In today’s uncertain mortgage climate it’s difficult to predict what will happen tomorrow. More than 130 major mortgage lenders have closed their doors since late 2006, and with property prices and demand for exotic home loans both down, that number is sure to increase before the market improves.
All this uncertainty is rattling some homeowners, and leading them to draw false conclusions which will dramatically impact their lifestyle and long term finances. Read on to discover what these misconceptions are, why they are wrong, and what you should be doing instead.
Many people who purchased or refinanced in the past few years thought they were getting a great deal. But many are seeing the attractive low introductory rate they received expire and their mortgages reset to a higher monthly payment. In some cases these payments are beyond the means of the homeowner. In such situations the obvious solution is to refinance into a more stable and still affordable mortgage.
Fears that their new lender will close their doors, or that their mortgage application will get caught in limbo, have gripped many people who would otherwise have refinanced. Even though they are struggling to make their payments and starring foreclosure in the eye, these homeowners are leery of refinancing and rocking the boat.
But that homeownership boat is already being tossed around on a sea of uncertainty, and maintaining the status quo will not improve anything. The solution is to do thorough research and find a reputable and stable lender. Check how long the lender has been in business; find out how many branch offices and employees they have; determine who their underlying investors are; and analyze whether they have independent sources of income, like consumer banking.
Another good idea is to work with a reputable mortgage broker to find you a new mortgage. They often have extensive contacts among the various mortgage lenders, know who the stable lenders are, and in the unlikely event that your first choice can’t close your loan they can quickly rematch you with an alternative one. Plus, brokers can find you competitive deals and save you some time and effort.
Failure to Pay
Another common mistake homeowners are making today is not paying their monthly payments if they hear their mortgage lender or servicing company has closed their doors. This is a massive mistake, because your mortgage contract does not expire just because your lender goes into bankruptcy. If they do cease operations one of their investors will simply resell your mortgage as a security to a competitor. Should this happen, there might be some short term confusion over where you send your payments, so be proactive: call up your mortgage lender and check your mail for a letter which will provide you with the answer.
The same principle applies if your lender files for bankruptcy protection, a term which consumers often confuse with straight bankruptcy. In this case you are also still required to make your payments on time. Make these payments out to the same company, and mail them to the same company address unless you hear otherwise.
Failure to keep current with your mortgage payments will push you towards foreclosure, regardless of who ends up servicing your home loan. And arguing that you didn’t know you were still expected to pay won’t get you any sympathy with your lender or mortgage servicer. So be alert, and don’t run the risk of loosing your home.
Don’t allow the current turmoil to jeopardize your homeownership status. Arm yourself with the knowledge you need to protect your home and lifestyle. If you need to refinance do it as soon as possible. And keep current on your mortgage payments, even if your lender appears to be struggling.