While driving around your community, you may have seen signs posted on telephone poles that offer “foreclosure help.” These seemingly generous offers to help financially troubled homeowners who are in danger of losing their homes to foreclosure are actually scams. Typically, the “help” comes in the form of an offer to buy the home for a reduced price from the homeowner. The scammer offers to pay off the homeowner’s existing debt and to rent the home back to the homeowner until they can afford to buy the home back. The scam comes after the owner signs the paperwork and the offer to rent the home to them abruptly disappears, leaving the scammer with an inexpensive house and the homeowner without a house or a place to live. Fortunately, the current booming real estate market has made it possible for financially troubled homeowners to avoid foreclosure on their home and the scammers.
Foreclosure usually occurs after a homeowner fails to make his or her mortgage payments for a period of several consecutive months. Lenders are often willing to accommodate minor financial troubles from their borrowers, but sometimes, they have no choice but to evict the homeowner and sell the home. This is usually done at a public auction, as lenders place more importance on getting money back quickly than in getting the highest price the property can yield. While the national foreclosure rate has been fairly steady, it has been increasing in several states, notably Texas and Florida. While losing a home due to lack of payment is generally financially catastrophic for homeowners, the current market has offered many financially troubled homeowners a simple way out – they can sell the home.
The price of homes nationwide has skyrocketed in the last few years, and in many markets, values have doubled or ever tripled. Many homeowners now have huge amounts of equity in their homes and that equity often exceeds the amount owed on the primary mortgage. That may be little consolation to a homeowner who has just lost his or her job, but the homeowner now has another option besides watching the bank sell the home from under their feet. The homeowner can now sell the home, pay off the mortgage and often pocket some cash at the same time. In most markets, this can be accomplished rather quickly, before foreclosure proceedings take place. The debtor will no longer have a place to live, but the debt will be repaid, and he or she will often have quite a bit of cash left over. This is certainly a better option than either dealing with a scammer or losing the home to foreclosure.
Anyone with financial troubles that prevents them from making their house payments should consult with their lender first. Lenders aren’t really interested in removing people from their homes unless it’s absolutely necessary. Still, it is comforting to know that the current market may provide a somewhat more attractive alternative that may actually yield some cash.
©Copyright 2005 by Retro Marketing. Charles Essmeier is the owner of Retro Marketing, a firm devoted to informational Websites, including End-Your-Debt.com, a Website devoted to debt consolidation and credit counseling information and HomeEquityHelp.net, a site devoted to information on mortgages and home equity loans.