Owing to the popularity of home equity loans, there are numerous lending agencies offering a variety of mortgage products. A bad choice of mortgage can lead to disastrous effects, as there is a risk involved of foreclosure and losing one's home. Hence it becomes necessary to secure the best loan possible.
Simple steps to endure that you select the best home equity loan:
Find out your credit score and credit rating: Each person can get a credit rating based on his/her financial standing and other factors like outstanding debt, equity of the existing home, credit history, etc. A higher credit rating and credit score would mean lesser risk involved in lending to such a person and hence the home loan borrower can negotiate for a better rate of interest on the mortgage. There are a number of credit rating agencies, which calculate credit scores for a fee.
Evaluate the alternatives: Even though a home equity loan may seem like the best bet, it is better to evaluate other products like home equity lines, reverse mortgages, etc. For example, for people over age 60, it would be advisable to consider a reverse mortgage rather than a second mortgage on the existing home, as this could lead to foreclosure and could render one homeless.
The purpose of the home loan should also be evaluated and risky options like using the debt to pay off credit card debt should be avoided.
Shop around: It is important that the consumer do some research in terms of the home equity loans offered by various lending institutions like mortgage companies and banks. Employing the services of a broker may be useful at times, but eventually the fees that the home loan lender pays to the broker will be passed on to the consumer. The lender should be able to explain his mortgage terms clearly and should be ready to give an upfront idea of the risks and fees involved in the mortgage.
Read the fine print: Many consumers have found out the hard way that the fine print in the terms of the home loans or mortgage does matter! Terms pertaining to payment schedules and foreclosure conditions should be given special consideration. Other fees and prepayment clauses should be evaluated for the entire term of the loan.
There may be other issues like the inclusion of life insurance in the loan amount, which may effectively increase the cost of borrowing and may be unnecessary. Only after due diligence on such legal and financial issues has been done should the consumer sign the necessary papers.
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