Mortgage Rip-Offs (book review)

Mortgage Rip-Offs: Learn the Secret to Saving Thousands Before You ApplyDisclosure: The author of this post, Georgene Harkness, is the editor and publisher of Mortgage Rip-Offs.

Jargon:  the language, especially the vocabulary, peculiar to a particular trade, profession, or group.

The use of jargon by a mortgage broker or loan officer can be scary, especially when you are the one who doesn’t understand the meaning of all those words and acronyms that the folks on the other side of the table toss around so casually.

As a person who has been through several home purchases, I remember clearly what it feels like to apply for a mortgage, to answer what seems like a thousand very personal questions, dig up hundreds of documents, and, after all is said and done, discover that the mortgage company wants even more information.  And then, they want some more again.

It wasn’t always clear to me why they wanted this information, and even though my loan officer would explain, he was using all the jargon that made no sense to me.  In my earlier years, especially, I didn’t have the self-confidence to question what I now recognize to be the person I employed to secure my mortgage and insist that he tell me in words of one syllable what he was saying.  I often wonder how much money I left on the table, just because I didn’t know enough to ask questions – or what questions to ask.

When you are working toward completing the biggest and most important purchase of your life, it can be downright frightening to realize that everyone around you knows so much more than you do, and they are all using these words that literally don’t mean a thing to you.  Worst of all, it may slowly dawn on you that they are using them against you!

This book is a giant head start toward understanding the jargon used in the mortgage world.  This book gives you a huge leg-up on how to use these terms effectively – and to your own advantage – when communicating with your mortgage team.

Patrick takes you step by step through the process of filling out the mortgage application – not an easy task because the application doesn’t always mean what it says – and he provides insight into and information about what the loan officer and the underwriter will be looking for.  He shows you how to keep them a little off balance by knowing in advance what they are looking for, and giving it to them before they ask.

Once you have filled out the application, Patrick shows you how to start shopping for an employee: that is, your loan officer.  Patrick shows you why and how you will interview the prospective loan officer, instead of the other way around.  Patrick shows you which questions it’s important to ask and which are throwaway questions to set the loan officer at ease.  Finally, Patrick shows you how to know when you’ve found the right mortgage team to work with.  In other words, he lets you know not only how to get started in your search, but also how to know when you’re done.

In my role as a Certified Public Accountant, I read a lot.  In my role as a professional editor, I read even more.  Much of the material I read concerns finances and how to arrange them, including how to apply for and obtain a mortgage for your home.  Most of them could –and often do – serve a secondary purpose as a guaranteed cure for insomnia!  However, you’re not going to find that in this workbook!  Not only is Patrick’s writing style conversational, it’s informal and friendly.  He doesn’t intimidate. He doesn’t bully (not even the “bad” guys).  And he doesn’t pretend to be anything he isn’t.

What Patrick is, though, is a thoroughly-knowledgeable and compassionate former mortgage professional.  Although Patrick has moved on into other occupations, it’s clear that he hasn’t lost his passion for helping people or his knowledge of the ins and outs of the mortgage business. Together, these combine to give you a strong advantage when shopping for your mortgage.

You will enjoy this book – and will profit by following the advice in it.  When you get done and your mortgage is closed, you will know you have played the Jargon Game as well as it can be played, and that you didn’t leave a pile of money on the table due to lack of knowledge, like I did, way in the past.

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