Five years ago, John Tuccillo, the former chief economist for the National Association of Realtors, warned that home loans had become so easy to obtain that "anybody who could breathe on a mirror can get a mortgage." I thought about that quote this week when a newspaper colleague attempted to get the prepayment penalty removed on the loan he took out four years ago. The mortgage included a penalty if the borrower refinanced or paid off the loan within the first five years. "What is crazy is that I nearly walked away from the mortgage at first because I felt it was too easy to get," the man said. "The loan officer didn't really care about verifying my income -- she just wanted to get the deal done and closed. Now, we can't seem to locate the investor who b...
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