Read this paragraph in your head, emphasizing the words in bold:
“The family signed up for a mortgage at a 6% interest rate for 30 years. Closing costs were going to be $5,000. When they got to the broker’s office, they found the interest rate, terms and closing costs were all changed for the worse. They went ahead and signed the papers, despite the knowing they couldn’t meet their payments”.
Now do the same thing with this paragraph:
“The family signed up for a mortgage at a 6% interest rate for 30
years. Closing costs were going to be $5,000. When they got to the
broker’s office, they found the interest rate, terms and closing costs were all changed for the worse. They went ahead and signed the papers, despite the knowing they couldn’t meet their payments“.
Interesting, huh? They say the same thing, but when you emphasize the part about the broker switching terms, it sounds like a little more like it’s the broker’s fault. When you emphasize the part about the family signing, even though they knew they couldn’t meet the contract terms, it sounds a little more like it’s their fault.
I’m starting to realize that tricks like this are how NPR and other media outlets subtly slant their coverage to the left. For example, I heard a story on “Latino USA” on NPR the other night. It was about how Hispanic homeowners fared with the mortgage crisis. The story was extremely sympathetic to the buyer and put all the blame on the mortgage company. I found this to be unfair. Here’s the story:
A couple buy a home and agree on the mortgage terms with their mortgage broker. They moved out of their apartment and put their things in storage. Closing day arrives and they get to the broker’s office, only to find the terms have completely changed. The interest rate is higher, it balloons sooner, closing costs are higher. They sign the papers. Months later, they can’t afford their place and need assistance to keep their home.
I can agree that a bait-and-switch is reprehensible and dirty. Any mortgage company who does that should go bankrupt (and many have).
The part I find ridiculous is that the couple signed the papers anyway. I realize they had moved but if your choice is between finding an apartment quick or entering an agreement with somebody you absolutely know is unethical and putting your home and credit on the line to do so, I would have serious doubts about the integrity and reason of anybody who does the latter.
Didn’t they have recourse in the courts? Didn’t they have a good faith estimate? With the good faith estimate, that’s proof of the original agreement. Add that to the copy of the contract they were asked to sign and you have an ironclad case against the mortgage company.
What it comes down to, for me, is responsibility and integrity. One, if you sign something, that’s your word. Don’t come crying later when the very thing you knew would happen, does. Second, just because you’re sitting there signing papers and it’s your “dream house” and little birds fly around you and chirp when you think about it, you can still walk away. And you should. There are tons of other houses for sale and you’ll probably find another “dream house” in a few weeks.
Again, I agree what the mortgage company did was despicable. But the home buyers were just as fraudulent when signing the papers as the mortgage company, since they knew they couldn’t fulfill their end of the deal.
It kills me that the media pulls these kinds of tricks to try to make us agree with their points-of-view while declaring themselves unbiased. I’m going to be on the lookout for this in the future.
Have you noticed these types of tricks in any media you’ve seen (heard, read)?