What Is A Mortgage Payment Schedule?

Amortization Schedules – Always Keep Your Eyes Open

First Published: ADawnJournal.com December 10, 2009

On taking out a loan, it is not uncommon to get a momentary buzz of excitement on seeing the temporary balance of your bank account, showing as it does a few extra digits above and beyond the usual. It is perfectly common in such a situation to forget the small details, such as the fact that all that money needs to be paid back over time and that, generally, that money will pretty much all be accounted for in the very near future. These details come back to mind very quickly, though, in most cases, as we set about the arduous task of paying back the money we have borrowed. This is something we have to do in accordance with a schedule, and deviation from that schedule is likely to see us hit with a penalty.

A copy of your payment schedule will be one of the documents given to you on finalising your mortgage. It will tell you what you have to pay and when you have to pay it, any payments that are above normal and any that are below. Sticking to the schedule is your way of knowing that you are doing your bit under the mortgage agreement and should see you avoid any fees for non-payment being added to your account. Having a payment schedule should also put to the back of your mind any ideas about taking the money and spending it unwisely. The figures can make very sobering reading.

With a normal bank loan, taken out to pay for consumer goods, you will generally come to the end of your term while you are not much older than you are today. Looking at a mortgage payment schedule reminds you that you are locked into paying a certain amount of money for a certain length of time – and that this can add up to an awful lot of money and seem like an awful lot of time. It adds seriousness to a situation that is quite serious enough already. In short, if you borrow to pay for a house you are making a large commitment. Seeing that commitment outlined in black and white is the final proof that you’re making a step you cannot easily take back.

A payment schedule will often detail how much of your monthly mortgage payment is going towards paying down the balance of your loan, and how much is paying off interest. It is worth getting a breakdown of these figures, because there are numerous deals available which allow you to cut down how much interest you pay every month, and allow you to save money overall. It is worth shopping around for the best deals, and having your current mortgage payment schedule to hand may well enable you to research where you might get a better deal. Some deals have special terms and conditions written into them which allow you to renegotiate your deal after a certain period of time – if you feel as though your principal owing is not reduced every month, you can check around to see what other offers you might get.

Consequences Of Lying On Mortgage Application

Lying On Mortgage Application

First Published: ADawnJournal.com December 31, 2009

Buying a new house, selling a house, or staying in a house all require some level of co-operation between yourself and others. Obviously this includes your family and others close to you, but it also requires collaboration between you and the lending institutions who furnish you with a mortgage as well as a range of others who may be able to help you if you are finding it difficult to maintain payments on your mortgage. Any homeowner, especially one in their first house, will be keen to do things correctly, so it is important to be aware of the importance of doing things in the right way. Maintaining communication with the relevant companies and organizations is the soundest way of doing this.

It has become the accepted wisdom that people lie on forms. Job applications and resumes, insurance claims and credit applications are all examples of forms where people have been known to be “economical with the truth”. While the practice of lying on a job application has come to be the norm and is even tacitly encouraged, it can still get you fired if it is a) serious enough and b) found out. Where finance is concerned, though, it can be a criminal matter if you knowingly withhold information or give false information. A policy of total disclosure – while it may cause you to have narrower options in the short term – will not only work better for your conscience, but it will make the long-term maintenance of the mortgage all the more comfortable.

The reason this is beneficial is that mortgage lenders offer deals on the basis of a large amount of information given to them. If you lie about your salary in order to have greater borrowing power, it could work. At the time, you will want it to work. However, after some time you will begin to feel the pinch of repayments and the financial situation can very swiftly spiral out of control, affecting not only your ability to make mortgage payments but also your financial position overall. Telling a “little white lie” on the mortgage insurance may help you lower the premium, but if you then try to claim on the insurance it could stop you receiving anything.

Aside from mortgage lenders there are other organizations who you would do well to bear in mind. If you are finding payments difficult to make, a debt counselling organization may well be the life-saver you are looking for. In this respect, a word of advice that may well be to your benefit: always look for a non-profit debt management or counselling company. Although the profitable organizations can generally afford a high advertising budget, remember that they are doing that with people’s money, money which has been sent for the purposes of debt management. By going with a non-profit company, more money goes towards paying down your debt, and helping you stay in your home. You may even be able to get the interest payments on your mortgage stopped for a period.

Beware Of Mortgage Fraud Scams

Mortgage fraud Scams

First Published: January 10, 2010 ADawnJournal.com

With a mortgage being a simple transaction between an individual and an institution, with so much of the information locked in for both parties, it would seem difficult for mortgages to be open to fraud. And yet, it clearly is because there are an increasing number of potential mortgage scams that are putting householders out of pocket and in some cases out of their homes. The difficulty of targeting mortgage fraud is that fraud, to be successful, needs to be carried out by individuals with a large degree of cunning. If they are cunning enough to pull off a successful mortgage scam, they are certainly clever enough to operate undetected for a considerable period of time. There are other reasons that a fraudster may pass undetected, though.

For one thing, there appears to be a lack of due diligence taking place when it comes to mortgage applications, and this is allowing all sorts of initiatives by the fraudsters to take place. In one example half a decade ago, a couple living in a condo in Toronto found that they had been the victims of a scam which had seemingly resulted in their condo being mortgaged in their name and then sold out from beneath them. This had been achieved because the scam artists had managed to gather together enough real-looking fake documents to back up their story. A cursory check of the documents and a few questions later, and the fraudsters were walking away with a million dollars.

