You've seen TV commercials, deleted solicitations from your email and tossed junk ads for foreclosure and refinance help. Mortgage lenders and government programs do offer legitimate assistance for people in danger of losing their homes. However, there are also organizations making profits while providing no real assistance to homeowners or even taking payments and skipping town! Use these tips to find genuine assistance at low or no cost.
- Contact your mortgage lender first: Dealing directly with your mortgage lender is your first and best option for mortgage assistance. Your lender has information about foreclosure prevention programs and government refinance and relief programs.
- Ignore unsolicited offers of mortgage help from third parties: Foreclosure filings are public and accessible to potential scam artists. Responding to unsolicited offers can lead to mortgage fraud or inadvertently signing away title to your home.
- Request and compare refinancing and mortgage quotes from multiple sources: Predatory lenders may offer improbable home loan terms, but there is always a catch. Legitimate lenders also offer incentives, but clearly spell out all costs and fees associated with your new loan.
- Avoid sales pressure: Saving your home is serious business, and considering your options requires taking time to evaluate and compare mortgage rates, loan terms and homeowner relief programs. Professional and ethical mortgage brokers and lenders understand that you're lender quotes for the best mortgage rates and terms. If your home is in foreclosure, there may be time constraints. Follow instructions and read all correspondence from your lender.
- Read and listen carefully: Mortgage representatives or assistance program agents advising you not to worry about making mortgage payments or reading loan papers compromise your rights and credit. Never sign any documents without reading them. If you don't understand them, ask for clarification or get help from a HUD-approved housing counseling agency or real estate attorney. Although it's a relief to hear someone say, "We'll take care of everything," it can lead to trouble if you don't fully understand what you're signing.
Check with your state's attorney general, local law enforcement or the Better Business Bureau to learn more about foreclosure scams. The Federal Trade Commission also reports foreclosure scams and provides guidance for homeowners experiencing problems with making mortgage payments. Seeking help immediately may provide more relief options and cost less. Foreclosure fees and unpaid mortgage interest continue to accrue until your mortgage is brought current or refinanced.