The New Rules for Mortgages by Dale Robyn Siegel

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The New Rules for Mortgages by Dale Robyn SiegelWhen I was first approached to do a review of The New Rules for Mortgages by Dale Robyn Siegel, I was eager to get my hands on the book because of all the stories I had heard about how getting a mortgage today was much harder than it was a few years ago. Three years ago, you could get a loan based on thin air because the mortgage company could sell it to an even bigger sucker down the road. That’s part of the reason why we are in the economic funk we’re in today.

However, I feel for the people who, through no fault of their own, now have to deal with the after effects today and thought a review of this book might be helpful. So, let’s dive into the book!

Who is Dale Siegel

She is an attorney and licensed mortgage broker with twenty-plus years of experience in the real estate industry. She clearly has plenty of experience in the industry to be writing this type of book and the experience shows. She not only covers the big points, such as the entire mortgage process from an ultra high level, but she includes little notes along the way that shows she’s done the process over and over and over again (remember to change the locks on the doors and option ARMs are designed for people with irregular income, not for people with little income).

The Book

The book itself is laid out in a very straightforward way. It begins with a few chapters on the buyer’s financial situation – your credit score, your income, and other money related issues. She talks about how to get your financial situation settled and ready for the home buying process. It’s great information if you’re a first time homebuyer and want to avoid any headaches later on in the process.

The book then continues on to evaluating a home, including the appraisal and home inspection process. I thought this chapter was a gem, especially for first time homebuyers. I know that when my wife and I were looking at homes, we had on our rose colored glasses throughout the entire process. We knew what we liked but didn’t see what we didn’t like because weren’t homeowners. This chapter is great for pulling you back to Earth and helping you take a more discerning eye towards the place you want to buy.

The next few chapters contain the bulk of the book and it covers mortgages, where to look for a mortgage, and the loan process including interest rates, closing costs, and the close itself. The majority of this section is available online but not all in one place. It isn’t hard to find an explanation of Options ARMs or 40 year loans, but you won’t find all this information packaged into one convenient paperback book with a 20 year veteran’s notes sprinkled throughout. The value added is in those little notes and the fact that it’s all in one book.


If you are a first time home buyer, I believe getting a copy of this book, whether you borrow it from the library or buy it from the store, will help you more easily navigate the home buying process. It’s a scary time and you could lose a lot of hours on the internet searching for the information you want.

I thought the book was written quite well in terms of pacing and the depth of the material. In some areas, the book is very broad, it has to be, so you may find yourself skipping sections that you think don’t apply to you. I warn against it though. You may not want a 40 year mortgage, but I advise you to read about it so you’re more informed about the options you might have. An Options ARM is probably not right for you, but you should at least understand it and who it is designed for.

If you’ve been through the process before or otherwise have a good understanding of it, you won’t get as much out of the book. First time homebuyers will find it extremely valuable but everyone else will find themselves skimming quite a bit.

{ 8 comments, please add your thoughts now! }

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8 Responses to “The New Rules for Mortgages by Dale Robyn Siegel”

  1. zapeta says:

    Sounds like a good read. I don’t think I’ll be buying a house anytime soon but its nice to have the information out there and in one place.

  2. Trish says:

    Thanks for taking the time to write this review, Jim! I know you’ve been busy, so I’m especially appreciative. 🙂

    I bought my condo about four years ago, but the way you presented the book, when I end up buying a house someday (I hope!), I think this book will come in handy. Even having bought a house I think there’s a fair amount I might not know or need a refresher on.

    I sent you an email, too. Hope it doesn’t go to spam!

  3. Jim, this is an excellent recommendation. Mortgages have become so much more complicated than they used to be. The really bad part is when people ***think*** they understand them.

    The basic concept of a mortgage is simple, but the bells and whistles are where people get tripped up, especially when you add the emotion that goes with buying a house.

    And of course, once you close, it’s too late to get educated, you’re locked in for the term of the loan, unless you can refinance or sell.

  4. D says:

    btw, it’s “rose colored glasses”, not rose “covered” 🙂

    Nice review!

  5. Whatever you do, make sure you have at least 30% of the value of the home saved up in cash. 20% goes to downpayment and closing costs, and 10% serves as your buffer in case financial disaster strikes.

    • Good advice. I was saving my $500 per month as houses were going up at $10,000 per month. But I didn’t want to buy and then be house poor and I didn’t want to overpay. I just wish more people had been prudent so we wouldn’t be in this mess. After years of saving and watching housing prices climb and fall I am finally have enough savings and houses are finally priced right to buy! But now I’m not even sure I want a home. If I don’t get one I can retire in 10 years. Retiring early and sailing sounds preferable to working longer and mowing a yard. Just my current opinion and subject to change at a moment’s notice.

  6. Steve says:

    Now is the time to buy. I havent owned a home in 10 years. I rented and waited. Now I just Bought a home that was worth 200k for only 110k and 4.75 int. rate. 30yr fixed. There are buys out there and knowing what your doing and not settling for whatever comes along pays off in the long run. Alway go fixed interest rate with a no penalty for early payoff……….

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