In many cases the fraud which is committed – and which the individuals have escaped from scot free – could be prevented with something as simple as a visit from the bank to the people whose name and address is on the documentation. Someone showing up at their door saying “I’m here to value your house for the remortgage you have applied for” would raise alarm bells instantly that the householders had been victims of identity theft. Mortgage scams, and any other mode of fraud, however, are probably crimes to which their will never be a complete antidote, as fraudsters are generally resourceful, resilient individuals. As soon as a loophole is closed, another opens.

Mortgage fraud never used to be such a problem, due in no small part to the fact that to take out a mortgage it was once necessary to attend the lending bank in person in order to sign the necessary documents and supply all the identification needed. These days, with the Internet and telephone playing such a large part in application processes, this is no longer the case, and it has ironically made mortgage fraud easier to commit in a supposedly security-conscious age.

Of course, there are other cases where the person taking out the mortgage really is who they say they are, and they do intend to use the money to buy a house. The problem is that they use incorrect information and occasionally direct lies in order to secure better terms on a loan – a loan which, due to their income, they generally cannot afford to pay off.

What Is Mortgage Valuation?

Mortgage Valuation

First Published: September 10, 2009 ADawnJournal.com

Oscar Wilde once said that a cynic is someone who “knows the price of everything but the value of nothing”. This is a quote that is still used today, although it is more commonly applied in our society to economists. Whether or not it is a fair task, it certainly has some currency in a world where, more and more often, prices can be applied to anything, and are described as “valuations”. The time has come when “price” and “value” mean more or less the same thing for a large branch of society. When it comes to buying or selling a house, the word “valuation” will be bandied about with unerring regularity. The house you wish to buy must be independently valued before the bank will even consider giving you a mortgage.

In valuing a house, the bank is able to value your mortgage. They are, after all, forwarding the money to you in order that you buy the house, and they do not want to back an investment that they consider to be excessively priced. If the time comes when you are unable to pay back the mortgage and they need to repossess the house the bank will have to sell it, often below its market value, in order to recoup some or all of what they lent to you. In this case, if the bank had backed your purchase of a house at what they considered to be an inflated price, they would be in a far worse situation when it came to selling on the house that they have inherited. They would have lent you too much, recouped too little, and spent time and resources doing so.

In some ways, then, it is the economist’s job to know the price of everything and the value of nothing (as Mr Wilde would have had it), but they would be more likely to say that the price of something is its value, because that is what the average buyer would be willing to pay for it. More accurately perhaps, things that you already have possess a value, and things that you want have a price. Ensuring that you have the property valued before advancing the process of applying for a mortgage will save you time in the long run, and could avoid the unnecessary raising of hopes and expectations.

The banks’ valuation of your desired property could even work in your favour. If they are seen to value it at a price beneath the asking price on the property, then it means that the person selling the house is more likely to accept a lower offer. You could save yourself some money by trusting in the bank’s valuation – after all, they have people who are paid to be what Oscar Wilde would have considered cynics. Persuading people to part with a property they loved for a price which is less than they valued it at may seem cold-hearted to some – but in the end, they would not be selling it if they didn’t need the money.

What To Do If You Cannot Pay Your Mortgage?

Underpayments, Deliberate and Accidental

Looking at a mortgage agreement – and specifically the payment schedule that is involved in one – is often enough to put even the calmest of individuals into something of a panic. When you stop and think about it, the idea that you are going to pay x amount every month, three hundred times over the course of 25 years seems astonishing. How many of us were doing the same thing twenty-five years ago that we are today? Some of us were not even born. And by the time twenty five years are up, what age will we be? Can we realistically imagine that for the next twenty five years we will be doing the same thing, living in the same place, paying to the same mortgage?

Of course, in many cases we will not be paying the same mortgage. Many individuals and families move house semi-regularly for work reasons, to emigrate or to be closer to extended family. Whatever the reason for moving, this generally results in selling up the current home, paying off the mortgage on it in full, and taking out a new mortgage on a new home elsewhere. For those of us who stick with the same house and the 300-month plan, however, the situation can certainly seem quite daunting. How, one asks oneself, can I possibly keep to an arrangement that goes on for so long? This is why mortgage payments are calculated to generally be set at a level which the customer can comfortably manage. Even if they have a few months of financial stricture, normally savings or help from one’s family can keep things ticking over.

For some people, however, it becomes a case of simply not being able to maintain the payments in the short term. Families will help up to a point, but cash and goodwill are only ever in plentiful supply when they do not have to be frequently relied upon. In such cases, it is often possible to make an underpayment to your mortgage – at least as long as you tell your lender that you are going to do it. Getting in contact with your mortgage lender when it appears more likely than not that you will be unable to meet the agreed monthly payment means that they can put arrangements in place to collect the reduced monthly amount. For a period of a few months, this can make a big difference.

Underpaying a mortgage payment either accidentally or carelessly without regard for the consequences, however, brings different challenges to the table. In the case of an non-agreed underpayment, you will incur a fee on the mortgage which will increase the balance and make for a tougher time paying things off. It will also adversely affect your credit score and lead to the lender treating you less sympathetically. If you cannot make the payment to your mortgage, then let your lender know. If you can, then make the payment – your home is a priority, and keeping up payments on it a necessity.