As you know, foreclosures over the past 5 years have been at record levels. Just as with anything, when there’s an opportunity or when there’s people in pain, the dishonest and unscrupulous people in the world tend to come out to prey.
Foreclosure scams in Portland have even picked up in recent years.
We’ve been working with home owners for some time now, in fact we talk with home owners in foreclosure every single week. You should hear some of the stories we’ve heard of people in foreclosure being taken advantage of by scam artists proclaiming to be reputable “real estate investors”.
Not All “We Buy Houses” Companies Are Created Equal
You’ve seen those signs that say “We Buy Houses Portland“… or websites like ours that mention the phrase. Yes, we buy houses in Portland and I’ll walk you through how to spot potential scams vs. reputable house buyers in our area.
As a quick summary, there are companies out there that buy houses from people who need to sell. But, in some cases, that’s where the similarities between the scam investors and legitimate companies with great reputations like ours stop.
In this article I’m going to walk you through some of the ways a small percentage of people try to take advantage of unknowing home owners. This is meant to be a “consumer awareness” guide to help you spot the bad companies and pinpoint companies you can trust. (The majority of ‘we buy homes’ buyers are great people with great integrity. It’s those few bad apples that ruin it for everyone else.)
Some Tips and Warning Signs That You May Be Stepping Into A Scam When In Foreclosure
If you’re in foreclosure and looking for help to avoid it in Portland, here are some “solutions” some less than honest companies may offer up.
Charge Upfront Fees To Get Mortgage Assistance From Your Lender – As Fannie Mae says, help is free. Some companies will try to charge you for talking with your lender about your mortgage to find a solution. Don’t fall for this. You can talk with your lender about the mortgage and your options anytime for no charge, or work with a company who will do your loan counseling for free.
Signing Over The Deed To Your Home To “Save” Your House – This sounds backwards from the start. Some unsavory companies may tell you that you can sign over the deed to your house (essentially giving up ownership) to save your house. As Fannie Mae says, never sign over the deed to your house unless you’re working directly with your mortgage company to forgive your debt, or unless you’re physically selling your house to that company. If that’s the case, ask the company to close with a reputable title company so everything is on the up and up. And, always consult legal advice before signing over your deed.
Don’t Unknowingly Give Up Ownership To Your Home – Some scammers have targeted home owners by telling them they’ll pay off their mortgage. These scammers hide clauses in the paperwork that sometimes gives up your ownership rights, transferring them to the scammers. A reputable company will be fully transparent, no hidden clauses, and everything will be known before any documents are signed. As noted above, always consult your attorney to review any paperwork before you sign. Even when working with a very reputable company use a reputable title company to close. Make sure all of the “i”s are dotted and “t”s crossed.
They Say You Don’t Need A Title Company or Other Professionals to Sell Your Home – Selling your house, whether you’re in foreclosure or just need to sell quickly, should be done with the help of certain professional services. With every house we buy, we use a neutral 3rd party Title Company to handle the closing, drawing up the necessary documents, and all related paperwork. It instills confidence with the house seller and gives us confidence there’s no funny business on either side of the transaction. If a house buyer says you’re going to do a “kitchen table closing” (actually signing all of the papers in your house) rather than a title company or attorneys office… ask why. Kitchen table closings can work, but using a title company or attorneys office protects both sides and makes sure things are done right.
The Mortgage Payment Scam – Some scammers have instructed the home owner to make mortgage payments to them rather than the bank directly. The scammer will then “handle paying the bank”. In no circumstances should you do this unless you get your mortgage company’s approval in writing. Some of these scammers will then pocket your payments and not pay the mortgage company at all. The result is a lowered credit score and you would be worse off then before.
(Source: Summary of information from the Fannie Mae info site)
Do Your Homework And Do Business With Someone You Can Trust
We buy houses in Portland and help people in foreclosure each and every week. We know the market well and have seen lots of dishonest things happen to home owners who were duped by a scammer before they found us.
We always say do your homework. Ask any “we buy houses” company lots of questions before you do business with them. Make sure that they’re real, that they’re honest, and that they can and will follow through with any offer they make. Some investors make lots of offers and back out on the ones they don’t have the money to close on. With AppleTree Group LLC, we only make offers on properties that we know we can close on if our offer is accepted… no if’s and’s or buts.
If you’re in foreclosure and need assistance, or just want to know your options visit your local foreclosure counseling service or browse this site and schedule a free Foreclosure Prevention session with one of our foreclosure experts. We offer a free ebook called ‘How to Stop and Avoid Foreclosure in Today’s Market. Look for it in our Resources section.
Or, if you’re looking to sell your house fast, we’d love to chat with you, learn about your situation and your house, and make you a fair all-cash offer within two business days. We can close in accordance with your schedule. The beauty of this is that there’s no obligation, no pressure, and no catches. You get the offer, take as long as you want to look it over, pass it by someone you trust, even shop it around other “we buy houses” companies if you want. We’ll be here for ya and you can get started whenever it’s right for you.
If you’d like a fair no-obligation offer today… go here and fill out the short form. After that we’ll contact you, find out more about your property, and make you an offer right away.
Fruit From the AppleTree.