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Posts Tagged ‘Mortgage’

Beware of “Too Good To Be True” Lenders

Homeowners beware.
With the potential of a recession and rising mortgage rates; lenders are seeing fewer loan applications and many buyers are not able to qualify for legitimate loans. Homeowners are often coerced into using the equity in their homes to pay off debt, finance unexpected expenses and to cover job losses, etc.
Lenders that over promise are likely to be ones to stay away from. If you cannot qualify for a mortgage with a reputable financial institution if is best to wait to purchase a home until you can.
What Is Mortgage Fraud?
Any misrepresentation of information on a home loan application can be considered mortgage fraud, classified under Financial Institution Fraud (FIF). Mortgage fraud is typically carried out for profit or for housing.
  • Mortgage scams for profit: Those who attempt mortgage fraud for financial gain are typically lenders, brokers and other entities that make false claims to obtain monetary compensation or equity from lenders and homeowners.
How To Spot Mortgage Scams
In cases of mortgage fraud for profit, scammers most commonly promise victims to save their homes from foreclosure with term modifications and debt management, or to entice buyers with free services and reduced interest rates. Scammers prey on vulnerable homeowners and prospective homeowners who lack education or financial security.
Predatory mortgage lenders will often use tactics to make their offer seem like a good deal. You may be getting scammed. The following signs may indicate mortgage fraud.
‘Too Good To Be True’ Interest Rates
Mortgage rates that are noticeably lower than market interest rates are typically a sign of various hidden fees or even a bait-and-switch tactic. Predatory lenders may try to tell you that you no longer qualify for the advertised rate, or tack on additional fees after locking in the original rate if they think they can get away with it.
Your Loan Estimate Isn’t Honored
Your Loan Estimate gives basic loan information in a standardized format from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development. It includes itemized costs of a loan, including fees, and is sent within 3 business days of a mortgage application. Lenders aren’t allowed to charge fees outside of the credit report fee prior to accepting the terms.
Mortgage Payment Scams
A mortgage payment should remain under 28% of your monthly income.  The higher your debt-to-income ratio (DTI), the riskier you are for a mortgage lender. If your lender is recommending a type of home that requires a loan larger than 28% of your disposable income, be wary.
Homes Overvalued
Overvalued property creates risk for legitimate mortgage lenders by generating an inaccurate resale valuation or an inflated borrower income that will be difficult to pay off with existing income.
Penalties For Prepayment
A prepayment penalty is charged for paying off your mortgage too quickly or for refinancing. While prepayment penalties can offer lower overall interest rates, oftentimes, they’re hidden in the fine print of agreements. As a result, many borrowers don’t realize the stipulations of the penalties and are hit down the line with fees. Generally, these penalties are included as a way for lenders to make money on interest payments at the expense of the borrower.
Your Credit Score Doesn’t Matter
Your credit score will always affect your mortgage rate, without exception. If you’re being offered a home loan that states this score won’t affect the mortgage, be wary. These tactics are typically scams that prey on low-income borrowers and generally come with undesirable terms.
Deceptive Marketing
Victims of predatory lending frequently describe being subjected to a flood of phone calls and letters from brokers and lenders, encouraging them to take out a home equity loan.
Red flag: Lenders who engage in high-pressure tactics, telemarketing, cold calling, and deceptive advertising campaigns.
Excessive Fees
Predatory lenders routinely charge borrowers fees totaling as much as 15% to 20% of the loan amount. Fees alone can have a ruinous impact on a homeowner’s equity. But add them to prepayment penalties and you’re locked into a high-rate, financially disastrous loan.
Red flag: You inquire about fees and charges, but you can’t get the facts. They insist there are no “upfront” fees.
Equity stripping
You need money. You don’t have enough coming in each month to cover your expenses. You have equity in your home. A lender tells you that you could get a loan. This is a big shock because you know you will have difficulty keeping up with the payments. The lender encourages you to “pad” your income on your loan application to help get the loan approved.
Equity stripping is particularly dangerous for people who find themselves in financial trouble. Scammers target people who are facing foreclosure or other financial hardships and make false promises of relief. Beware of anyone who pops up at what seems like the perfect time promising to let you cash in the equity you’ve built up without any consequences. Falling for this scam could end up with you losing your home and all the equity you’ve accumulated.
Red flag: Any suggestion that you can qualify for a loan when you know the truth is you cannot reasonably make the payments.
Balloon payment
You’ve fallen behind in your mortgage payments. Another lender offers to save the day by refinancing your mortgage and lowering your monthly payments. But beware. The payments may be lower because the lender is offering a loan on which you repay only the interest each month.
Red flag: Unrealistically low payments.
Loan churning
Senior homeowners who are asset-rich, but cash-poor are prime targets for this scam. A mortgage company contacts you offering to refinance your loan and throw in some extra cash along with it. The problem is, each time you refinance, the fees and interest rates are going up. Red flag: Lenders that contact you and any suggestion that a loan is the way to get your equity to start “working” for you.
Not all lenders are predatory. The best way to protect yourself against those who are is to be keenly aware of their tactics and always on the lookout for the red flags. If you need an explanation, talk to someone you can trust who has nothing to gain or to lose by the decision you make. Be careful how often you refinance your mortgage. Talk to a HUD-approved housing counselor (hud.gov/counseling) if you have questions or concerns about any mortgage loan transaction. Then consider all the costs of financing and repayment before you agree to a loan.

