It’s an exciting time – you’ve found the home of your dreams, you’ve been approved for a home loan, and there’s only a few formalities left before it’s yours. Then a huge wad of papers you need to sign arrives, and all of a sudden it seems a lot harder. Reading mortgage documents isn’t like reading a good novel – it’s boring, tedious and often full of legal jargon.
Chances are that you’ll sign the documents, get the loan, buy the house – and everything will be okay. But what if it’s not? What if something goes wrong further down the track, and all of a sudden you discover some very nasty clauses in the fine print? Maybe if you’d found them upfront, you might have been able to change them, or at least been aware of what could happen, and saved yourself a lot of heartache.
I’ve bought a lot of houses in my time, and in some ways that’s worse than just buying one – I sometimes get a bit lazy, and think that all mortgage documents are the same. Well, I’ve learnt now that they’re not. I had one loan that I was considering refinancing, because the rate was high. I’d been having some trouble getting finance at the time I first took out the loan, and had gone with a new lender. I wasn’t happy with the fact that I was paying $25 a quarter “loan management fee” and $250 annually as a “package review fee”. Talk about giving the lender money for nothing – they’ve never reviewed my loan except to put the interest rate up!
Imagine my surprise when I finally took the time to read the loan documents more carefully, and discovered that if I refinanced the loan or sold the house within 5 years, I was up for some really steep penalty fees. The loan at the time was for just under $130,000 – and it was going to cost me almost $10,000 to break the contract. Ouch! This was an investment property, which means I’m more likely to sell or refinance than someone buying his or her own home, so fine print in my home loan that makes it so expensive to break the contract is not a good thing for me. Needless to say, I’m still with the same lender and still grumbling every time I pay the $250 package review fee. Only a couple more years to go though!
The bottom line is this – make sure you know what you’re signing. If reading the fine print just leaves you confused or unable to understand what’s being said, then take it to your legal adviser. Never, ever sign home loan documents “on the spot” – you should always take them away and read them thoroughly. If you have questions, ask them. Yes, buying a home is expensive enough already – but believe me, the small cost involved in having a legal professional explain the contract is worthwhile, if you can’t work it out for yourself. You should never sign anything you don’t understand.
All matters must be proven by the person or entity trying to foreclose on the homeowner. It is not the obligation of the homeowner responsible for the mortgage debt to prove or disprove any of this. The homeowner can challenge the right of the person or entity trying to foreclose and demand proof.
If the foreclosure is allowed to be finalized the homeowner will be responsible for owing the SAME debt repeatedly should someone later turns up with the original note and proves that it is the proper holder of the note, and not the person who foreclosed on the property this would make the homeowner liable.
The majority of mortgages granted over the last three to five years have been packaged into securities and re-sold and re-assigned AGAIN and Again, Over and Over Again. YOU are at jeopardy of Owing the SAME debt repeatedly the foreclosure should not be allowed.
Top Ten Tips for Examining Loan Documents for Mortgage Fraud, Look for the Following:
1. Review the loan originators, servicers and their attorneys forge documents with “squiggle marks” that are not the marks, initials or signatures of the actual officer that is notarized to be the signatory.
2. Do the signature initials or “squiggle marks” differ for the same signatory from document to document?
3. Closely review to see if squiggle marks and full signatures that are diametrically opposed to the known signature of the signatory.
4. Search for pre-stamped assignments and notary signatures on assignments, affidavits and proof of claims.
5. Look closely to find back-dating of dates on assignments and signatures of officers dating years after either a company is no longer in business or the officers are no longer with the company.
6. Check for forgery of forbearance agreements and modification agreements.
7. Review public records to see if missing intervening assignments should exist (See your mortgage interest statements1098 that will tell you if missing intervening mortgage assignments should have been recorded). Additionally, search for multiple assignments of the same instrument filed in the public records which will reveal a direct result of multi-pledging and the use of the same collateral, the mortgage loan, to pool into securities or pledge for other financing and should be viewed as an overt act of fraud when encountered.
