Returning Residents to Trinidad and Tobago

People are shopping for and selling properties in Trinidad and Tobago for years, and all of them know that this is not an easy process. It is very troublesome to search out a property that is suitable and once you find it you need make sure that the transaction gets done smoothly.  Another option is if you have land in Trinidad or Tobago is to get a new home built and the best choice for that is Allegiant Homes Ltd.

Because of the large sum of money involved in purchasing a home you want to be care in this process. The moment you decide that you want to shop for a property then you should begin making all the required arrangements and one of the most important one is choosing a realtor that you would like to work with

You should employ a real estate agency since they can make your job easier.  Why not contact Allegiant Homes Ltd to build your home in Trinidad and Tobago on your land.
If you would like to sell your property then they can facilitate you also by finding you a suitable buyer who qualifies for the purchse of your home. They can facilitate your throughout the whole transaction if you present them with all the specified information. You will want to find an active real estate office in Trinidad and Tobago with references. One of the resource you could use is an on-line search engine.
Hiring a realtor in Trinidad and Tobago this can make things easier for you. It is best to make sure they are active realtors in the community you wish to purchase. Another option is to contact Allegiant Homes Ltd, they are a wonderful resource, if you are looking to purchase an existing home, or have a new home build Allegiant Home Ltd is the choice for your.


Mortgage Calculator

Good News for Trinbagonians living abroad.

Our Company does not do any financing, but we will be able to assist you in obtaining a Mortgage by one of the financial institutions throughout Trinidad & Tobago which are set up for this purpose.
In general, it is possible for Trinbagonians who do not live in Trinidad or Tobago, to obtain local mortgage financing.
Typical norms are between 75% and 90% of the value/purchase price can be financed.
If you are not residing in Trinidad or Tobago interest rates will be around 12% owner occupied (meaning: no other use) and around 14% plus for rental or income generating purposes.

Mortgage interest rates also depend on the type of arrangement between yourself and the Mortgage Company and how many years the Mortgage is for. Therefore it is very important to get good and professional advice from a reputable Mortgage Company.

Please note: To qualify for a local Mortgage in Trinidad and Tobago you must:

1. Be a Trinidad & Tobago National, or have Dual Citizenship or Residency Status.

2. Have a permanent job and/or enough collateral to cover for the amount you require.

3. Be between the ages of 18 and 60 years. If you are self -employed up to 65 years of age, but certain conditions will apply.

4. Have at least 3 years permanent work experience.

5. Have savings of a minimum of 10% of the cost/value of the property, plus fees etc. (an average of this cost is 5% of the value, but this varies).

6. Or if purchasing land alone, have savings of at least 25% of the cost/value whichever is lower, plus the average 5% for fees.

Trinbagonians or Residents who are planning to return permanently to Trinidad but have lost their T&T Citizenship or Residency Status, you can re-apply, however be prepared that this is a lengthy process and will take at least 6 months to 1 year, so if you are planning to return immediately after you purchased a property, or in case you have to get a Mortgage, make sure you have your Citizenship or Residency status in order before making a deposit on a property.
Bottom of Form

If you wish to get an idea of what a Mortgage will cost you, the monthly installments, or even find out if you can qualify, you can use our On Line Mortgage Calculator below, and for the more elaborate Calculators, by clicking on the links below.

Sincerely Yours,

Don S. Hosten


Allegiant Homes, Ltd.

Mortgage Calculator


Savonetta Estates, Trinidad and Tobago

Property in Trinidad and Tobago

SaSaSFind property in Trinidad and Tobago with – the UK’s number one property website. We are pleased to offer a range of property in Trinidad and Tobago. If you are looking for your dream property in Trinidad and Tobago, you have come to the right place! lists the very latest property in Trinidad and Tobago.
In the event that you do not find your dream property in Trinidad and Tobago, you can directly contact any of our member estate agents who advertise on property in Trinidad and Tobago. Most of our members have a larger stock of property in Trinidad and Tobago than they display on, therefore by e-mailing them your property requirements, they may be able to find the ideal property in Trinidad and Tobago for you.