Shop for a Mortgage as Rates Rise

It is always advisable to shop for a mortgage, but as rates rise the savings can be significant. Each lender offers different loan programs and sets different borrower requirements. It’s important that you get quotes from several types of financial institutions, mortgage lenders, and brokers to find one that offers the best loan program for you.
Banks
Banks are for-profit financial institutions that typically offer several different products such as mortgages, credit cards, checking and savings accounts, and more. Many large banks have branches nationwide or throughout a specific region where you can get in-person support, and they also might offer a wider selection of mortgage products.
One downside to banks is that they tend to charge slightly higher interest rates on home loans compared to credit unions, according to a side-by-side comparison by the National Credit Union Administration.
Credit Unions
Credit unions are nonprofit organizations that offer banking services to their members. In addition to offering lower interest rates on mortgages and other financial products, credit unions have historically earned the highest customer satisfaction ratings.
However, you’ll need to join a credit union to get a mortgage. Some credit unions are open to anyone, but others may require you to work in a certain industry or live in a certain area.
Mortgage Lenders
You might also find a home loan with another type of lender. For instance, online lenders, such as Rocket Mortgage, offer an end-to-end digital process. You may be able to get pre-approved, upload loan documents, and close on the loan all online. By saving money on overhead costs, online lenders may also be able to offer lower rates or special discounts.
Mortgage Brokers
Mortgage brokers are licensed to act as a go-between with you and your lender. When working with a mortgage broker, you’ll have access to a variety of residential loan programs from different lenders. The broker doesn’t make a loan. Instead, the broker has a variety of lenders they work with.
In general, a mortgage broker will have a lot of knowledge of different home loan programs, and a good idea of what you might qualify for, including what interest rate you’re eligible for.
Shop For Best Rates
Getting rate quotes from multiple lenders and comparing offers is one of the easiest ways to save money on your mortgage. That’s because the interest rate is one of the key components of the mortgage’s total cost, and rates can vary considerably with each lender. Despite this, about half of homebuyers skip shopping for the best rate.
To find the best loan for you, research all costs of the loan. Knowing just the amount of the monthly payment or the interest rate isn’t enough. Even more important than knowing the interest rate is knowing the APR — the total cost you pay for credit, as a yearly interest rate. The interest rate is a very big factor in calculating the APR, but the APR also includes costs like points and other credit costs, like mortgage insurance. Knowing the APR makes it easier to compare “apples to apples” when considering mortgage offers.
When you’re shopping around, you may see ads or get offers claiming to have rates that are very low or fixed. But they may not tell you the true terms of the deal as the law requires. The ad may feature buzz words that are signs that you’ll want to dig a little deeper.
  • Low or fixed rate. A loan’s interest rate might be fixed or low only for a short introductory period — sometimes as short as 30 days. Then your rate and payment could increase dramatically. Look for the APR: under federal law if the interest rate is in the ad, the APR also should be there. Although it should be clearly stated, you may instead need to look for it buried in the fine print or deep within a website.
  • Very low payment. This might seem like a good deal, but it could mean you would pay only the interest on the money you borrowed (called the principal). Eventually, though, you would have to pay the principal. That means you would have higher monthly payments or a “balloon” payment — a one-time payment that is usually much larger than your usual payment.
You also may find lenders that offer to let you make monthly payments where you pay only a portion of the interest you owe each month. The unpaid interest is added to the principal that you owe. That means your loan balance will increase over time. Instead of paying off your loan, you end up borrowing more. This is known as negative amortization. It can be risky because you can end up owing more on your home than what you could get if you sold it.
Find out your total payment. While the interest rate determines how much interest you owe each month, you also want to know what you must pay for your total mortgage payment each month. The calculation of your total monthly mortgage payment considers these factors, sometimes called PITI:
  • principal (money you borrowed)
  • interest (what you pay the lender to borrow the money)
  • taxes and
  • homeowners’ insurance
“Mortgage rates rose again as markets continue to manage the prospect of more aggressive monetary policy due to elevated inflation,” says Sam Khater, Freddie Mac’s chief economist. “Not only are mortgage rates rising but the dispersion of rates has increased, suggesting that borrowers can meaningfully benefit from shopping around for a better rate.”

