Never allow a lender to rush you into signing. Always read documents before you sign them, and if you don't understand, don't sign.

You can protect yourself against losing your home to inappropriate lending practices. Here's how:


• Agree to a home equity loan if you don't have enough income to make the monthly payments.

• Sign any document you haven't read or any document that has blank spaces even if the lender suggests it's okay to do so.

• Let anyone pressure you into signing any document you do not understand.

• Agree to a loan that includes credit insurance or extras you don't want.

• Let the promise of extra cash or lower monthly payments get in the way of your good judgment.


• Ask specifically if credit insurance is required as a condition of the loan.

• Guard your home's equity fiercely. Once spent it will be difficult, if not impossible, to replace.

• Keep careful records of what you've paid. Challenge any charge you think is inaccurate.

• Check contractors' references and get more than one estimate.

• Read all items carefully. If you need an explanation of any terms or conditions, talk to someone you know and trust.

© 2004 The Cheapskate Monthly. All rights reserved. Used with permission.

 "The Cheapskate Monthly" was founded in 1992 by Mary Hunt.  What began as a newsletter to encourage and empower people to break free from the bondage of consumer debt has grown into a huge community of ordinary people who have achieved remarkable success in their quest to effectively manage their money and stay out of debt.  Today, "The Cheapskate Monthly" is read by close to 100,000 Cheapskates.      Click here to subscribe.

Seeking financial harmony in your marriage? Read Mary Hunt's book Debt-Proof Your Marriage published by Revell.