How do mortgage companies get away with this stuff?
I feel like I'm already a bit jaded and cynical about marketing, especially in the financial world - hence my creating this Web site in the first place - but as a homeowner, there's still one area of finances that astonishes me, and that's mortgage refinance companies.
Have you ever received a letter from one of these firms? They not only go far out of their way to hoodwink you into opening the letters, making them look like legal documents, letters from your own mortgage bank, or worse.
But what really astonishes me is that these companies also design their letters to trick you too. Indeed, I recently received one from a company I won't name that looked so much like it was from the bank that holds our mortgage that it wasn't until I used Google to search for the phone number that I realized it was a mortgage broker!
I mean, it's really pretty weird that the value of my mortgage loan is a matter of apparent public record anyway somehow, which must be the case because I get 3-4 letters each and every single week from companies trying to convince me that it's oh, so worth it to extend our mortgage for a few years - or longer - so we can either tap into our equity and get some quick cash, or simply lower our monthly bills.
But those are pretty poor reasons for most people, because if you actually do the math, you'll find that getting $20,000 now might well end up costing you $30,000 or more by the time you finally pay off the additional principal that's been added to your new "improved" mortgage loan.
And as for lowering your monthly bills, well, most mortgage banks are interested in talking with customers about refinancing or renegotiating loan terms rather than going through the pain and cost of a default or bankruptcy, so why go through third parties?
For that matter, even if you did decide to go through a third party mortgage broker, why on earth would you pick one who tried to trick you with their letter design in the first place? I know that's a sure guarantee I"ll never work with a firm...
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