Building Green

The Value of Green Building

While many clients are at first drawn to Green Building for reasons of principle, they also find that Green Building makes sense economically. A Green home can substantially cut energy and maintained costs while at the same time increasing the comfort and health for those who inhabit it. As a result, Green homes tend to have increased value.
Incorporating green building products and practices in homebuilding and remodeling projects results in quality homes and financial savings for you. Even the smallest effort can make a big difference. The most common reported benefits are:
  • Financial savings: Green building construction practices and products make homes more energy efficient through proper, adequate insulation and air sealing. Efficient windows, appliances, lighting and other household equipment also help add to the savings and keep your monthly electricity bills low. Up to 65% lower! And with energy prices rising and non-renewable fuels being depleted, an energy efficient home is asset we can all appreciate for years to come. Water bills are also reduced through low-flow equipment and thoughtful land use. Comfortable with year-round sun exposure, comfortable with ambient temperature and lack of drafts, comfortable with your utility bills – ‘comfortable’ can mean a lot of things. Starting with good energy design, green building helps to ensure that your home is inherently more comfortable. If you’re building new, proper orientation of your home can take advantage of the sun’s radiant energy to provide free natural heat in the cooler months, while avoiding too much sun in the warmer ones, to save on energy costs. Tight construction also helps keep energy costs and drafts down. For everyone, better insulation and energy efficient windows, appliances, and lighting contribute to a comfortable environment while using less energy.
  • Healthier Living: Chemicals emitted from building materials can be a potential source of health problems if they are not properly addressed. For example, cabinets, counter tops, and furniture are often made from pressed wood products such as particleboard or medium-density fiberboard (MDF), which are typically manufactured with formaldehyde-based adhesives. This formaldehyde can off gas into your home for years. Unfortunately for your family’s health, formaldehyde is a known human carcinogen according to the World Health Organization; it can also cause watery eyes, headaches, fatigue, and nausea. Paint and floor finishes can also contain formaldehyde and other chemicals that are not healthy to breathe, especially for small children. Green building encourages use of products and materials that reduce or eliminate these sources of indoor pollution. These include a wide range of products such as low-VOC paint, solvent-free adhesives, and water-based wood finishes that not only eliminate many of the suspected and known carcinogens, but often perform better than traditional product. Finally, ventilation is the key to keeping and maintaining indoor air quality for healthier living. Adequate ventilation is especially important in green building as it can reduce the potential for mold growth and buildup of allergens and other particulates.
  • Less Maintenance and Higher Durability: Current building codes establish minimum construction standards that protect your safety. Green building supplements building codes by using premium materials that are more durable and construction practices that often exceed building code requirements. Together, these qualities enhance your home’s performance and reduce maintenance and replacement costs, thereby raising its overall value. Examples of such long-lasting materials and their applications include decking made from recycled plastic and wood fibers, durable tile or linoleum for floors, 50-year roofing materials, and fiber-cement siding. These can outperform their traditional counterparts by reducing maintenance and replacement costs.
  • Knowing You’re Being Good to the Environment Green building products and practices offer you the assurance that you are following environmentally friendly guidelines that help preserve our natural resources. A socially responsible step worthy of recognition, building green makes a strong statement about your dedication to the community and the environment. Impacting more than your home itself, green building promotes the use of local products and materials that help stimulate local businesses and a diverse economy. This keeps your dollars working in your neighborhood and reduces energy consumption because there are less transportation costs. Materials like engineered wood products are encouraged because they efficiently make use of waste wood pieces, reducing environmental impacts of the wood industry. Recycled-content products productively use materials that would otherwise need to be hauled to landfills, and also reduce costs and impacts of producing products from virgin materials. Green building is not a passing trend. Informing and educating you about the value of green building is just the beginning of our commitment to greening your home and our community.
Extreme Green
If you want a cost effective, greener lifestyle for your family, then Allegiant Homes Ltd. is the new home builder for you! All of our homes are built to exceed local building and energy codes using the most up-to-date and affordable strategies to provide you with quality, comfort and value. By investing in durable, practical, eco-friendly products and practices, we can save money and reduce energy consumption.

