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      New Mortgage Laws

      Important mortgage info is out and especially important for people looking to refinance or buy a new home.

      New mortgage rules hit today.

      The rules are designed to protect borrowers from abusive lenders and to lower the risk of defaults and foreclosures.

      Lenders must now determine that a borrower has the income and assets to make payments throughout the life of the loan.

      This means lenders must take a close look at a potential home-buyer's paycheck, credit card debt, car payments and other expenses.

      Borrowers should also have a debt-to-income ratio lower than 43 percent.

      Lenders cannot offer risky features, like terms longer than 30 years, interest-only payments, or too-small minimum payments.

      But the new rules do *not* require a minimum down payment so first-time buyers have a better chance at getting a loan.

      Borrowers should contact their bank or lender with questions about the new requirements.

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