Until recently the Denver real estate market was one of the few in the country that did not have licensing requirements for mortgage lenders. Although the Colorado Division of Real Estate has implemented a new Mortgage Broker registration procedure, unscrupulous lenders are still finding ways to exploit home buyers looking to get financed on the purchase of a new home. Before talking to a mortgage professional about getting pre-qualified for your next loan, consider the following information and take the necessary steps to protect yourself:
Your personal information is a hot commodity.
Requesting a credit check is a crucial step in the home buying process, one that all lenders will require before considering you for a mortgage loan. Unfortunately most people fail to realize that the inquiry data that is collected by the major credit repositories (Equifax, TransUnion, and Experian) each time your credit is checked has now become a salable commodity and a significant revenue source for these companies.
The inquiry data that is collected on your credit report is compiled into an “inquiry lead” that includes your name, address, phone numbers (including unlisted numbers), credit scores, current debt and debt history, property information, age, gender and income, which is then sold at a premium to an indefinite number of other mortgage lenders for a significant profit. Once these lenders have your information they will employ every bait-and-switch tactic necessary to recoup their investment in an attempt to lure you away from your reputable lender, which is usually accomplished by contacting you shortly after getting pre-qualified and telling you your information has been “passed on” to them by your current lender because they weren’t able to offer the same competitive interest rates and loan programs.
Protect yourself by “opting out” 48 hours prior to talking to any lender.
The Consumer Credit Reporting Industry has provided a way to remove your name from lead lists. You can contact them by phone at 1-888-567-8688 or online at www.optoutprescreen.com, or by aligning yourself with one of the many reputable mortgage lenders that the Denver real estate market has to offer and asking them to assist you. You must “opt out” at least 48 hours prior to having your credit checked to ensure your request is processed in time. If you plan to have your credit checked prior to the 48 hour waiting period you are now an informed consumer, and can be vigilant of suspicious phone calls or mailers from lenders who may have purchased your information.
You have the right to shop for the real estate and mortgage professionals that best suit your needs. Take the necessary steps to protect your privacy and ensure that you’re able to align yourself with the professionals of your choice. Unsolicited marketing tactics can be annoying and intrusive, but five quick minutes to opt out of these schemes can protect your right to make informed choices on your terms.
Damon and Josh are co-founders of Colorado House Finders, a full-service resource for real estate in Colorado. Their dedication to customer service and knowledge of the Colorado real estate market make them the smart choice when thinking about a move to Colorado.