In light of the pandemic and resulting economic impacts, Californians may be dealing with foreclosures in the upcoming months and years, according to the Department of Real Estate.
The Federal government has free resources to help those facing foreclosure. It is important to note you do not need to pay a third party to arrange for foreclosure relief or loan modification. A list of nonprofit housing counseling agencies approved by the United States Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) is available at www.hud.gov.
Unfortunately, there are companies and attorneys running foreclosure relief scams. Here is what you need to be aware of:
- MAKES GUARANTEES. No one, including attorneys, can guarantee to stop a foreclosure or obtain a loan modification for you.
- REQUIRES A FEE IN ADVANCE. Generally, the collection of advance fees is prohibited with some limited exceptions. Attorneys are allowed to charge upfront fees; however, you should thoroughly research the attorney and review their record with the state bar.
- ADVISES YOU TO STOP PAYING YOUR MORTGAGE. Keep talking with your mortgage company directly to see if you can get a loan modification and do not send your mortgage payment to anyone other than the mortgage company.
- ASKS YOU TO SIGN DOCUMENTS YOU DON’T UNDERSTAND OR TRANSFER THE DEED TO YOUR HOME. Do not sign documents you do not understand or sign over the deed to your home. Watch out for “rent-to-by” offers.
- LIMITED TIME ONLY. If an attorney or company is pressuring you to hire them, be warned. There should be no high-pressure sales and all agreements of services should be in writing.
Be aware of the latest laws and policies. The Federal government is continuously addressing housing needs and you can always contact HUD if you are experiencing a potential foreclosure. Report any suspicious activity to the California Department of Real Estate, the Federal Trade Commission, the California Attorney General and local consumer protection agencies.
We are always available to answer your questions and provide resources for your real estate transaction needs. Contact us if we can be of service.