The Federal Trade Commission has issued alerts to homeowners–and specifically homeowners who
are elderly and poor–in recent months. The market is swarming with mortgage lenders providing
equity loans and some of these lenders are taking advantage of the misfortune.
Some lenders are giving loans to homeowners who do not generate enough income each month to
repay the debt. The lenders’ goal is to take possession of the home once the mortgager fails to repay
the debt, thus gaining equity for himself.
Some lenders are encouraging homeowners by offering them a equity loan. And some borrowers
have been taken for a ride because they failed to read the terms and conditions on such loan
carefully. The Balloon Repayment stipulated that the homeowner will repay only the interest toward
the mortgage and once the interest is paid then the homeowner will repay the principal on the
mortgage. Thus, the homeowner pays for the interest all to find out he never paid a dime on the
mortgage itself, and once the repayments kick in for the principal, the homeowner is at risk of losing
his home if he doesn’t have the cash to repay the debt.
Few lenders will offer what is known as “flipping” loans. If a homeowner is paying $150 each
month on his mortgage with low interest rates, and is offered and accepts the “flipping,” then he is at
risk of loss, since he accepted a loan that has higher interest rates, steeper fees and costs, and interest
on all the charges applied to the loan. If you are comfortable with your current mortgage
arrangement, it is wise to stay put when a lender calls offering you (what appears) to be a good deal,
but is probably either a scam or high-interest loan in disguise.