Easing the credit hang-up time for home buyers

Searching for the very best home mortgage rate as well as for the most favorable go-along terms can take time - as many prospective home buyers and real estate agents are finding out.

And even when the most advantageous deals for the borrower are found, there is usually a host of wrap-up details that take time to complete.

So if there is a delay, what happens to the promised mortgage rate during hang-up time? Two major mortgage lenders have eliminated borrowers' worry with slightly different assistance methods.

In one case, Citicorp Savings (California) is advertising a 60-day rate guarantee. Its advertising copy states that ''. . . the finding of the right mortgage is tough enough without worrying about whether your rate will increase before the deal goes through.''

So in this case, the rate set by the lender upon the borrower's approved application is good for a full two months, no matter what the market swings. This, real estate people say, gives home buyers plenty of time to wrap up any dangling details of the final deal.

On another similar tack, a prominent nationwide mortgage lender has initiated an idea that is just as reassuring to any new borrower: the home buyer's credit card.

Upon application for a loan, the borrower (upon approval) receives this new credit card for home buyers. It shows the amount for which the borrower can qualify, based on maximum monthly payments affordable.

This means the borrower can take time to shop around for property, since he already has a basic financial commitment. Countrywide Funding Corporation has some 80 branches nationwide, any one of which can honor the credit card once the borrower has set up his home-buying plan.

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