Truth and Lending








The importance of being truthful on a mortgage application. “It’s one of the most common lies that home buyers tell mortgage lenders, and it may be on the upswing: In order to get a lower interest rate and down payment, applicants say they plan to occupy the house as a principal residence when in fact they have no such intention.

The incidence of occupancy misrepresentation rose 20 percent between 2011 and 2013, according to giant investor Fannie Mae’s latest sampling of loans involving known fraud.

Lenders and loan officers confirm that they regularly encounter falsehoods about occupancy. Paul Skeens, president of Colonial Mortgage Group in Waldorf, Md., says, “I probably have someone try to tell me that [the house] will be owner-occupied twice a month, and [I] know darn well it isn’t.” Skeens says he then tries to “guide them through the nuances” — occupancy misrepresentation is illegal and not worth the risk.”