Tampa, FL 33626
Downtown Tampa Office
Tampa, FL 33602
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Were You Prey to a Predatory Lender?
Anyone who has participated in a real estate transaction knows how it goes: Sign here. Sign there. Sign here and here and here and here. Initial this, that and the other thing. Then take home this huge pile of paper and put it in a drawer. Congratulations! You own a home.
Unfortunately, the mind-numbing nature of such transactions can cause even a usually-savvy consumer to make disastrous mistakes. And unscrupulous mortgage brokers and lending agents have been known to take advantage of borrowers with loans that ultimately enrich themselves and financially endanger homeowners. Such loans are known as predatory or abusive lending, which became such a problem in the past few decades that both the federal government and the Florida legislature passed new laws to try and put a stop to it.
Mortgages that result from predatory lending practices often have certain characteristics in common:
- The consumer is not given required disclosures such as a Good Faith Estimate, so they cannot identify irregularities at the point of closing.
- The mortgage is a refinancing loan (often one in a series of refinances) that includes high fees to the loan originator and increases the monthly payment and/or total amount of the loan.
- The loan provides substantial cash-out to the borrower by exceeding the balance on the current loan or even the total value of the home.
- The mortgage includes pre-payment penalties that apply beyond the first few years.
- Provisions increase the interest rate in the event of late payments.
- The borrower may be required to purchase extras, such as credit insurance that pays the mortgage if the borrower becomes disabled or dies.
If you are having difficulty paying your mortgage and you believe you may have been the victim of predatory lending, contact a Tampa real estate lawyer to help you take the appropriate action.