so on. Their online platform points the consumer in the right direction and helps them assemble their portfolio.
Their website provides the consumer with multiple options, but most importantly it allows easy set up of a new account. On the front page you can quickly set up and fund an account to be up and ready as soon as possible.
Questrade includes several tutorial services that make the investing process easier and that might help a new trader figure out what to do. It’s more geared towards those who aren’t necessarily high in the ranking as far as trades go. But it’s also not necessarily just for newcomers, either.
Before beginning your trading you can go to a particular spot on their webpage that runs through the basic outline with you. It tells you what you need to be looking for, when you need to be buying, when you need to be selling, and so on, featuring relevant graphs and videos to help through the process.
When you get ready to dive right in the process becomes incredibly simple. In fact, Questrade prides itself on being not only easy to use but also cheap—in many cases you’re able to buy and sell shares for as low as one cent, which many broker sites don’t accommodate or even allow.
Furthermore, they have implemented several approaches that would minimize the amount of money that goes to the broker, specifically with regards to mutual funds. They’re on your side when it comes to these types of funds, and they often offer services with a less than 1% commission, which you’d be hard-pressed to find elsewhere.
Because they’re a prominent business they have a high influx of customers which allows them to keep their broker fees down as well. Because they’re larger, they take a smaller percentage from a larger number of people, allowing them to stay afloat without cutting into what’s your money.
And what’s perhaps their biggest and best feature is their “lightning fast” trades. Their trading system, which is set up electronically, enables near-instant transactions so that you don’t lose your advantage or buy or sell a stock at the incorrect time. On top of that you get instant trade verification marking every single transaction so you can keep an accurate log of where your portfolio is heading and where it has been.
Unlike some services you don’t need a huge chunk of change to get investing—you can start for a very small fee (which, essentially, is up to you, based on how much you feel you’re willing to spend).
Reviews of Questrade frequently outline the service’s extremely cheap commission fee, which is extremely favorable to consumers. However some people complain about the accessibility of the web site. Complaints range from it overall not being user-friendly to their being glitches, and many people take umbrage with the fact that you need several different passwords to protect your account.
At any rate, Questrade is generally seen as a strong trading source in the Canadian industry, but also in the US as well, since it operates heavily off of the US market.
Capital One’s prominence in today’s financial world can’t be denied. They’re the frontrunners of credit lines and loans almost all across the board.
Their auto finance is no different.
Capital One determines the APR (the interest rate on an annual basis) based on your credit score, but they’re known to give low financing frequently. Sometimes their loans go as low as 2-3%, which is a covetable situation for anyone.
They offer loans for both new and used cars, often with used car loans having a lower interest rate. When it comes to buying a car, Capital One—which is entirely in the banking industry—often helps find deals and bargains, which isn’t common just from a finance provider. This is part of why they’re so popular in the US today.
To start off, Capital One has a program on their web site that runs you through the process of applying for the loan, finding a car, and applying it to your purchase. Many other providers don’t help in the actual process, they just help with the financing.
With Capital One, they serve as the middle-man in the process. Whereas some places like CarMax set you up with financing on the spot and sell you a car off their own lot, Capital One makes payments to the dealer and then you owe money to Capital One. Their loans have an APR and require monthly payments, but you’re able to pay above the minimum amount in order to more quickly pay off your loan.
Capital One sends checks to the dealer, and the frequency and amount of which are determined by an agreement that they reach with the dealer. All that you have to do is make your monthly payments to Capital One on time and they work out the rest of the details.
They also allow auto refinance as well. If you currently have another form of car loan, you can opt to refinance through Capital One and get a better rate. Since they deal directly with the dealer, they can work out the details of how to take care of your prior loan.
With the economy the way it is today, auto refinance is huge. The market for everything is down substantially and so people need more help with their payments, and this is where auto refinance comes into play.
But for those purchasing a new or used vehicle, the process is easy. Like any other form of loan, Capital One bases your APR on your credit score. APRs usually run between just under 3% and 12% with some rare exceptions being higher than 12%. Generally speaking, any loan with 3-6% interest is a pretty good deal, and that’s what Capital One is known for.
They also have both payment withdrawal, so that your monthly car payment automatically comes out of your account, and they have a website from which you can view your account. You can see your upcoming payments, interest rate, various fees, and total amount left. Such internet-based technology is now standard in the industry and it’s advised against ever getting into a loan that doesn’t offer such a service.
Unlike some loan providers, however, there are some vehicles that Capital One won’t finance. For example, any car they finance must be newer than 7 years old and must have fewer than 70,000 miles on it. Furthermore, they also don’t finance Oldsmobile, Daewoo or Isuzu cars.
When applying for a loan, you must provide proof of income, residency, and identification, which is standard for any major loan. Capital One auto loans can be applied to up to $40,000 with some exceptions, but it’s uncommon that you’d actually need this much for a practical vehicle.
If for some reason your loan is denied, you’ll receive a statement in the mail explaining why that is. For legal reasons, no one can give such information out over the phone.
At any rate, Capital One is always a solid choice for auto finance.
Mortgage protection insurance isn’t something that’s easy to understand. The overall process might be straightforward but there’s a number of common misconceptions.
First of all, mortgage protection insurance is an extension of life insurance. The way it works is this: you take a physical exam, a doctor determines how healthy you are, and it affects the premium you pay to protect your house.