8. Research for the discovery of pre-dated, backdated and fraudulent assignments of mortgages or endorsements either completely filled in or left blank to be filled in before or after the fact to support the future allegations of a foreclosing party. These fraudulent assignments are typically discovered when MERS acts on the servicers behalf. Often used to conceal and cover up known frauds and the abuses done by originators, prior servicers and are intentional to conceal the true chain of ownership of a homeowner’s loan.
9. Hard to find escrow instructions or settlement statements to locate the assignment of the mortgage. Will also have multiple or missing assignments coupled with an inability to produce escrow and settlement statements. This demonstrates a deliberate concealment of the ownership of the homeowner’s mortgage debt obligation and the actual lender to whom the borrower is indebted.
10. Is the foreclosing party in possession of the original note demonstrating the proper chain of title and legal right to foreclose? If not this is evidence of fraud often including a missing assignment or multiple assignments not revealed.
If you ever signed mortgage loan documents, chances are that you’ve never read all of the pages that you signed. Most people don’t, because it is very time consuming and there is too much meaningless disclosure paperwork that has little or nothing to do with your actual loan and has more to do with lender’s compliance with State and Federal laws.
There are documents that everybody must read before signing. One of these important documents is your mortgage “Note”. It is about five pages long and has the most important facts about your mortgage on it.
To identify this document, you need to go trough your mortgage paperwork and look for a document with the word “Note” in its title. Usually it says something like “Fixed Rate Mortgage Note”, or “Adjustable Rate Mortgage Note”, but it will always have the word “Note” in the title of the document. The title itself will tell you if you have a fixed or adjustable rate mortgage loan.
Your mortgage note will tell you a lot about your mortgage. It sates your rate, and in case of an adjustable rate mortgage, it states how long the introductory rate is good for. The note should list all of your scheduled mortgage rate increases, and towards the end it should cover pre-payment rights and pre-payment penalties.
Whether you are currently in the process of taking out a mortgage loan, or had it for several years, it is very important to become familiar with you Mortgage Note. It is a complete overview of your loan that lists all of the terms and conditions of your biggest financial obligation.
If your car insurance is due for renewal and you are considering buying another policy then this article will provide you with important facts that you should know about. Car insurance policies are getting increasingly expensive and you should do all that you can to reduce your costs. How much you have to pay for your car insurance is dictated by a variety of factors as they apply to you and your vehicle.
In this article we will examine coverage limits, your age, gender and marital status, your location and insuring other household members. All of these factors will have a great influence on how much you will have to pay for your policy.
Coverage limits are generally dictated by the price that you are willing to pay for your insurance. A higher level of coverage will generally result in higher premiums. The best way to find a good value policy is to comparison shop. Nowadays it is generally accepted that the best way to do this is by using a car insurance comparison website.
Your age, gender and marital status will have a great effect on the auto insurance rates that you are offered. Insurers rate drivers using a variety of criteria, if you are a young single male driver you will usually have to pay higher rates. If you are a middle-aged female married driver then your rates will be lower. Insurers calculate the best car insurance rates for you by comparing levels of risk. Those groups which are statistically more likely to be involved in an accident have to pay correspondingly higher rates.
Location plays an important part in deciding how much your premiums will cost. Drivers who live in an urban environment will usually pay more than those from a rural area. This is because drivers who live in cities and heavily populated areas are more likely to be involved in an accident, or to have their car stolen or vandalized. Insurers generally offer better rates if you’re able to demonstrate that you keep your vehicle in a garage at night. You may also be able to improve the security arrangements of your automobile by fitting an alarm, immobilizer and steering wheel lock.
Insuring other household members will have an influence on the cost of your policy and the best car insurance rates that you offered. If you have teenage family members living with you and they are added to your policy, then your costs will increase. This may still work out cheaper than if your teenage driver were to have a separate policy in their own name.
In conclusion, there are a variety of different factors which can affect your ability to be offered the best insurance rates. Some of these are coverage limits, how old you are, whether you are male or female and whether you are married or single. Your rates will also be affected by the area where you live and whether other household members are included in your policy.