Please please me

Please please me

J. Tobias Beard, what a super job you did with the Westhaven Community Day story ["Where’s Westhaven at?"]!

I have attended the annual Westhaven Day for many years—I do their slide show of the event—and I am so pleased with your feature and Kelly [Kollar]’s photos.

Your story was in depth and kind and revealing. I think that Joy Johnson and Holly Edwards and all the people in the community must be pleased with your efforts.

Thank you so much for such an interesting portrait of Westhaven and the Community Day event.

I’ve been away but finally got an August 14-20 edition of C-VILLE today at the Pantops Giant!

Way to go, super reporting.

Mary Miller

No love for clove

Miller’s: tobacco-friendly bar in Charlottesville? ["Think you know what’s best?" August 14, 2007.] Ask anyone who smokes clove cigarettes how "friendly" it is when they are banned from smoking there. Thank goodness there are establishments where clove cigs are not maligned (Dürty Nelly’s, Charlie’s in Crozet, etc.). I do not understand at all how Miller’s rates as being tobacco-friendly.

Sherry Moon

Lending some advice

Insightful article ["100 doorbells in 90 degrees," Government News, August 14, 2007]. Thought you might also find this interesting. The Center for Responsible Lending estimates that Americans lose $9.1 billion each year to predatory lenders.

For many mortgage loan officers and brokers in dealing with minorities and the elderly, lives of trickery and deceit are rewarded annually with six-figure incomes. 

But as a senior loan officer for a regional mortgage bank, I had enough. I walked away from the industry and, as my "penance," wrote Kickback: Confessions of a Mortgage Salesman. Its purpose: to disclose predatory lending schemes to potential borrowers before they transact a mortgage.

I believe that education, not legislation, is the best method to eliminate predatory lending in this country.

From the book, here are the Top 10 Mistakes Mortgage Borrowers Make:

1. Not knowing which mortgage fees the borrower can—and cannot—negotiate.  

2. Choosing and trusting the first loan officer the borrower interviews. 

3. Using an interest-only or "payment option" adjustable-rate loan primarily to qualify for a more expensive house than you could normally afford.

4. Thinking the interest rate is always the main thing. 

5. Not comparing the final fees listed on the closing documents to the up-front estimates to avoid the lender packing the loan with added-on fees without the borrower’s knowledge.

6. Not knowing if the mortgage has a pre-payment penalty—until it’s too late. 

7. Thinking that renting is always just throwing money away. 

8. The borrower does not know if he or she is paying a back-end yield spread or Service Release Premium.  

9. Paying for mortgage life insurance, credit insurance or other expensive lender add-ons to increase the amount of kickbacks the lender can receive from various vendors.

10. Paying hundreds of dollars to have a company set up a biweekly mortgage payment plan, something the borrower can generally do for herself or himself—for free.

Ted Janusz