Why your mortgage lender might be checking you out on social media
Changes to mortgage rules in 2014 have made it more difficult to get a home loan. Lenders are now asking more questions as part of your mortgage interview and are analysing your spending habits more closely than they have ever done before in order to ensure your new mortgage is affordable to you.
A report in the Daily Mirror has also revealed that lenders are turning to social media to check that applicants are telling the truth in their applications. So, how could your LinkedIn profile or Instagram account sabotage your mortgage application – or even send you to jail.
Lenders increasingly turning to social media to identify mortgage fraud
Specialist trade magazine Mortgage Solutions has revealed that lenders are increasingly turning to social media to establish that mortgage applicants are telling the truth. Underwriters at banks and building societies are browsing your Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn and other social media accounts to make sure that the information you give to them is correct.
The Daily Mirror recently reported a case where a lender found an applicant claiming to be a UK resident only ever posted photos of Dubai on their Instagram account.
Mortgage broker Dominik Lipnicki says: “Whether you’re applying for a job or you are applying for finance, especially a big commitment like a mortgage, what you put on the internet can be available to everyone. Take your job history on LinkedIn. Lenders can see if you’ve just recently resigned after saying you’re in full employment, or even if you have ill health. Or if you’re posting about a messy separation on Facebook, but you told the lender you’re applying on a joint income.”
Hiding information could land you a term in prison
While it may make sense for you to be discreet with your private life, Lipnicki stresses that the answer is not to hide important facts from the lender. He adds: “Clients should be aware that lying on an application form is committing mortgage fraud. It’s not just a case of being turned down, it could be much more serious.”
Keith Osborne, editor of new homes website Whathouse.com agrees. He says: "Tweaking your application to make it look more favourable to a lender might seem innocent enough but it could land you in big trouble. Pretending you have fewer children to meet affordability rules or exaggerating your job is considered mortgage fraud and if you are caught you could end up in prison.
“Trying to pull the wool over a lender’s eyes often won't work, especially if they can access information about you through social media. A better idea is to change your spending habits before you apply for a mortgage and to keep your current account in good order,” he adds.
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