Mortgages Can Help Credit Repair, But Be Careful
The mortgage market
Many people are looking for mortgages to aid them with credit repair. The recession has left finances disheveled, and people are trying to find ways to regroup. Although recent crackdowns on mortgage lending have been put into place by the government, there are still some unscrupulous lenders trying to find their way back into the mortgage market.
Dani Babb, founder of The Babb Group, which offers real estate consulting, said, “Since early this year … a new wave of people are finding ways to scam home buyers.” Here are some of the newest programs they are advertising that are less than advantageous to the potential homeowner.
Hard money lending loans
Hard money loans may seem like a good idea, but they are not designed to be used for large purchases like homes. These types of loans disregard a borrower’s credit score and employment status. These can even be offered to consumers who have already been turned down for government-backed mortgages.
Because the loan is considered more risky due to credit, lenders may require up to a 30 percent down payment. Some may circumvent the down payment if the consumer puts up some form of collateral, such as a car. Hard money loans come in several forms, but in general it is best to stick to smaller, short-term hard money loans.
Advances to First-time homebuyers tax credit
The first-time homebuyer’s tax credit offers up to $8,000 to qualifying buyers. Last month, HUD agreed to allow FHA-approved mortgage lenders to offer eligible borrowers an “advance based on the tax credit.” Borrowers are still required to make a 3.5 percent down payment, but they can include the tax credit value to it or use the money for closing costs. Repayment can be tricky, however.
Borrowers will have to pay the loan each month and pay an additional sum when they receive the tax credit or spread their payments out over a number of years. These payments will have interest attached. The reality is that if borrowers need to rely on the tax credit to make the down payment, they most likely will have problems affording their loan payments. It may be wise to work on credit repair to open doors to better loan options before using the tax credit for this purpose.
Zero-percent down financing
Some states are creating programs that give potential homeowners the 3.5 percent down payment they need to procure an FHA-backed loan as a second loan. Piggyback loans — where the home buyer has two loans — are also becoming more popular. In a lot of cases, lenders who cannot provide the entire loan amount suggest second mortgages from another loan company. These secondary companies can carry high interest rates, some close to 25 percent.
In other cases, buyers try to step in and “lend” the money to eager homeowners, persuading them to pay back the loan over time. Piggyback and zero-down loans create two mortgage payments every month. This can be a difficult situation for homeowners to manage and studies are showing it makes “walking away” from the home more probable if financial disaster occurs.
In the end, potential homeowners have to be smart and do their own research. The reality is that the best idea is to have a down payment, get a traditional loan and pay it off like millions of other people do. If that isn’t possible, consumers should consider putting off their home purchase, working on their credit repair and saving money. There are dishonest lenders waiting for opportunities to strike.
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