Tips on What to Watch Out for When Seeking Help with a Home Foreclosure
You Can't Be Too Careful
Friday, October 06, 2006 By Lucy Landley
A person in home foreclosure is in serious financial distress and if that person is you, and you are seeking financial guidance it is important to be eruditely selective. Private and Real-estate Investors offering legitimate help are great people to turn to in home foreclosure. However there is always a chance of meeting a bad apple, someone with ulterior motives and a hunger for your money! Be aware. There have been reported scams where people in home foreclosure have been taken complete advantage of and literally put on the streets with nowhere to go. Here’s what can happen and what to watch out for…
For starters, there are agencies which will offer financial help and advising for a fee. They claim to help find a way out by making phone calls but here’s the catch: you might be over charged for services that you, as a homeowner, can do on your own terms! This is something to watch out for because when in home foreclosure money is already tight and losing more to a scam is not a step forward.
Secondly, there are people who will offer to buy your house and give you the false hope of renting to (one day) own again. Here’s the catch: they never intended for you to live in the house again. Somewhere along the fine print it says, for instance, that if you are late on a payment you must leave immediately. Suddenly this person, who seemed to want to help you, becomes your worst nightmare. Anyone who prevaricates the truth in any way gives you every right to refute their misleading offers and look elsewhere.
There is a scam out there called the “bait-and-switch” where homeowners are taken advantage of in the most absurd way. The “fisherman” will present you with documents that you think you are signing in order to bring your mortgage up to date, however here’s the catch: In actuality, you are signing over ownership of your home! In this horrible scenario, it is possible that the mortgage lender was never made aware of the switch and therefore the original owner is still held responsible for mortgage payments.
As of October 17, 2005 the new bankruptcy law went into effect, meaning the "bait-and-switch" is no longer such an easily accessible option. It is still an option, just not as easy to accomplish as it was this time last year. There are bankruptcy agencies you will encounter that will vow to find a way to help you file for bankruptcy, and the promise will be held. Here’s the catch: bankruptcy is not the best way to go for everyone, (even if a bankruptcy attorney tells you otherwise). A possible downfall of filing bankruptcy is that charges and fees can accrue setting you up to owe money down the line. If you are in home foreclosure, a decision like filing bankruptcy requires serious consideration and knowledge of the legal process.
In every realm of business there are unethical people. When you are in home foreclosure there are ways to get help and unfortunately in that realm of help, there are dishonest imposters calling themselves investors. As a consumer, looking for a way out of the mess of foreclosing on your home, you need to be aware of the good and bad out there. The investors that are ethical and rightful in helping are who you want to look for. Each city has good (hopefully weighing out the bad) investors who truly want to help get you back on a positive note. For information and access to local investors in your city, go to NAFPP.org
Lucy Landley: Lucy Landley is a writer for the National Association of Foreclosure Prevention Professionals, and regular contributor of foreclosure related articles.