Survey: Mortgage Foreclosure Scams Surge
Not only is America’s foreclosure crisis still going strong, it now comes with even more fraud and deception.
With heightened media coverage surrounding the recent national mortgage settlement and refinements to government assistance programs, experts say selling “the schtick” has only become easier for criminals. But there are red flags consumers can watch out for when trying to determine whether or not an organization is legit.
First, homeowners should never have to pay anything up front for a loan modification or information on how to negotiate with their lender, says Roy Oppenheim, whose Florida-based law firm Oppenheim Law has handled more than 1,000 mortgage and foreclosure fraud cases over the past 5 years.
“If you’re paying upfront to a non-lawyer who’s claiming they can modify your loan, that’s a big scam,” Oppenheim says.
Short Sales Soar as Home Foreclosures Fall
The foreclosure crisis isn’t over, but a new trend in real estate sales could be the light at the end of the tunnel for many borrowers and lenders. Short sales, which occur when homeowners sell their homes for less than what they still owe, outpaced foreclosures for the first time ever in January,according to a new report from Lender Processing Services, Inc.
The Federal Housing Finance Agency announced this month that mortgage servicers will be required to review and respond to short sale offers within 30 days and make final sale decisions within 60 days. The new requirements, which take effect in June, have kept lenders busy expanding and training the staff needed to catch up with growing short sale demand.