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FLEET MORTGAGE GROUP OFFERS CONSUMER TIPS AS PEAK HOME BUYING SEASON BEGINS

 COLUMBIA, S.C., May 24 /PRNewswire/ -- Have low interest rates and attractive home prices got you searching through the classifieds for a first-time purchase or a better mortgage rate than what you're already paying?
 With the peak home buying season set to begin, millions of Americans will be taking advantage of a strong buyers market where mortgage rates are at a 20 year low and home prices haven't been appreciating in many areas of the country.
 "We're getting ready for a very busy spring and summer," said Richard M. Duncan, executive vice president of production for Fleet Mortgage Group (NYSE: FLG), the largest mortgage servicer in the United States. "Now is the time to buy; rates are low, prices are down and sellers are willing to deal," he said.
 Before taking the plunge -- in terms of buying your first home or refinancing a higher rate mortgage loan you've already got -- there are some preliminary steps consumers should take before they go house shopping that can save time, money and wasted effort, Duncan said.
 Prequalify Yourself
 If you're about to become a first-time home buyer, the first thing to consider is getting yourself prequalified by a reputable mortgage banker. A mortgage banker can provide you with counselling on the types of loans available and offer you a product that is tailored for your financial situation. By prequalifying for a mortgage loan, you will learn how much you can afford before you go shopping.
 Fleet Mortgage Group offers an Expediter Program that provides the customer with a written commitment for a maximum loan amount, subject to an appraisal, and a coupon good for $150 off closing costs. There is no fee for the consultation; however, there is a charge of about $50 to cover the cost of the customer's credit report. You should bring a copy of your most recent paycheck, copies of outstanding debts such as credit cards and department store charges, and current balances for your checking and savings accounts to provide the mortgage lender with a snapshot of your financial picture.
 The advantage of a prequalification is knowing how much house you can afford, and once you've found it, you don't have to worry about getting approved later.
 Adjustable or Fixed Rate Mortgage
 To determine what's best for you, adjustable or fixed rate mortgage, estimate how long you think you'll live in the house. If you expect to live in the house for a short period of time -- perhaps three to five years -- an adjustable rate mortgage may be best for you. Generally, an adjustable rate mortgage will start with a lower interest rate than a fixed rate mortgage, and if economic conditions cause the rate to go up two percentage points a year, it may take two or three years to reach the fixed rate that was offered when you first took out the loan.
 A fixed rate loan is more appealing to consumers who plan on staying in their home for a longer period of time and who want to avoid rate fluctuations caused by market conditions.
 Refinancing Considerations
 Over the last 18-24 months, millions of homeowners have moved to refinance their older, higher rate mortgages with today's lower rates, in many cases leading to hundreds of dollars saved each month. Before refinancing, ask yourself how long you expect to live in the house. If you plan to be in the house long enough to recoup your closing costs -- generally two to three percent of the mortgage loan amount -- you should consult with a mortgage banker.
 A simple way to calculate the appropriateness of refinancing is to determine the difference in your monthly payment between the higher rate and the lower rate. Then take that difference and divide the closing costs by the monthly payment savings amount. This will show you how many months it takes to recover the closing costs.
 For example, the monthly principal and interest payment on a $100-thousand mortgage at ten percent for 30 years is $877.57. That same loan at eight percent would be $733.76 per month, a difference of $143.81. If closing costs are about $3,000, it would take 21 months to recover your refinancing costs ($143.81 X 21 months equals $3,020.01). Therefore, in this example refinancing at two percent below an existing rate is a wise decision for someone planning to stay in the house for at least 21 months.
 With rates at a twenty year low and prices generally flat, it's a good time to see a mortgage banker who can provide specific information about what's best for you.
 -0- 5/24/93
 /CONTACT: Charles T. Conway, Jr., Director, Corporate Communications, Fleet Mortgage Group, 803-929-7910/
 (FLG)


CO: Fleet Mortgage Group ST: South Carolina IN: FIN SU:

MM-SB -- CHFNS1 -- 1485 05/24/93 07:34 EDT
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Date:May 24, 1993
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