Buying a home is stressful enough, the last thing you want to worry about is home buyer fraud. But, even the savviest buyers might find themselves lured in by deceptive practices.
Keep these frequently-used schemes in mind when you are in the market for your next home.
The business of buying and selling homes revolves around mortgages. Unless you can afford to pay for your home in cash, you’ll need one in order to buy.
As such, there are many opportunities for predatory lenders to take advantage of prospective buyers. You might hear that you are qualified for way more money that you can actually afford to spend on a house because your mortgage lender misrepresented your income or is trying to ensure that you end up defaulting on your loan.
The best way to guard against this is to do your own math before applying for mortgage pre-approval. Look at your monthly income, expenses, and savings goals to determine how much money you have left over to allocate to your mortgage.
Match that with the estimated monthly payment on your mortgage to make sure the home you want fits in your price range. A good rule of thumb is that your mortgage payment should not take more than 25-30 percent of your monthly income.
A trustworthy mortgage broker can also help ensure that you will not take a mortgage you are not able to afford. Ask for recommendations from friends and family and look for someone who has your best interests in mind.
The other area where homebuyers can fall victim to scams is when it’s time to close on the home and make your down payment. The closing process is a complicated web of banks, title companies, and real estate brokers.
There are so many forms to complete and information to send; it’s easy to go on autopilot and provide whatever information is asked of you.
Because it’s such a large sum of money, many people rely on wire transfers to send the money to their bank. Be wary of third-party services set up to wire money and try to deliver your down payment directly to your bank if possible.