Allegiant Homes Ltd.  Extreme Green Benefits

  • Lower Costs. Reduced energy consumption actually makes an Allegiant Homes Ltd. less expensive to own.
  • Better Performance by using less energy for heating, cooling and water heating-delivery.
  • The less energy we use in our homes, the less pollution we generate.
Health and Community
  • Improve air, thermal and acoustic environment
  • Enhanced comfort and health
  • Healthier indoor air adds to comfort, health and peace of mind for the family
  • Minimize strain on local infrastructure
  • Contribute to overall quality of life.
Energy efficiency means comfort and savings for you and less pollution for our world.
From now on, any home that isn’t green might be obsolete.
So what does Allegiant Homes Ltd. do that’s Extreme Green?  Just about everything. But here are some big differences…
Energy Star® Certified Builder
Allegiant Homes Ltd. is an Energy Star® Certified Builder. Energy Star® homes are 20-30% more efficient than standard homes. Our homes use less energy, are built environmentally conscience, and save you money.
Radiant Energy Barrier
Our LP TechShield® Radiant Barrier decking used with shingled roofing keeps your attic cooler by deflecting heat from the sun. We use this produce for a variety of homeowner benefits: potential reduction of tonnage of the HVAC system, and it cuts monthly air condition bills up to 17%. The manufacturing process uses wood certified under Sustainable Forestry Initiative® standards.
Zurn PEX Plumbing System
Zurn PEX Plumbing Systems are clean and healthy – no need to worry about harmful substances leaching into your drinking water. Zurn PEX is completely sanitary. It doesn’t amplify sounds like copper systems, and is corrosion resistant to mineral buildup. Unlike copper, Zurn PEX tubing will expand up to 300% of its original size without damage to resist the effects of freezing.
Efficient HVAC Systems
We efficiently engineer HVAC packages for each home, and use York brand to provide homeowners with premium, lasting comfort. York uses R-410A, a chlorine-free, environmentally friendly, next-generation refrigerant. Many refrigerants developed before R-410A contain chlorine, which may be harmful to the ozone layer. By choosing a home with R-410A air conditioning, you’re getting the latest in refrigerant technology – and helping the environment.
Effective Insulation
Insulation is one of the most effective ways to improve the energy efficiency of a home, and provide year-round comfort. Insulation of the building envelope helps keep heat in during the winter, but allows heat out during the summer to improve comfort and save energy. With effective insulation, there’s less need for heating and cooling which saves non-renewable resources and reduces greenhouse gas emissions.
Low-E High Performance Windows
Energy-efficient windows employ advanced technologies, and use protective coatings and improved frames to reduce the air infiltration.
Tight Construction to Prevent Air Infiltration.
A tightly constructed home helps to maintain even temperatures throughout the house and reduces humidity, pests, dust and pollen that can get inside. A tightly built home improves comfort and indoor air quality while reducing utility costs and maintenance.
Kitchen Appliances
Yes! Even the Kitchen Appliances are Energy Star products. Our Whirlpool Appliances help lower utility bills by reducing energy consumption and water use. They include quality components surpassing those found in standard appliances. Energy Star appliances outperform standard appliances due to improved design and advanced technologies.
Siding, Soffits and Fascia
This cementitious product eliminates a lot of headache for Homeowners. Best of all, this siding is non-combustible with a limited, transferable warranty for up to 50 years. Because it’s a fiber-cement product, it is more durable and resistant to the elements.

Green Heart Wood

Green Heart Wood and Green Heart Wood – Same Thing!

You’ll sometimes see this tropical hardwood called “Green Heart Wood” and sometimes you’ll see “Greenheart Wood“.  Rest assured, it’s the same wood.  Some people simply prefer to SPLIT the name (a little “lumber humor” there).  We use both names interchangeably so that we don’t alienate either group.

What Makes Green Heart Wood So Great?

