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What tricks and traps did the bank slip into your mortgage?

by Mike on February 22, 2010

Some contracts might as well be in a foreign language ( source / rights )

Car rental companies hate me.

Whenever I rent a car, before I sign that two-sided, extra-long, faint-colored fine-print contract of theirs, I sit and read it, so I know what I’ve agreed to.

Now, I’ve been a lawyer for fifteen years. I can say I understand those contracts almost all the time. But the average non-lawyer who rents a car has no idea what they’re agreeing to, besides the daily rental rate, whether they have to fill the tank before returning it, and if they’re lucky, they understand the insurance bit.

That’s a two-page contract. When you bought your house, you had to cope with a stack of paper as thick as your wrist, on legal-sized paper, which you had five minutes to look at before you signed it. Right?

I have to confess: when I bought my first house, I had no idea what I had gotten myself into by signing all those papers. My wife, who’s a smarter lawyer than me, didn’t have a clue either. But we wanted the house, so we needed the loan, and we signed. And signed. And signed. In duplicate, triplicate, notarized and photocopied.

For us, nothing ever went wrong. But we were lucky. A lot of people have gotten hurt, badly, because they agreed to something they didn’t fully understand.

Knowing what I know today, I’d have to think long and hard about whether I would ever sign a mortgage, ever again. And I sure as hell won’t do it unless I a chance to review the loan papers before closing day.

What’s in your mortgage?

The mortgage is the document that allows the bank – or whoever they sell your loan to – to take your house away in a foreclosure case if you stop paying. It’s one of two extremely important documents you sign when you borrow money to buy a house (or when you refinance).

In a series of posts, I’ll take a look at several keys provisions of a typical mortgage- ones that are common in most, if not all, mortgage forms commonly used today. Once you’ve had a chance to read them, you’ll have a better idea of what’s in your mortgage, and why you should be very, very concerned.

Read the whole “What’s In Your Mortgage” series here.

Want to know more? Contact us at Ricardo & Wasylik, PL.

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