How to Avoid Predatory Lending Practices

Knowing how to avoid predatory lending can save you thousands of dollars and a lot of headaches. Educate yourself before it happens to you.


When shopping for a loan, ask for referrals from people with good interest rates who are happy with their lenders. Avoid the hard sell, wild promise radio ads or telephone calls. You should also take the following precautions to protect yourself from predatory lending: Bottom of Form

Steps

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    Get several loan offers. Never accept the first loan offer. Shop around for two to three mortgage offers. Compare the costs, interest rates, and fees.
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    Ask for a list of fees in writing. Lenders should be willing to explain their costs to you and give you a good faith estimate of the costs before you apply. At least one day before closing, request a HUD-1 statement of your fees. If it’s significantly more than the estimate, ask your lender to remove them. Don’t agree to extra “products” that they try to sell you at the last minute.
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    Don’t make false statements on your application. You should accurately report your income and debt on your loan application. If your lender encourages you to lie, find another lender. Lying on a loan application is fraud.
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    Don’t sign a blank document. Don’t sign a blank form provided by your lender. If a form has any uncompleted blanks, put lines in them or write “N/A” in them. If you don’t and the lender later inserts information, you could be held liable for it.
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    Don’t accept a 100% loan. Don’t finance the entire cost of the house. A down payment of as little as 5% provides you with an equity cushion in case of a downturn and improves your position in the eyes of lenders.
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    Hire independent appraisers. If your lender’s appraiser values the home at far more than you expected, hire an independent appraiser directly. Predatory lenders often push appraisers to value homes for more than they are worth so they can give you a larger loan. Unless home prices rise quickly and significantly, you won’t be able to sell or refinance before your interest rate jumps.

Tips

  • Most lenders are honest and want you to be in a home you can afford. Predatory lenders profit off your inability to pay. If you suspect your lender is engaging in predatory mortgage lending practices, find another lender. It may be a hassle, but it’s worth it.

Article Info

Categories: Mortgages and Loans