Green heart wood is attractive, durable, versatile and environmentally friendly. It is a tropical hardwood that is world renowned for its strength and durability. It is highly resistant to decay, termites, fire, and marine organisms. Greenheart requires no treatment and it’s three to four times stronger than pine or fir. Greenheart can be specially milled for your desired project. This superior timber has been engineered and used in many projects such as fender systems, lock gates, framing, decking and pilings.
See our Green Heart Piles page for information on using greenheart for marine pilings.
Get more information about using Greenheart (and other woods) as structural timbers
We’ve also used green heart lumber in construction of our new DuraVilla pre-fabricated homes!
These photos provide insight into just some of the potential of green heart wood:
8" x 10" Greenheart Timber Frame - Florida
8″ x 10″ Greenheart Timber Frame – Florida
Green heart Timber loaded on 40' Flat Rack
Green heart Timber loaded on 40′ Flat Rack
3" x 12" Greenheart lumber - Coney Island Board Walk, N.Y.
3″ x 12″ Greenheart lumber – Coney Island Board Walk, N.Y.
Green Heart Decking - St. Thomas
Green Heart Decking – St. Thomas
Specially milled Greenheart supplied to Scotland - 2005
Specially milled Greenheart supplied to Scotland – 2005

Loan Locks – When is the Best Time to Lock a Loan?

What Does it Mean to Lock a Loan?

By Elizabeth Weintraub, Guide

When it comes to locking the interest rate on a mortgage loan, everybody wants to time it to get the best deal. There’s nothing wrong with that sentiment. It’s normal. Some of the time you’ll get lucky and some of the time you won’t. In other words, it’s a roll of the dice. With a locked interest rate, however, you are guaranteed that if interest rates go up by the time you are ready to close, you will pay the lower interest rate.What are the risks if the loan is not locked?

Let’s say you decide to wait. You’ve narrowed down where you will get a mortgage and looked at all your loan choices. Maybe you’ve even decided on the loan product you want. But the market is moving down. The Fed has cut rates twice and you expect them to drop further. So you decide not to lock.

It’s a gamble. But if rates go up, you have absolutely no protection. You’re going to pay the higher rate.

What are the main elements to loan locks?

When deciding to lock a loan, there are 3 points to consider:

  • Interest rate
  • Points
  • Length of the lock period

Borrowers will pay extra for an extended loan lock. It’s not free. The interest rate will be a bit higher or the points will reflect the loan lock fee. That’s because the lender is taking on the risk that rates could go up while the transaction is processed, so the lender could end up losing money if the loan is funded at a lower-than-market interest rate. But locking the loan gives the borrower peace of mind. Real estate experts recommend that borrowers lock.

Are you committed to that loan if you lock?

Locking in the rate does not mean the borrower is wedded to that lender. The borrower is actually free to go elsewhere for a loan if the rates go down by the time the transaction is ready to close. Most borrowers don’t realize this little known fact. That’s because lenders don’t want to tell anybody. They don’t want to lose a loan by encouraging a borrower to jump ship.

But if rates go down, and the borrower threatens to pull the loan, to go to another lender, generally the lender will renegotiate the interest rate. Why would the lender do this? Because the lender wants to keep its customers.

How are loan-lock rates figured?

A 30-day rate lock might cost the borrower one-half of a point; whereas a 60-day rate lock might cost one full point. These fees are not paid up front; they are paid at closing. So if the loan never closes because the borrower has changed her mind or gone elsewhere, the fees are never paid. If a borrower doesn’t want to pay for the loan lock through points, the fee can be computed into the interest rate.

Is there a downside?

There is rarely a reason not to lock a loan. Interest rates change daily, sometimes hourly. To protect yourself against the volatility of the marketplace, it’s a good idea to lock your rate once you are satisfied with the rate. The reason some buyers dislike loan locks is because they want to grind every dime out of a transaction that is humanely possible. Just remember that if the rate was acceptable when it was locked three weeks ago, a drop of an 1/8 of a point or so isn’t the end of the world. You don’t need to be that kind of borrower to get a good deal.

For more information click the link…

Loan Preapproval vs. Prequalified

Pre-approval Letters Give Homebuyers an Edge

By , Guide

Real estate experts tell first-time home buyers that it’s critical to apply for a loan before shopping for a home, and it’s true; this is an essential first step. But do you know that it’s far better to be preapproved for a loan than to be prequalified? There are more advantages to gaining preapproval than you would initially surmise. When the lender hands a borrower a preapproval letter, it means the borrower can:

