Foreclosure And Loan Modification Predators

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By Bill Baskin

Consumers who are facing foreclosure have become prime targets for former or current mortgage brokers, and other loss mitigation or loan Modification companies. You should think twice before sending your money and signing a contract with any company that does not allow you to actually retain an attorney to negotiate on your behalf. Many of these predatory companies state they are Attorney based, Attorney backed, Stop foreclosure companies, Foreclosure consultants or a myriad of other new terms that keep popping up. In most cases these companies offer money back guarantees, but actually keep their hard costs leaving you with a paltry refund when they are unsuccessful in modifying the terms of your original loan. Many of these companies do nothing for you an may just run with your money. In most cases the best they can get for you is a Forbearance agreement from your lender allowing you to repay past due monies, which you may be able to easily do yourself. Be sure to ask if the Attorney is onsite and available for a consultation, and ask for their Bar number as part of your diligence.

Unless you retain an Attorney or a Federally licensed HUD counselor, beware you may be getting scammed out of the last of your hard earned dollars. An attorney can leverage many issues and deal with the actual legal department of your lender who likely wants to avoid going to court on your case and would rather modify your interest rate to get you a new payment you can afford. In speaking with California Real Estate Attorney Marc Bonanni of Consumer Debt Advocate ( ), a law firm specializing in just such Home Loan Modifications and Loss Mitigation in all 50 states, Marc told me that Weve had tremendous success working with lenders to get them to modify the existing terms of the loan, lowering interest rates and monthly payments to one the borrower can afford, and also getting them to forgive past due balances or principal balance with forbearance agreements to avoid a foreclosure. It all is predicated on the true financial hardship we can prove to the lender and if there were any Truth in Lending violations or Predatory Lending violations on the original loan. Mortgage fraud has been rampant, specially with sub-prime borrowers and our success rate has been excellent in the loan modification process. Marc also states that Unfortunately, many of our clients have been through the ringer with these non attorney loan modification companies who wind up doing nothing for them and who make matters worse as they cannot afford the client any legal protection. By the time they get to us, it may be too late to save their home and they are out thousands of dollars and critical time that were wasted in a poorly handled attempt to modify their loan by non-attorneys who are dispensing legal advice. Its really sad when I have to tell a potential client who I knew we could have helped save their home and modify their loan that they are too far down the path with their lender to stop the pending auction of their home.

Also beware of companies who offer to save your home and who offer you a new loan, but require you to deed title to them for doing so. Most of these scams are stealing all of your equity by paying the amount you are in default to the bank. If you have $60,000 in equity, and are $11,000 in the arrears with your lender, that company just made a 6x return off their investment and left you with a mortgage payment and no equity in your home. They will then be waiting for you to default or will force you out of your home to realize their profit. By hiring an Attorney, you could likely get your lender to take that arrearage you owe and make a repayment plan you can afford, or even get them to put that money on the back of your loan so you can start meeting your new lower monthly obligation.

Regardless of your situation, it is important to make sure you due diligence on any company you engage to help you avoid foreclosure. Beware of the scams that are out there and make sure an attorney is actually retained by you as part of the process to protect your legal rights and ensure both compliance and success in the loan modification process. Licensed Attorneys are held to a strict code of conduct and higher ethical standards, and although they cannot guarantee a successful outcome of your case, they are much more likely to take it only if they feel they have a strong chance of success.

About the Author: Bill Baskin is a nationally recognized expert on Mortgage, Credit, Automotive, and Debt topics, having been a quoted source on a variety of newspaper, radio, and television pieces. He currently writes for

on consumer education pieces.


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