Mortgage protection insurance essentially allows your loved ones to keep your house in the event of untimely death. If you’re still working into your 60s, then such a form of insurance would be a prudent option. If you’re younger, it’s not like it’s going to be entirely wasted, but it simply plays the same role as life insurance—you pay a smaller premium since you have lower odds of facing death.
This kind of insurance also is frequently scammed on the internet. Possibly because it’s key demographic is elderly people who inherently aren’t quite as familiar with the online world, it’s a commonly faked process on the internet, and sites like Rip Off Report have frequent postings regarding related scams.
With this in mind, the best place to get mortgage protection insurance is through an insurance provider you already have. If you already have homeowner’s insurance through a specific company, that would be an ideal source from which to acquire mortgage protection insurance. Furthermore, it’s possible that even your health care provider will offer some kind of similar insurance.
Commonly, these policies run up to about $400,000 but you likely aren’t going to need that much coverage. If you can find a trustworthy provider, you’re only going to need to insure the excess amount on your home so that if you’re unable to work any longer and make a decent income (or any income) your expenses will still be covered.
Similarly, in the US the government offers disability benefits as a part of social security. These benefits come out of taxes year after year, and you even had to pay them over time. Depending on how much you’ve worked in your lifetime, you might be eligible for decent disability benefits.
Generally speaking, these benefits aren’t very strong. They offer you a fixed monthly check that’s based on your work and tax history. If you’ve worked longer and paid more taxes, you’re eligible for a larger amount of money per month.
These checks usually won’t cover the full price of a mortgage payment but it will at least bring you fairly close. All other bills aren’t accounted for, of course. And that’s why it might be necessary to purchase supplemental insurance, such as mortgage protection insurance.
Your premium, or monthly fee, will be based on how likely they asses you to be to die or otherwise become impaired. In the event that such a thing happens, your surviving family (or you, if you’re simply disabled) will receive monthly checks based on whatever policy you’ve agreed upon.
This can alleviate the stress of finding a way to pay hefty bills when something unexpected happens. But as mentioned, stay away from the internet scams.
For example, most mortgage protection insurance is centered on death and disability. But on the internet it’s become increasing popular to offer insurance that protects against unemployment. Likely with the amount of unemployment that the country has seen in the past few years, this has become highly in demand.
Before diving in, evaluate the source from which you’re getting this particular kind of insurance. And stick with name-brand providers, possibly even household names.
Home mortgage loans are at an all-time low following the housing crisis that’s affected America over the past three years. Even with tax incentives to buy homes, the housing industry in general hasn’t been doing quite so well.
This downturn has resulted in a wide variety of low interest rates for home mortgages, and currently GMAC is on board with this trend.
GMAC’s a big name in the industry, serving on a national-level and providing thousands of people with loans on their houses.
The mortgage process is simple—the bank (in this case the GMAC Corporation) buys the property you’re wanting. Over the span of several years (most frequently closer to 30) you pay the loan off in the form of monthly payments. Like any other mortgage, you have an interest rate which (in most cases, but not all) is fixed.
GMAC has an online application process wherein you can find and apply for the loan that’s most suitable for your housing needs. However, GMAC doesn’t deal directly with real estate agents nor do they help you find a house. They’re more of a mortgage farm, being a third party to offer the money but not necessarily guide you along the process.
That doesn’t mean they’re not useful. Their website even has calculating functions to help you figure out how much money you’d have to pay on a monthly basis.
Regardless, GMAC is a service you utilize after you’ve found the correct house. Once you’ve found the house you’re wanting to purchase and reached a deal with the sellers and the real estate agents, you go to GMAC and apply for the loan. GMAC gets back to you with the rate they can offer you, which is based on your credit score, and you can go from there.
Like any loan provider, GMAC requires monthly payments. When it comes to a mortgage, weighing monthly payments versus the price to rent a place is always something worth looking into. But unlike renting, when you have a mortgage you technically own the property and you’re making payments that go towards your loan, so you’re slowly plucking away at the total amount you owe.
Factors such as your credit score and the amount you’re willing to make on a down payment affect how much GMAC will lend you as well as your APR and interest rate. If you miss a payment, you’re in danger of having a hefty late fee assessed and it’s probably going to dock your credit score. If you miss several, you’re in an unfortunate situation, as GMAC can technically repossess the house and you still legally owe them all the money of the loan.
GMAC offers different types of loans depending on whether you’re going to refinance your current mortgage or you’re looking to purchase a home. Some factors like APR and interest rate are different regarding which type of loan you’re looking to acquire.
Furthermore, GMAC also offers guidance into choosing the correct loan for you. Their website has an extensive program that helps you find what kind of loan you’d need, be it a fixed rate, variable rate, home purchase loan, refinance loan, and so on.
And before you even apply, GMAC offers credit counseling so that you know what to expect based on your current credit score. Since applying can be an arduous task, it might be worth looking into their credit counseling service before diving in so that you aren’t snagged by any nasty surprises.
GMAC also offers adjustable rate mortgages, which usually means that every five years or so your APR will adjust. In some cases this is ideal, especially if you’re repairing credit and know that in several years your credit might change. But it’s also one of the less common approaches when it comes to buying a home.
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