How can you determine who is legitimate and who is not? Here is a list of 15 questions you might want to ask anyone who offers to help you avoid foreclosure.
- Are you charging any fees or commissions for your services? The answer should be a definitive “no.” Owner Finance Homes will NEVER charge a fee to sit down and discuss alternatives with you, explain what we believe is the best option given your particular circumstances, or work with you to avoid foreclosure. If someone is asking you to pay anything for his or her services, consider giving us a call or talking with someone else.
- Can you promise me that I can avoid foreclosure? Unless someone understands your situation in depth, promises made probably are not worth the breath it took to make them. We will work as hard as we can to help you avoid foreclosure, we will exhaust every option we have, yet we will not make promises we know we absolutely cannot keep.
- Will I have to make any repairs to my house before I can sell it? No, we will take ownership of your property just as it is today. We will then make the necessary repairs before we sell it or rent it out.
- Will I have to sign any contracts with you? Owner Finance Homes will NEVER ask you to sign a contract in order for us to sit down with you and discuss your alternatives. We will not ask you to sign anything for a consultation. If we agree to purchase your house and you agree to sell it, we will ask you to sign a standard real estate contract provided by the Texas Real Estate Commission.
- The other consulting company told me they would fill out all the paperwork. Should I let them? Owner Finance Homes will fill out all the paperwork for whatever type of transaction we both conclude best serves your needs. We will, however, ask that you take the time to sit down and carefully read every document. We will make ourselves available to answer any and all your questions, and even suggest you have an attorney review the documents if you are not entirely comfortable with your understanding of them. We suggest you not work with anyone unless that company is willing to do the same. Owner Finance Homes will also give you whatever time you require to read fully and be comfortable with the contract before signing. Never sign any contract while under duress or feeling pressured, until you are entirely comfortable doing so.
- Will you provide any assistance for me other than helping me avoid foreclosure? Owner Finance Homes is committed to generating freedom from your current situation, and then helping you along the path towards prosperity. Once we work with you to avoid foreclosure, Owner Finance Homes will offer you the opportunity, at no obligation to you, to learn how to: restore your credit, reduce your consumer debt, manage within a budget, and generate real prosperity in your life. No other company, to our knowledge, offers these additional services.
- Do I have to release any personal financial information in order to get help? You should not release any personal information to someone unless you trust the person completely. You do not have to provide any personal information merely to sell your house. If you are selling your property through a short sale, some personal information will be required to submit to the bank.
- If I agree to have someone buy my house through a short sale, can I get any money back? Generally, banks will not allow the homeowner to receive cash at closing under a short-sale transaction. The bank is losing money by writing down the mortgage balance, and they do not want the homeowner to make money from their loss. Federal law requires disclosure of all monies involved in any real property transactions on the HUD-1 Settlement Statement, so it is easy for banks to monitor the transaction. The primary exception is for those loans insured by the Federal Housing Administration (FHA). The bank has the option of allowing you to receive up to $1,000 back at closing. If another company is promising you cash back from a short sale and intends to hide this from the bank, this might qualify as bank fraud, which could put you at grave risk.
- Is it legal to sell you my house then buy it back after a short sale? It is illegal for anyone to rent or lease you your house after a short sale. Federal law clearly states that you cannot remain in your house afterwards, and anyone offering this to you is intending to violate the law. Once again, do not participate in this type of situation or you might be putting yourself at risk.
- I have been told I should stop making my mortgage payments and, instead, pay another company to help me. Should I do this? No, you should not make payments to anyone other than directly to your lender. If any company has requested you do this, consider reporting them immediately to your local law enforcement agency.
- Can any company offer official government approved loan modifications? No, banks have certain programs that the government sponsors for loan modifications. Generally, foreclosure consultants cannot offer any loan modification programs; those are at the sole discretion of your lender.
- Can you offer me a new loan to catch me up on my current loan? No, if a company has offered to provide you with a loan to catch you up on your mortgage payments, you should not agree to this. Generally this is referred to as “Bait and Switch,” which is fraud, and is prevalent in the market right now. Beware of anyone offering this option to you. Once again, if a company offers you this option, you might wish to contact your local law enforcement agency.
- I was told not to contact my current lender. Should I avoid doing this? Most times when someone suggests you not contact your lender, the person is attempting to provide illegal or illegitimate services. Your lender is the one who is foreclosing on your property. Talking with them is the only way to stop the foreclosure process. Call your lender, work with them, and make alternative arrangements to repay your loan, if possible. A reputable company will always assist you in those communications.
- Can I stop foreclosure by filing for bankruptcy? No, bankruptcy does not stop foreclosure; it can only delay it. Once your bankruptcy proceeding is complete, the bank might still move ahead with the foreclosure. If you have any questions regarding bankruptcy, see a qualified bankruptcy attorney.
- Can a company get my mortgage invalidated and get my house for free because of all the recent problems with the banks? Several banks have made errors in their paperwork as they processed foreclosures. To the best of our knowledge (and we keep up on the latest real estate news), we do not know of a single client that has had their mortgage invalidated and has gotten their property for free. A reputable firm or individual would not make such claims.
Be wary of scams and people who would take advantage of you and your situation. If at any time you do not feel comfortable working with someone, stop and review the situation with your attorney and or law enforcement.