Although Lake Tahoe has weathered the current foreclosure issues better than most areas, we have not escaped the overall effect. As of January 1, 2009, the South Tahoe Association of Realtors MLS services report 28 closed sales, 18 currently in escrow and 17 currently active. There are some great opportunities for qualified buyers and with today’s record low interest rates, many prospective buyers will find themselves skipping joyfully into a new home.
At the same time, sadly beause times are tough, pathetic low-life scammers raise their ugly heads. In fact, there is a down-right explosion going on. We all seem to be inundated with those annoying telemarketing calls, unwanted spam email or direct mail. If you or someone you know is facing foreclosure and are looking into potential solutions to prevent losing a home, it is crucial to be very aware of deals that sound too good to be true.
The California Association of Realtors has prepared a list of RED FLAG RESCUE SCAMS outlined below.
* Asks for money upfront before providing any service
* Instructs you not to contact your lender, lawyer, housing counselor, family, friend or others.
* Asks for mortgage payments to be made directly to a company or bank account set up by the “negotiator” rather than your lender.
* Requires payments only in the form of cash, cashier check or money wire.
* Promises to stop the foreclosure process, no matter the circumstances.
* Advises you to transfer your property deed or title to the “negotiator’s” company.
* Offers to fill out the paperwork for you
* Asks for something to be done immediately and without delay. This includes pressuring you into signing paperwork that you have not had the chance to read thoroughly or do not fully understand.
* Encourages you to lease your house and buy it back over time.
* Offers to purchase your house for a fixed price that is not set by the housing market at the time of sale
* Asks for you to give a power of attorney
* Refuses or fails to put an oral promise in writing.
* Fails to provide copies of signed documents
* Asks for signatures on a document that has lines left blank.
* Asks for signatures on a grant deed or deed of trust
If you are approached by a scam artist, please report the incident to one of the following ñ and then run.
California Attorney General (http://ag.ca.gov)
California Department of Real Estate (www.dre.ca.gov)
Department of Housing and Urban Development (www.hud.gov)
Federal Trade Commission (www.ftc.gov)
Your local Better Business Bureau (www.bbb.org)
Finally, if you are at risk of foreclosure or have already received a foreclosure notice, you should contact your lender immediately. You may also want to visit the U.S Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) website at http://www.hud.gov/ and look for the Guide to Avoiding Foreclosure and its list of California HUD-approved housing counseling agencies.
Copies of the above information are available if needed. Just give us contact us at Souers@HomeInTahoe.com. We’re here to help.