Protect Yourself from Scams, Foreclosure’s and Loan Modification
By Sandy Flores
Instructor in Real Estate Santa Ana College
There are many homeowners who are going through difficult financial situations and are looking for help to keep your property. The first thing to know is who they are dealing with before you give your personal information to anyone. Always research the company or person with whom you will work. You can go to the Association of Good Practice in the Commercial Market, known in English as the Better Business Bureau. You can also use the Office of Consumer Protection of the State of California to see if the company or organization is legally recognized or if there have been complaints or claims against it.
Unfortunately there have been opportunistic companies known as “specialists foreclosure rescue” or “companies specializing in loan modifications” and others that promise to help homeowners who are facing foreclosure to save their property, refinance or modify your mortgage and improve your credit to buy time.
They are companies that promise to pay your mortgage in arrears, and even improve your credit debt consolidation. But they tell you to do so you must pass “temporarily” writing home to a “third person or entity.” They allow you to continue living at home as a renter with option to buy back her home after a certain period of time. The problem arises when you transfer your rights to another living person ceases to regain housing option.
They are companies that will suggest filing for bankruptcy. It is important that you make this decision is very knowledgeable of the consequences that bankruptcy brings. The process of bankruptcy delays foreclosure, while the company may be collecting the payments on your mortgage. Remember that bankruptcy law provides important protection to consumers and it is up to you to inform all its benefits and disadvantages.
It is important to contact the financial institution that made the loan to find real options to avoid foreclosure. If someone offers you do the negotiations with your lender and charges for these services, check their credentials, work license, reputation and experience. To be sure that it is being assisted by an honest professional, governed under the laws that protect you as a consumer.
Remember that there are government agencies and non-profit agencies that provide free counseling services to homeowners who are facing financial difficulties. These agencies are certified under the Department of Housing and Urban Development United States (Housing Urban Development, HUD) and offer all kinds of counseling since the modification or refinancing your loan, how to avoid foreclosure.
If your you think you have been scammed, it is very important that you contact an attorney. A lawyer can help you with the process for eviction hearings before a judge. People on low incomes can access free legal services by visiting the website: www.findlegalhelp.org .
You can also get information on the HUD website: www.hud.gov or call (800) 569-4287.
Additional Protection Foundation Homeownership, whose website is: www.995hope.org , or call (888) 995-HOPE.
Know what you sign and get all promises and agreements in writing. Do not sign blank documents. Note that usually verbal promises and agreements relating to your home are not backed by law. Protect your rights to a document or contract signed by the person who is providing services and keep copies.