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What Is A Sub-Prime Mortgage Loan

Jul 30, 2008
With all of the talk in the news lately about the decline of the United States economy and the real estate market many have been hearing the term "sub-prime mortgage. But what is a sub-prime mortgage? And considering all of the negatives associated with such a mortgage product are there any benefits for someone to seek out and obtain a sub-prime mortgage?

A sub-prime mortgage is a loan to a borrower with less than perfect credit. This can happen to the borrower for many different reasons that put them in the position of needing a mortgage loan they may not otherwise be able to get.

A sub-prime borrower has either missed payments or been late on them. This forces the lender to view them as a higher risk on a new loan. They recognize they may have higher costs associated with this type of borrower so they charge a higher rate to compensate for potential losses.

Sub-prime loans can be structured in various ways. The most common loan of this type is the ARM loan. An adjustable rate mortgage can appear to the borrower as though they are getting a favorable rate at first when in reality it only starts out that way.

The major problem with this is when the loan adjusts to a higher rate many of the borrowers cannot make the payments, which causes their home to go into foreclosure. This only leads to more bad credit and financial problems for them.

Today you hear about the high foreclosure rates in America and much of it goes back to sub-prime loans. It reality the lender is partly to blame and some of them have been hit so hard they are going into bankruptcy themselves. These are usually smaller lending institutions that are having a hard time weathering the storm, however even the largest of lenders are hurting from all these bad loans.

It does not have to be all bad however. There are many benefits to both the borrower and lender on sub-prime mortgages. First of all this gives the borrower a chance to improve their credit score by making the payments on time. This can lead to you being able to qualify for a better interest rate which can be done by refinancing the sub-prime loan.

It can be good for people who have run into some bad luck financially. Things like job loss or divorce can really hurt a person's credit, so can an unforeseen tragedy such as an illness or disaster caused by a storm. A sub-prime loan can help these people get back on their feet as well.

From the lenders point of view they charge high rates and can make high profits when sub-prime loans work out. This allows them to be part of helping a person get a new home they may not have been able to get and making a profit as well.

Hopefully this will answer your question on what a sub-prime mortgage is and if it applies to you will give you confidence to go in and apply for one yourself.
About the Author
Veronica Key is a sales representative for Forest Hill Real Estate and is a waterfront Toronto condos expert. Contact Veronica and her team of professionals for information on Toronto real estate prices and to search for available properties.
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