The National Association of Realtors said it is concerned over the rising rate of defaults and foreclosures occurring in many areas around the country, and many realtors believe that some families don't understand the risks of taking out "exotic" mortgages.
In a conference call yesterday with the Center for Responsible Lending and the Leadership Conference on Civil Rights, NAR President Pat Vredevoogd Combs urged consumers to make sure they understand the risks and rewards of all types of mortgages before they make a decision on a loan. She also advised consumers to consult with a realtor and to participate in mortgage education programs sponsored by realtors before they buy a home.
"We are committed to helping people buy â€“ and keep â€“ the home of their dreams, and an educated consumer really can make the best decision," said Combs, of Grand Rapids, Mich., and vice president of Coldwell Banker-AJS-Schmidt. "Realtors help Americans achieve the dream of homeownership. We work to ensure that homebuyers have access to the proper information so they can fulfill their homeownership goals."
Foreclosures are not only a disaster for families but also for communities. Problematic loans are often made in concentrated areas, and high foreclosure rates of single-family homes can seriously threaten a neighborhood's stability and a community's well being. "Foreclosures can lead to high vacancy rates, which in turn, can cause all homes in the neighborhood to lose value," said Combs.
Last year, NAR partnered with CRL in jointly issuing two consumer education brochures on nontraditional and traditional mortgages. Last month, NAR and CRL released a new brochure designed to help families avoid predatory lending.