Homeowners facing foreclosure should be aware of unscrupulous lenders and scammers. Don’t get me wrong, most lenders and agencies are reputable and legit. However some lenders, commonly second mortgage issuers will use unethical practices that increase the risk of nonpayment by the borrower. These tactics may include lending a large amount in hopes that the borrower will not be able to keep up with the payments, charging outrageous interest, points or fees. They may also repeatedly refinance the loan without any real beneficial reason to the borrower. Homeowners facing foreclosure are often targets of these scammers because they are seeking any solution possible at the time.
One of the most common tricks is an “equity skim”. What is equity skimming? This is when a buyer approaches you and offers to get you out of foreclosure buy paying off the mortgage or offering money when the property is sold. They will often suggest you move out quickly and sign the deed over to them. They will then collect rent from the property and fail to make payments on the mortgage. The lender will continue the foreclosure process and foreclose. Signing over the deed does not mean you are no longer obligated to make mortgage payments.
Another trick scammer’s use is to set up a “counseling” agency. They may contact you offering to do certain services for a given fee. Often times these are thing you can do yourself for free. It is important to note that most services are legitimate and will provide lots of great help.
So what do you do if you suspect you are being duped? The most important things is don’t sign any documents unless you fully understand what you are signing. If the party you are dealing with makes any sort of promises make sure they are in writing. If you arrange a contract of sale loan assumption make sure you know weather or not you are released from liability of the debt. Consult with your attorney before agreeing to any deal that involved your home. Should you decide to sell your home to stop foreclosure, have a look at any possible complaints pertaing to the prospective buyer.
Mark Lambie is the owner of Stop Home Foreclosure a website for helping people facing foreclosure.