During the 2007-2009 financial crisis, the United States economy crumbled because of a problem with mortgage foreclosures. Borrowers all over the nation had trouble paying their mortgages. At the time, eight out of 10 borrowers were trying to refinance their mortgages. Even high end homeowners were having trouble with foreclosures. Why were so many citizens having trouble with their mortgages? Let’s take a look at the biggest mortgage mistakes that homeowners make.
1. Adjustable Rate Mortgages
Adjustable rate mortgages seem like a homeowners dream. An adjustable rate mortgage starts you off with a low interest rate for the first two to five years. They allow you to buy a larger house than you can normally qualify for and have lower payments that you can afford. After two to five years the interest rate resets to a higher market rate. That’s no problem because borrowers can just take the equity out of their homes and refinance to a lower rate once it resets.
Well, it doesn’t always work out that way. When housing prices drop, borrowers tend to find that they are unable to refinance their existing loans. This leaves many borrowers facing high mortgage payments that are two to three times their original payments. The dream of home ownership quickly becomes a nightmare.
2. No Down Payment
During the subprime crisis, many companies were offering borrowers no down payment loans to borrowers. The purpose of a down payment is twofold. First, it increases the amount of equity that you have in your home and reduces the amount of money that you owe on a home. Second, a down payment makes sure that you have some skin in the game. Borrowers that place down a large down payment are much more likely to try everything possible to make their mortgage payments since they do not want to lose their investment. Many borrowers who put little to nothing down on their homes find themselves upside down on their mortgage and end up just walking away. They owe more money than the home is worth. The more a borrower owes, the more likely they are to walk away.
3. Liar Loans
The phrase “liar loans” leaves a bad taste in your mouth. Liar loans were incredibly popular during the real estate boom prior to the subprime meltdown that began in 2007. Mortgage lenders were quick to hand them out and borrowers were quick to accept them. A liar loan is a loan that requires little to no documentation. Liar loans do not require verification. The loan is based on the borrower’s stated income, stated assets and stated expenses.