When it comes to important life events, the line between what is true and what you wish were true can get blurry. For instance, if you want a job, you might overstate your abilities in certain areas on an application; if you’re looking to meet a partner online, you might choose an older picture of yourself to use on your profile.

However, when it comes to seeking a loan and buying house, the details you wish were true are irrelevant. In fact, misrepresenting yourself, lying or withhold certain information can lead to criminal allegations of fraud.

This article explains five of the more common examples of fraud that people commit when applying for a mortgage:

  1. Inflating your income to secure a larger loan.
  2. Calling a loan for your down payment but calling it a gift.
  3. Utilizing a silent second mortgage.
  4. Failing to disclose agreements with the seller to the lender.
  5. Saying you will live in a home you plan to rent out.

These might seem like little white lies or harmless details, but the fact is that they can be grounds for fraud charges as well as penalties from the lender, including higher interest rates. This is true even when the oversights or inaccuracies are unintentional.

Applying for a mortgage can be overwhelming and confusing; there is a lot of information the lender will need and there is also a lot at stake.

As such, it is critical that applicants take the process seriously and carefully review their paperwork before submitting it. Often, having an experienced attorney examine a mortgage and/or application can provide an added level of security in knowing that the documents are properly filled out.

Understand that lenders, sellers’ agents and other parties involved in the home buying process typically have considerable experience and resources when it comes to dealing with the legal aspects of real estate transactions. If you do not enjoy these same luxuries, having an attorney by your side can help you pursue a fair outcome and avoid costly missteps.