What Are My Rights as a Home Buyer?

As a home buyer, you may be wondering how your are protected against unfair treatment and consumer fraud. There are a number of acts out there that protect you as a home buyer, so let’s take a look at what your home-buying rights are before purchasing a house.

Fair Housing Act Rights

First, it’s good to know that thanks to the Fair Housing Act (Title VIII of the Civil Rights Act of 1988) there are a number of rights that you have. Here are a few:

  • Discrimination is illegal. The act makes it illegal to discriminate against – or deny occupancy to – anyone wanting to buy a home based on their race, color, national origin, sex, handicap, religion, or familial status (usually, this pertains to being pregnant or having children).
  • You have a right to fair lending. Also, it’s good to know that no one can refuse to give you a loan due to any of the above discriminatory reasons. The only reasons that they can refuse you are due to unacceptable credit history, insufficient income, or other financial or credit factors.

Consumer Protection

In addition to your Fair Housing Rights as a home buyer, it’s good to know what your home-buying rights are in relation to consumer protection. As a consumer, you deserve to receive the following information from your lender:

  • A loan cost estimate. While the lender may not be able to give you an exact price, they should be able to provide you with a “good faith estimate” of the closing costs when applying for the loan.
  • The annual percentage rate (APR). This rate shows how much your mortgage should cost based on a yearly percentage rate. The lender should provide this to help you compare with other lenders’ rates.
  • Schedule of payments and finance charge. The schedule of your monthly payments, as well as your finance charges associated with stretching your loan out for 30 years should be provided.
  • Late payment charges. You should also be provided with what you”ll be charged if you make a payment after the payment due date.

To avoid being violated in anyway as a home buyer, it’s a good idea to educate yourself on what your home-buying rights are.