Top 10 Articles in 2012

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  • Mortgage and debt are the top subjects for readers.
  • Our new Debt Consolidation Calculator is a hit with readers.
  • The President's proposed 'HARP 3' program is also popular.

Top 10 New Articles in 2012's editors produced dozens of articles and answered hundreds of reader questions in 2012. Here are the top 10 articles we wrote that you voted with your feet, as it were, to make the most popular.

It's not surprising that mortgages dominate the list with six stories. Of those six, the most popular cover the President's proposals to open up HARP to non-GSE loans. So far, the "HARP 3" idea has not gained any traction in Congress. Our other top mortgage-related stories cover how to find a HARP lender, and a new custom home loan program offered by Quicken.

The other top items focus on how consumers can deal with debt. Our top debt story in 2012 wasn't a story at all, but is a new calculator that helps readers understand the cost of debt. It also shows tactics and strategies to reduce the cost of debt.

Check out these stories to see what your fellow readers found helpful in 2012.

HARP 3.0 Mortgage Loan Refinance | Beyond HARP 2.0

Will there be a HARP 3.0? If there is a HARP 3.0, what form will it take? Will underwater borrower’s find relief?

Various recommendations and suggestions have been made regarding improving the HARP loan program. One possibility is that minor adjustments will be made to the current HARP 2.0 program. The other possibility is that a new HARP program will be created for borrower who don’t have Fannie Mae or Freddie Mac owned loans, and who have been unable to refinance, to take advantage of today’s low interest rates.

Ever since the inception of the HARP mortgage program in 2009, there have been many borrowers left out of the program and blocked from refinancing. In an attempt to double the number of borrowers from 1 million to 2 million, the HARP 2.0 program guidelines were released in October 2011, rolled out for the original lenders in December 2011, and to all lenders in March 19, 2012.

Debt Consolidation Calculator | Learn Your True Cost of Debt

Do you know how much it will cost to pay off all your loans? The Debt Consolidation Calculator reveals your real cost of debt, and helps you find ways to save money. We started testing this in November 2011, and rolled it out fully in 2012.

How to Answer a Summons & Complaint

Maybe a process server handed you a summons. Or perhaps you received a complaint from a law firm. Or, a state court sent you a pair of documents called a summons and complaint. Regardless of what your state calls these documents, they all mean the same thing — someone has filed an action or lawsuit against you.

Now what? This article describes what general steps you need to take to respond to a complaint, and where to learn more about your state’s rules for responding to a complaint.

Obama Refinance Plan

The new Obama refinance plan is designed to assist responsible homeowners who have been unable to refinance at today’s historically low interest rates. This mass refinance plan is intended to help millions of Americans benefit from low interest rates and consequently get lower monthly payments.

The Obama refinance plan will help qualifying borrowers save hundreds of dollars a month and stimulate the struggling housing market and the economy in general. However, As of late 2012, the Obama Refinance Plan has not been passed into law. Various proposals have been made, in Congress and by the President to expand the refinance opportunities for borrowers who’ve been shut out of the market so far.

National Mortgage Settlement

In February, federal and state officials announced a plan to provide about $25 billion in mortgage relief and aid to homeowners. The national mortgage settlement was designed to help homeowners teetering on the brink of foreclosure, and former homeowners who were foreclosed upon contrary to their state’s laws. Mortgage servicers also promised to provide better customer service and a single point of contact for financially distressed homeowners.

A Guide to Low-Interest Personal Loans

Whenever you want to borrow money, you want the lowest possible interest rate at the most convenient terms. The secret to finding a low-interest personal loan is simple — shop around. Make sure the lender explains the terms of the loan, including all fees and costs. However, low-interest personal loans are not easy to find. Even loans with higher interest rates are hard to come by. If you want a low-interest personal loan, then the lender is also going to ask tough questions, and expects the best from you. Read this guide to finding low-interest personal loans.

#MyRefi | Social Media to Mass Refinancing Plan

In August, the White House rolled out #MyRefi, a media campaign promoting the Obama Refinance Plan using Twitter, Google+, e-mail, and Facebook. As explained in the official White House blog, underwater borrowers can save significant amounts of money if Congress acts and implements a broader refinance program, expanding beyond the current programs that exist for borrowers with Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac loans.

Find Lenders Participating in HARP

The HARP 2.0 mortgage refinance loan picked up speed in mid-March, once Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac rolled out their automated underwriting systems for the HARP loans. Before March 19, 2012, the only HARP lender homeowners could work with was your current lender. After March 19, homeowners were free to shop around for the best HARP loan available. Homeowners were freed to work with any HARP lender, ranging from big lenders and small niche mortgage lenders.

Consolidate Your Credit Cards Into One Payment

There are three ways to consolidate your credit cards into one monthly payment, but you may not want to for two reasons. First, with one or more credit cards at a zero balance, you may be tempted to charge! charge! charge! your way back to a high credit balance. A credit card balance consolidation should accompany a change in your behavior. Second, you may pay higher fees and interest if you miss or have a late payment on your big-balance account. This story explains how to consolidate your credit card debt, and the alternatives to doing so.

YOURgage: A Custom Mortgage from Quicken Loans

In January, Quicken Loans introduced YOURgage, a new mortgage loan designed to offer borrowers greater flexibility and choice than found in standard mortgage loans. Quicken Loans' goal is for YOURgage to match applicants with a loan that fits their individual needs and circumstances. What differentiates YOURgage is it is a custom mortgage with a flexible term. With YOURgage, borrowers can customize the loan term tailored to accomplish the borrower's specific financial goals.

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