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As a matter of general information, when selecting a mortgage company or broker, survey many different lenders to find the best interest rates as well as the loan package best suited to your individual needs. Understand what rates and points are charged for the various fixed and adjustable financing available. Examine such requirements as the lowest acceptable downpayment and if private mortgage insurance is required.

Additionally, determine what is required to 'lock-in' on a rate quote, how long the application process typically takes, and what fee may be associated with processing an application.

Become educated in what types of mortgages are available and the mortgage process itself. As of January 1, 2000, a mortgage broker operating in Texas must be licensed and subject to regulation oversight. The law is administered under the Texas Savings and Loan Commissioner. For more information, visit the Texas Association of Realtors' website at

If you are facing the possibility of foreclosure on your home or considering filing bankruptcy, the Department of Justice suggests that you be aware of bankruptcy foreclosure scams. Watch for the following signs of a possible scam:

1) Advertising that reads, in part, ' your home, stop foreclosure now...we refinance mortgages regardless of your credit history...'

2) Advertising that offers 'mortgage assistance' OR 'foreclosure counseling' and which promises to work out the home owner's problems with the mortgagee or obtain re-financing for an up-front fee

3) A company representative that offers to collect your monthly mortgage payments and forward them to the mortgagee.

4) A company seeks to have the homeowner 'quit-claim' the home to them OR offers to sell the residence for a nominal fee

5) A company seeks to charge the homeowner 'rent' or 'consultant's fee' or 'management fee'. Even if you are feeling pinched or over your head in your mortgage, you should stay in touch with your mortgage company and seek the advice of an attorney that specializes in these types of situations.

Other BBB resources: Pamphlet entitled 'Predatory Lending'

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