When natural disaster strikes, you can be certain that two groups will soon be there: the Red Cross — and scam artists. Unfortunately, the same holds for turmoil of all kinds.
Bainbridge Island homeowners who have missed mortgage payments should be aware that, in addition to getting their accounts back on track as soon as possible, they should be prepared to be targeted by unethical operators.
Missed mortgage payments can cause a Bainbridge Island homeowner’s name to appear as ‘arrears’ on public tax records: it’s one way unscrupulous characters locate their victims. That can set off an onslaught of solicitations through the phone, mail, and possibly even at the front door! Normally level-headed householders can be misled by the prospect of a quick fix, especially since stress levels can be high. Knowing the telltale signs that a mortgage scam is in the offing can stop it before it gets far.
One indication is any ‘cure’ that requires a large up-front payment to the mediating agent. Likewise, any proposal that involves repayment to anyone other than the lender — no matter how convincing the reasons offered — is not likely to be authentic.
In one devious mortgage scam, the agency tries to convince you to sign over ownership of your property with the promise that you will be able to rent it back in a “lease-to-own” arrangement. That may sound convincing since some banks are experimenting with a similar option. But anyone other than the mortgage holder who proposes that you sign over the property deed or title to them is probably not working in your best interest. Likewise, an agency that seeks your power of attorney should raise another red flag — in this case, the agency could have the power to circumvent your wishes.
If you’ve missed mortgage payments in Bainbridge Island, your first action should always be to talk to a reputable attorney and financial advisor to sort out your available options. If selling your home is one — either by conventional or short sale — it’s my job to help make accomplishing that easier. Don’t hesitate to contact me with your private real estate needs.