A mortgage can be one of the most important loans you will ever take in your life, and you can’t just pay it off in a few years. The truth is that they are meant to stretch out over a longer period of time. In fact, you could be making monthly payments for the next 30 years. Before you sign up for a mortgage, you need to understand what you’re getting into; but most importantly, you need to understand your rights.
It’s always a good practice to shop around before you decide to commit yourself to a company. After all, you want to get the best deal possible, and you should always stay informed about any additional costs. Be sure to find out about any important details on the mortgage, and make sure you get a “good faith estimate” from every company you contact. That way, you have some basis for comparison, which you can use to influence your decision.
There is another thing you have to consider, and that is your current credit rating. It plays a major role in whether or not you can qualify for a mortgage; and just because you sign up, it doesn’t mean you’ll get approved. And if you have been turned down, you have the right to know why.
Fair Lending and Discrimination
In addition to having a thorough understanding your mortgage, you are also legally protected from discrimination by lenders. They cannot base their decision on any of the following factors:
- National origin
- Marital status
- Age (as long as you are over the age of 18)
- The use of public assistance
- Familial status (if you have children under the age of 18)
You also have the right to “fair credit reporting,” and a lender cannot turn you down because you decide to exercise it. They cannot discourage you from applying because of any the above factors, and you have the right to an attorney if you feel like you have been discriminated against.
More homeowners are being affected by these types of loans, and they are putting many people at risk of foreclosure. These unscrupulous individuals will often convince people to buy a home for more than what they are worth, and they will charge ridiculously high interest rates. They will even use bad appraisers and contractors, so the property looks more valuable than it really is.
Many times they will ask borrowers to lie about their current financial situation, and they will loan more money than they can realistically pay. They will also use high-pressure sales tactics to force people into buying a home that they can’t afford, and they will attempt to “strip” borrowers of their equity until they have no value left on the home.
These predatory lenders will often tell you that they are your only choice in signing a mortgage, but that is far from the truth.
They may also try to convince people to sign a “blank contract,” which is something you should never do. Once they have a signature, they can add whatever they want. Then they can claim that you had agreed to it when in fact there was nothing there.
Another warning sign of these types of scams is when certain amounts at closing are different than what you had originally agreed to. While it’s not uncommon for negotiations to occur during the sales process, the final amount should have already been agreed to before the closing date.
Using a Real Estate Attorney
If you have been a victim of any of these common legal issues, you need to understand your rights, and you need to do whatever you can to make sure they are protected. A qualified real estate attorney will not only work on your behalf, but he or she will make sure you are treated fairly throughout the entire legal process.
If you want to find out how we can help, get in touch with us today!