Adjustable Rate Mortgages: The Pros and Cons

 

Adjustable rate mortgages are loans with variable interest rates that change according to the market rates, as opposed to fixed rate mortgages, which guarantee a set rate for the entire period of the loan. ARMs may seem like a great idea some years, but in other years, you may wonder what you were thinking when you agreed to the loan.

Many financial experts advise home buyers to seek fixed rate mortgages. The set interest amount makes it easier to calculate monthly payments with no surprises. An adjustable rate mortgage can leave you with unpleasant surprises if the interest rates suddenly soar.

There are some pluses as well as minuses to adjustable rate mortgages. As with any financial decision, learn all you can about the topic and weigh the pros and cons carefully before choosing a loan type.

On the Plus Side…

ARMs may be good for buyers who plan to sell in a few years. If you know your job requires you to move every five years, an ARM may be worth the risk of interest rates rising, depending on the current rate.
Paying off your loan in a short time period may make an ARM better for some homeowners. For those who know they can repay the entire mortgage amount quickly but just need a short-term loan, ARMs may actually save them money.
Some ARMs offer a combination of adjustable and fixed rates. These may offer the best of both worlds, depending on market rates. For example, a mortgage may be fixed for five years, and then adjust annually.
On the Minus Side …

Interest rates may be low now, but that only means they’ll rise later. When interest rates rise, your interest rate rises too. Your monthly payments will increase. This may be a hardship for some people.
Adjustable rate mortgages may be saddled with a prepayment penalty. This means that if you suddenly come into a windfall and wish to pay your entire mortgage loan, you may actually be penalized for paying it off early.
ARMs can be difficult to understand. There are many variables, and you have to carefully read all the fine print to understand the nuances of a particular ARM. Fixed rate mortgages are a lot easier to understand: borrow this, pay that; it never changes.
Adjustable rate mortgages come in and out of fashion, but the truth is that you shouldn’t take out such a loan unless you understand the worst-case scenario and how it may impact your financial health. While they are not for everyone,

ARMs do offer some advantages, and those who can take advantage of these opportunities may find them useful. Talk to your lender about all the ramifications of an adjustable rate mortgage compared with a fixed rate mortgage.