Kenneth R. Harney

Kenneth R. Harney

Washington Post Columnist

Kenneth R. Harney can be reached at

Big Credit Score Boosts Ahead For Some

If you’ve heard that some people might get a magic boost to their FICO credit scores in the 10-point range – without having to do anything – you’re right. But hundreds of thousands of consumers’ increases will be much larger.


Fannie Mae Eases Burden Of Student Loans

Here’s some good news for homebuyers and owners burdened with costly student loan debts: Mortgage investor Fannie Mae has just made sweeping rule changes that should make it easier for you to purchase a first home or do a “cash-out” refinancing to pay off your student debt.


Tax Reform Could Cost Homebuyers

With the health care bill back-burnered on Capitol Hill, the focus has shifted to tax reform. Among the key financial matters in play: Homeowners’ prized mortgage interest and property tax deductions.


Mountain Of Mortgage Paperwork Wears Down Borrowers

Could getting a home mortgage under today’s post-housing bust regulations and procedures be even remotely comparable to going to the dentist to get drilled? Or anything like having your annual physical, where every body part potentially is subject to inspection and prodding?


Don’t Let Closing Costs Surprise You

Everyone knows that financing and closing on a home purchase can be complicated. Which is why more than a year ago the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau issued a set of new disclosures and rules designed to bring greater clarity – and certainty – to transactions.


IRS May Be Stepping Up Scrutiny Of Mortgage Deductions

If you’re like millions of homeowners, you recently received a familiar, innocuous-looking document from your lender. It’s called Form 1098 and it totes up how much interest you paid on your mortgage last year. Your lender is required by law to fill it out and send it to the IRS.


Realty Kickbacks Prompt Penalties By CFPB

If your real estate agent requires you to get a mortgage pre-approval from one specific lender as a condition of submitting an offer to buy a house – even if another lender already pre-approved you – would you think something is fishy?