In this environment, there are many people who truly do want to help a fellow home owner in distress. There are also people who will gladly prey on the desperation of a distressed home owner and make the situation worse.
In some cases, home owners have a very limited amount of time to make decisions before they are made for them. Making the wrong one can cost a lot more than the money paid up front.
The Office of the Comptroller of Currency has recently identified the top 10 slogans associated with a mortgage modification scam:
1. “Pay us $1,000, and we’ll save your home.”
Some legitimate housing counselors may charge small fees, but fees that amount to thousands of dollars are sign of potential fraud — especially if they are charged up-front.
2. “I guarantee I will save your home – trust me.” Beware of guarantees. Unrealistic promises are a sign that the person making
them has not considered your specific circumstances.
3. “Sign over your home, and we’ll let you stay in it.” Be very suspicious if someone offers to pay your mortgage and rent your home back to you in exchange for transferring the title. Signing over the deed gives another person the power to evict you, raise your rent or sell the house.
4. “Stop paying your mortgage.” Do not trust anyone who tells you to stop making payments to your lender and servicer, even if
that person says it will be done for you.
5. “If your lender calls, don’t talk to them.” Your lender should be your first point of contact for negotiating a repayment plan,
modification, or short sale.
6. “Your lender never had the legal authority to make a loan.” Do not listen to anyone who claims that “secret laws” or “secret
information” will be used to eliminate your debt and have your mortgage contract declared invalid.
7. “Just sign this now; we’ll fill in the blanks later.” Take the time to read and understand anything you sign. Never let anyone else fill out paperwork for you. Don’t let anyone pressure you into signing anything that you don’t agree with or understand.
8. “Call 1-800-Fed-Loan.” Some companies trick borrowers into believing that they are affiliated with or are approved by the government or tell you that you must pay them high fees to qualify for government loan modification programs.
9. “File for bankruptcy and keep your home.” Filing bankruptcy only temporarily stops foreclosure. If your mortgage payments are not made, the bankruptcy court will eventually allow your lender to foreclose on your home.
10. “Why haven’t you replied to our offer? Do you want to live on the streets?” High-pressure tactics signal trouble.
If you suspect that you are a victim of a mortgage modification scam, please call your Attorney General.
With the right assistance, the stress of facing foreclosure becomes manageable. CDPE-designated agents
have received the knowledge and training necessary to assess all possible foreclosure alternatives and pursue
homeowners’ best options. A CDPE-designated agent attends several days of intensive, thorough training on
foreclosure avoidance and how to negotiate short sales efficiently and ethically. The highly regarded CDPE logo means you are working with the most informed, up-to-date resource available. Visit www.dontforeclosenow.com to find out more information about your options as a distressed home owner.