  • Save Time by Looking at the Right Homes
    If your real estate agent is sending you automatic e-mail listings of available homes, you can ask her to change the parameters to more tightly encompass theselection of homes that you are qualified to buy. If you’re not receiving e-mails from your agent, ask her to send them to you. Most MLS systems allow an agent to send clients much of the same data that agents receive. This way, you’ll save time by checking out homes you can actually afford to buy instead of falling in love with pie in the sky.
  • Spend More Time Examining the Right Homes
    By decreasing the inventory of homes to those that fit your parameters, you can allot more time to thinking about all the little nuances each home has to offer. Lots of home buyers never move past the price point when sorting out their preferences, but now you can devote your energies to looking at the little things that matter to you most such as whether your SUV will pass through the overhead space in the garage or smash into the microbeam.
  • Gain Confidence & Avoid Disillusionment
    Now when you find that perfect home, nobody can take it away from you by telling you that you do not qualify to buy it. You can minimize anxiety and remove last-minute loan surprises that could disqualify you. You’ll sleep better at night knowing that the home you selected is yours. Moreover, you can tell your relatives and friends that the home you made an offer is definitely going to close and you will not “lose face” with anybody.
  • Increase Bargaining & Negotiating Power
    Sellers will be more likely to immediately accept your offer, even if that offer is for less than list price, because you are giving the seller peace of mind that her home is sold. She can take her home off the market and place it into pending status with confidence.
  • Enjoy a Faster Closing Period
    Because there is no window period while your loan application is processed, the lender can speed up the entire processing procedure. Appraisals can be ordered immediately. It’s possible to shorten a 30-day closing to two or three weeks, which comes in handy if a seller needs to quickly move and can’t decide which offer to accept. Yours will move to the front if you can accomplish the seller’s need to quickly close.

Because mortgage approval is generally the longest contingency to satisfy in a purchase contract, it is to your advantage to obtain a preapproval letter as soon as you’re ready to begin your search. Lenders will render a decision based on your complete loan application, employment verification and data from all three credit reports.

For more information click on the link…

Mortgage Broker Answers to Your Interview Questions

By Elizabeth Weintraub, Guide

After you interview your mortgage broker or lender and ask the tough questions, what do you do with the answers? How do you know if the answers you receive are applicable to your situation? Here are the answers acceptable to most borrowers.

1. Answers to Which Type of Loan is Best

Look at the point spread between the interest rates offered on fixed-rate mortgages versus those on adjustable-rate mortgage loans. If the difference is small, say, around .5%, you would be better off with a fixed-rate mortgage.

Interest-only loans are a popular option if you decide to stay in the property for a long period of time, more than five years. Otherwise, the property may not appreciate enough to provide you with adequate equity to sell if you choose this option for a short-term residency.

2. Answers to Interest Rate & APR

Typically, the costs of your loan over the maximum length of the loan are figured into theannual percentage rate (APR). If a lender advertises an APR identical to the interest rate, you are paying a higher interest rate than the market will bear.APR rates are higher than interest rates because they include costs. If you see a significant spread between the APR and interest rate, you are being charged too much for the loan. Normal spreads for a loan at par (zero points) are generally less than .5.

3. Answers to Discount / Origination Fees

If you do not plan to occupy the property for at least two to three years, do not pay points because you will probably not recoup them over the monthly payment savings.If you do decide to pay points, figure out the difference in the monthly payment without points versus the monthly payment with points. Divide that difference into the points charged, and the answer will tell you how many months it will take before you will break even.

4. Answers to Loan Costs

All mortgage loans cost money. If you are not paying the costs upfront, they are rolled into your loan, making your loan balance larger. There is no such animal as a no-cost mortgage, except maybe a loan from the Bank of Mom and Dad.Ask for an explanation of each fee. Some fees are “garbage fees,” and a way for the lender to make extra money. You can negotiate those fees or persuade a lender to waive them if you threaten to take your business elsewhere.

5. Answers to GFE Guarantee

Some lenders do not guarantee a Good Faith Estimate (GFE) because they will say the costs could change depending on whom you select for third-party services such as title, escrow, etc. Which is true, in part. But you can ask them to guarantee everything BUT your third-party fees.If you are under contract to buy a home, the lender will know who the third-party vendors are and can completely guarantee the GFE. If the lender refuses, walk away.

