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Warning: Expiring mortgage-rate lock-ins

Posted by: Peter Coy on June 10, 2009

Just heard from a friend whose friend is losing what she thought was a sure-thing cheap rate on a mortgage. The lender got so busy that the 45-day lock-in is expiring.

My friend writes:

Seems like a pretty naked attempt to weasel out of the original low rate and make more money from her (certainly unethical, and maybe even illegal?)

My impression is that deliberately holding up an application during a period of rising rates would be illegal, but simply falling behind because of lots of paperwork would not be. I just went to the consumer’s guide on mortgages published by HSH Associates . It says borrowers can lose lock-ins whether the delays are “caused by you, others involved in the settlement process, or the lender.”

Have you lost out on a lock-in through no fault of your own, because the lender was swamped? If so, how mad were you?

Reader Comments


December 25, 2009 5:24 PM


I am walking from a house purchase over the Holidays because the the cost to get the money to buy the house skyrocketed in the last two weeks due to the volatile market.

I applied in early Dec and asked the originator to lock me time and time again when rates were low- but they claimed they wouldn't do it due to technicality and left me floating despite knowing that I was going to close in short order.

By the time I got them the piece of paper they wanted rates had sky rocketed from 4.5% to 5% in just two short weeks and the originator wouldn't honor the numbers on the disclosures.

My opinion: loan originators are all POS and would sell their own mothers out if they could.

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BusinessWeek editors Chris Palmeri, Prashant Gopal and Peter Coy chronicle the highs and lows of the housing and mortgage markets on their Hot Property blog. In print and online, the Hot Property team first wrote about the potential downside of lenders pushing riskier, "option ARM" mortgages and the rise in mortgage fraud back in 2005—well ahead of many other media outlets. In 2008, Hot Property bloggers finished #1 in a ranking of the world's top 100 "most powerful property people" by the British real estate website Global edge. Hot Property was named among the 25 most influential real estate blogs of 2007 by Inman News.

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