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Saturday, March 23 , 2019, 2:51 pm | Mostly Cloudy 62º


Paul Suding: Offers to Solve Mortgage Default Often Too Good to Be True

Heed these warning signs to avoid becoming a victim of fraud

Many homeowners are still facing mortgage default, and while the best bet is to contact your lender directly, there are tempting advertisements out there for companies that claim they can solve your financial crisis. Fraud is rampant, so look out for the following warning signs.

First, don’t believe the hype when you hear, “We’ll stop the auction!” or “Debt eliminated, guaranteed!” If it sounds too good to be true, it is!

You should be suspicious of any company that tries to gain your trust by imitating a government agency. They may (illegally) publish government logos and names, or even copy the look of an official website, so pay attention to the details.

Be wary of any deal that requires you to pay any fees upfront. There is seldom a need to pay anyone to modify your mortgage terms because your lender and only your lender can do that. But if you do hire an attorney or consultant to assist you in your loan modification, with some exceptions, it is not legal for most of these services to charge any upfront fees.

Most importantly, do not make mortgage payments to anyone but your lender. If a person or company presents you with an official-looking statement that indicates payments should now be made to them, don’t walk, run for the door and call the Better Business Bureau.

By working directly with your lender, you may be able to modify your loan terms or agree to a payoff through a “short sale” listing. If you do elect to do a “short sale” as your solution, consult with an experienced professional, your trusted Realtor, to help you navigate the process.

Paul Suding, a real estate agent with Cool Santa Barbara Homes and Village Properties, is president of the Santa Barbara Association of Realtors. He can be contacted at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) or 805.455.8055.

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