Don't Be A Victim Of Loan Fraud
Protect Yourself from Predatory Lenders
Buying or refinancing your home may be one of the most important and complex financial decisions you'll ever make. Many lenders, appraisers, and real estate professionals stand ready to help you get a nice home and a great loan. However, you need to understand the home buying process to be a smart consumer. Every year, misinformed homebuyers, often first-time purchasers or seniors, become victims of predatory lending or loan fraud.
Don't let this happen to you!
11 Tips On Being A Smart Consumer
What is Predatory Lending?
In communities across America, people are losing their homes and their investments because of predatory lenders, appraisers, mortgage brokers and home improvement contractors who:
- Sell properties for much more than they are worth using false appraisals.
- Encourage borrowers to lie about their income, expenses, or cash available for downpayments in order to get a loan.
- Knowingly lend more money than a borrower can afford to repay.
- Charge high interest rates to borrowers based on their race or national origin and not on their credit history.
- Pressure borrowers to accept higher-risk loans such as balloon loans, interest only payments, and steep pre-payment penalties.
- Target vulnerable borrowers to cash-out refinances offers when they know borrowers are in need of cash due to medical, unemployment or debt problems.
- "Strip" homeowners' equity from their homes by convincing them to refinance again and again when there is no benefit to the borrower.
- Use high pressure sales tactics to sell home improvements and then finance them at high interest rates.
What Tactics Do Predators Use?
- A lender or investor tells you that they are your only chance of getting a loan or owning a home. You should be able to take your time to shop around and compare prices and houses.
- The house you are buying costs a lot more than other homes in the neighborhood, but isn't any bigger or better.
- You are asked to sign a sales contract or loan documents that are blank or that contain information which is not true.
- You are told that the Federal Housing Administration insurance protects you against property defects or loan fraud - it does not.
- The cost or loan terms at closing are not what you agreed to.
- You are told that refinancing can solve your credit or money problems.
- You are told that you can only get a good deal on a home improvement if you finance it with a particular lender.
If a deal to buy, repair or refinance a house sounds too good to be true, it usually is!
Housing counselors working at HUD-approved agencies can help you be a smart consumer. To find a counselor near you, call (800) 569-4287 or go to HUD's housing counselors list online.
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