When you buy a house, the last thing that you think of is suddenly not being able to afford the monthly payments anymore. Instead of owning your dream home, it turns into a nightmare as you start to go through a foreclosure. No one wants that to happen to them. Fortunately, there are an incredible amount of free programs and assistance available from both the state of Idaho and the federal government.
Going through a foreclosure is hard enough already. You don’t want to worry about if you are getting scammed as well. Some companies might offer to help you, but then you end up paying several months of your mortgage to them in fees, and before you know it, you’ve signed your house over to them. Now, you are stuck renting your own home. You have been scammed, and now your situation is even worse. How do you know what to look out for? When you are going through one of the toughest times of your life, you don’t want to worry about whether or not you are being scammed.
Five Tips for Avoiding Foreclosure Scams
Fortunately, the Department of Housing and Urban Development, or HUD, has created five simple tips on how to avoid getting scammed. If you have already been scammed, or you fear you might be a victim of a scam, there are resources available to help you as well.
Tip #1- Use Only HUD Approved Counselors
The best way to avoid a scam all together is to only use HUD approved foreclosure counselors. There are plenty of counselors available in the state of Idaho, and both the state and the federal government have lists of approved counselors for you to use. If you aren’t sure, check out the Department of Housing and Urban Development's website, or the state of Idaho’s housing website. These counselors are non profit, and they provide their services free of charge.
Tip #2- You Don’t Have to Pay for Help
The easiest way to avoid getting scammed is by not paying any money. A wide majority of HUD approved counselors don’t cost anything, while a few might have a minimal fee. The important thing is to use a HUD approved counselor. They are required to be licensed. They understand that you should be using your money to pay your mortgage, not exorbitant fees for aid. Plus, you will never pay in advance. Never pay if a service wants their fee before they even provide you with anything.
Tip #3- There Are No Guarantees
Avoid counselors that provide a guarantee that they can stop the foreclosure process. Regardless of your circumstances, there is never a guarantee that the foreclosure process can be stopped. Of course, working with a HUD approved counselor does increase your chances of being able to keep your home, but if someone is telling you that it’s guaranteed, you are better off walking away.
Tip #4- Read Before You Sign
Never let anyone pressure you into signing something before you have a chance to read it and understand it. Don’t sign blank forms, or let the organization help you fill out the forms. When in doubt, consult with an attorney, trusted real estate organization, or a licensed and approved counselor.
Tip #5- Too Good to be True? It Is
The best way to avoid any scam is to know that if what they are promising sounds like it is too good to be true, it is. Remember, there are no guarantees when it comes to stopping the foreclosure process, and any organization saying they can promise to stop it is most likely a scam.
If You Have Been Scammed
When you need assistance during a foreclosure, use the proper channels. Call Idaho Housing and Finance, toll free, at (877) 888-3135 for foreclosure assistance and counseling. Idaho Housing and Finance assistance provides this service for free, and you don’t need a loan with them.
If you have been scammed or have been the victim of foreclosure fraud, don’t wait to seek help. Act quickly and call the Idaho Department of Finance. Again, you can call toll free at (888) 346-3378. When it comes to your home, and especially when you are in danger of losing your home, you don’t want to take any chances. There are plenty of legitimate and free resources available to help you through the foreclosure process. And if you are ever concerned that you are being scammed, seek help immediately.