6. Answers to Loan Rate Locks

Most lenders will not charge a fee for a 30-day loan lock. Some will lock your loan even if you haven’t yet found a property to purchase, but typically lenders will want you to give them a property address to lock your rate.Get the rate lock in writing. Although you are not obligated to use the lender if interest rates fall, generally a lender will lower the rate at that point in exchange for keeping you as a customer. However, if rates go up, you are protected against a rate increase. In most instances, it’s a good idea to lock your loan.

7. Answers to Prepayment Penalties

There are two types of prepayment penalties: soft and hard. Soft prepays mean you cannot refinance the property without paying a penalty — generally six-months of interest — to the lender. But you can sell without a prepay.Hard prepayment penalties do not allow you to sell or refinance without paying a penalty for a certain period of time. Unless you are certain you will not move and rates will not drop during that time, do not accept a loan with a prepayment penalty.

8. Answers to In-House Funding

While I am not suggesting that lenders who do not underwrite their own loans in-house should be avoided — which is far from the truth — there is a distinct advantage to using a lender who does. The reason is the lender’s loan officers are familiar with their own underwriting guidelines and are likely to package a loan that will pass underwriting without any conditions or surprises.Moreover, some lenders approve borrowers based on running the loan application and verifications through an automated software process, which gives borrowers peace of mind, especially if ratios are tight.

9. Answers to Funding Time Frame

Agents like to think they pick the date to close, but in reality, it is the lender’s call. Before you write an offer to buy a home, coordinate the closing time with your lender. Know that funds from you will need to be delivered a few days before closing.To prevent problems at closing, try to use a lender who can fund and turnaround your loan within 24 to 48 hours after receipt of signed loan documents.

10. Answers to Yield Spread Premium

Once the mortgage broker has selected a lender for you, the yield spread premium is a known factor. Sometimes mortgage brokers do not tell you about that fee until it is time to close, when it is often too late for you to back out.

Mortgage brokers deserve to be paid a commission for finding you a good interest rate and terms; however, how much is paid to the mortgage broker is negotiable. Personally, I would rather pay a point upfront, which is tax deductible, for a lower interest rate than find out my rate could have been even lower if the lender was not paying a bonus to the broker.

For more information click on the link…

Mortgage Broker Duties to Borrower

When home buyers buy a home, they work with real estate sales people or brokers. Most states require that these people be licensed. In addition, Realtors act as an agent for at least one of the parties to the real estate transaction, typically the seller.

A home buyer may also contract with a Realtor to act as their agent — a buyer’s agent. Acting as another’s agent establishes a fiduciary (legal) obligation, requiring the agent to look after a client’s best interests. Agents who put their own interests above those of the client can face stiff penalties: loss of license, fines, even jail time.

Nobody Is Looking After the Borrower’s Best Interests

No such relationship exists in the mortgage lending market and licensing requirements vary substantially. While banks that lend money typically undergo a significant amount of federal or state oversight, not all states require the licensing of mortgage brokers (currently Alaska and Colorado have no licensing requirements). Even for those states with licensing requirements, the amount of “rigor” varies significantly from state to state.

Inconsistency and Lack of Licensing Exasperates the Problem

Less than one-third of the states in America require that all loan officers / loan consultants be licensed. These people are the individuals who work with borrowers. Because of the lack of licensing requirements, most borrowers put their loans into the hands of loan officers who have:

  • Little or no training
  • Not passed an exam to work in the industry
  • Little or no experience
  • No criminal background check

There are many laws and regulations, of course, designed to help protect mortgage borrowers. Federal laws such as the Truth-in-Lending Act, the Fair Housing Act and the Real Estate Settlement Procedures Act, all serve to protect consumers from discrimination, openly fraudulent behavior and deceptive advertising. None of these, however, impose regulations that require a lender to look after the borrower’s best interests.

Lenders and Loan Officers are Looking After their Own Interests

Whose interests, then, are lenders looking after? In short, their own. Lenders serve two basic task masters. First, they must be competitive in the marketplace. Second, they must provide a good a return to their investors. Surprisingly, there is no incentive nor requirement to provide a borrower with the best available loan.

Most loan officers earn all or a substantial portion of their income from commissions. Typically, the larger the loan and the higher the points, the more money loan officers earn. This means that the system has a built-in incentive for loan officers to try to charge more points and to sell a borrower on the largest loan that they can get approved, regardless of whether the borrower can really afford it.

