Stop Foreclosure and Avoid Foreclosure Scams

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					In September, foreclosure rates were up 46% in Washington over last year
at this time. As more people are faced with this difficult situation, I
guess it is inevitable that more and more con artists will emerge to try
to take advantage of those in this vulnerable position.This article will
look at some of the most common scams encountered by homeowners who are
faced with foreclosure, and will provide some simple rules to follow that
will allow you to outwit the con artists, and save your home.THREE COMMON
FORECLOSURE SCAMS: (and Simple Rules to Defeat Them)Scam #1. The
Foreclosure "Consultant" ScamIn this scam, someone tells you that you
should sign over your deed (commonly known as a "quit-claim" deed) to
them, to be held in escrow. Then they will have you take out short term
loans, and have the proceeds wired to their own accounts.To make matters
worse, the foreclosure "consultant" will promise to renegotiate the
homeowners debt, and/or prevent the foreclosure. These "consultants" have
the homeowner pay them some combination of an up-front fee, a monthly
fee, and/or "rent." The promised foreclosure relief and debt
renegotiation never takes place.Rule #1: Do Not Sign Over The Deed To
Your Home: All the variations of this scam begin with asking the
homeowner to sign over their deed. If you do this, you haven't just lost
your house, you've given it away. Or even worse, paid someone to take it
from you!Scam #2. The "Bankruptcy/Foreclosure" Scam According to the
U.S. Department of Justice, this is the most common foreclosure scam on
the West Coast. The con artist says they can save the homeowners house
for a fee of several hundred to a few thousand dollars a month. They
have their "clients" sign the bankruptcy forms and tell them they will be
working on their behalf, often stating that they will pay the mortgage
payments out of their fee. The "client" doesn't question the actions of
the consultant, because, for a time, the foreclosure is automatically
postponed by the initiation of bankruptcy proceedings, and the homeowners
stop receiving collection calls and letters.There are two variations on
this scam.   In the first, a new bankruptcy is partially filed for the
homeowners. This automatically stops the foreclosure action.
Unfortunately, the bankruptcy process falls through, as no one actually
appears in court, and the house is foreclosed on. The second variation
simply takes a partial interest in the home (remember: Don't sign over
your deed), and transfers that interest to an individual or business
already involved in a bankruptcy. The partial interest may be
transferred several times, up to a record 24 times in one case!Rule #2:
When Filing Bankruptcy, Work With a Reputable Attorney: Don't try to
save a few dollars by avoiding attorney's fees. If you are going to file
bankruptcy, it's because you have something you don't want to lose. It's
definitely worthwhile to pay a bankruptcy attorney to represent you.Scam
#3. The "Remodel" Scam This scam works by having a "contractor" contact
the homeowners, offering to remodel their home. After the remodel, so the
story goes, the home will be able to sell for more money, which will be
split between the "contractor" and the homeowner. The trap is set when
the homeowner is required to sign over the house. Alternatively, the
homeowner may be told that they need to immediately move their belongings
out of the house so they can start construction.Instead, the home is
immediately rented out for cash, the mortgage payments remain unpaid, and
the "contractor" often files bankruptcy so that he, not you, can hold
onto the property a little longer.Rule #3: Don't Move Out: When you
move out of your home, you lose a lot of your options, as well as
incurring rental expenses for your temporary residence.Facing foreclosure
can be a very difficult time for all homeowners. Falling behind on
mortgage payments can occur for a number of unfortunate but legitimate
reasons. It may seem like the entire world is out to get you.But there
is good news, if you are a few months behind on your mortgage payments.
There are mortgage experts who can help you, and there are loan products
designed specifically to keep you from losing your house. Most lenders
can get you a temporary or "quick-fix" loan, but you need to make sure
that you have a sound exit strategy in place or you may find yourself in
worse shape than you are right now.

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