On top of that, predatory lenders tend to gravitate toward naive borrowers and know how to spot a easy mark.

What Is a Borrower to Do?

The only person who can and will look after the borrower’s best interests is the borrower themselves. This means that they need to approach the process of obtaining a loan with a strong dose of skepticism. It is also imperative that borrowers shop, compare lenders and get all promises in writing. Borrowers should question everything. If the lender does not want to answer the questions or does not provide satisfactory answers, they should be eliminated from consideration.

Closing Note From Your Guide, Elizabeth Weintraub:

You may be asked to sign a Mortgage Loan Origination Agreement. Read it. It will likely cover three points:

  1. Nature of Relationship. The mortgage broker will not represent you nor be your agent. In addition, the mortgage broker does not guarantee you will receive the lowest price or best terms available in the marketplace because mortgage brokers are limited in scope by the number of lenders each represents.
  2. Services Provided. This section will detail some, not all, of the services a mortgage broker will provide.
  3. Compensation. The fine print says the mortgage broker could be paid by both you and the lender. If the mortgage broker is paid directly by the lender, you will pay this fee indirectly by paying a higher interest rate.

This does not mean, however, that you could get a better rate by yourself on the open market. Most mortgage brokers are competitively priced and deal in wholesale loans.

Predatory Lenders

The bulk of mortgage lenders in the marketplace are consumer oriented and comply with state / federal laws. These lenders operate within the scope of real estate law and ethically. However, there are lenders who prey on the naive and uninformed. They take advantage of people who don’t know how to tell the honest mortgage lenders from the predatory types.Just like you wouldn’t buy a watch from some character in the street with bulging pockets, for example, you should not respond to unsolicited marketing efforts such as:

  • Flyers thrown on your doorstep, stuck to the windshield of your car or tacked to a telephone pole
  • Direct mail from companies you’ve never heard of before
  • Telemarketers who try to pressure you over the phone

There are legitimate places to find a mortgage. However, like with any profession that involves huge sums of money, complicated products and unsophisticated consumers, there is a potential for fraud. How can you tell if a lender is a scammer? Here are a few warning signs:

The representative comes off as a fast-talker and smooth operator

  • You might get the impression that the discussion is more of a spiel that has been repeated so many times it’s now rote and not a conversation.The rates and fees appear to be unusually high
  • Ask to have your FICO score explained to you and compare rates among other lenders.The lender is using high pressure tactics with you, urging you to sign NOW
  • If you are refinancing, you have three days to change your mind. If you are buying a home and obtaining a purchase loan, ask what happens if you do not immediately “lock” your loan rate.You are told that “bad credit is no problem”
  • Credit is always an issue. Good credit with high FICO scores means you will get favorable terms on your loan. Bad credit might prevent you from getting any loan. Lenders who specialize in making loans to buyers with bad credit are known as sub-prime lenders and do not offer attractive rates.The lender encourages you to lie on your loan application and claims “it is done all the time”
  • Do not sign blank documents and do not make false statements on your loan application. It is against the law to defraud a lender.You are pressured to accept a risky sounding loan you do not understand nor want
  • Most folks have some kind of idea how much they feel comfortable paying per month on a mortgage. Do not agree to make higher payments than you can afford to pay.The lender pretends to care about you but you have a funny feeling about the pretense
  • Listen to your intuition. It is asking you to pay attention to this nagging feeling that something is not right. Trust yourself.You receive assurances that the loan being offered to you will solve all your financial troubles
  • Nothing will solve all your financial woes until you stop spending money. There is nothing magical about a mortgage, and nobody is doing you any favors in this business.Only one lender is offering you a loan and claims nobody else will lend to you
  • Talk to other lenders. Obtain a copy of your credit report.At the closing table, all your fees and charges are different than what you initially agreed to pay
  • If this happens to you, pull out your Good Faith Estimate and ask for an explanation. Continue to ask questions until you are satisfied with the answers. If you are still suspicious and do not receive satisfactory answers, get up and leave the closing table. Don’t close the transaction until you speak with a lawyer.

Help put these crooks out of business. Report predatory lenders to the Federal Trade Commission and / or your state attorney general.