Loan Modification Scammers

One in 240 California housing units was in foreclosure in April 2011, according to Realty Trac, a statistic that places California foreclosures about 2.5 times higher than the national average.  Those statistics alone make the state a ripe market for loan modification scammers.

The Lawyer’s Committee is starting to file complaints against Nathanson Law Center and other alleged loan mod scammers.  The suit claims that the defendants lured desperate homeowners into paying up-front fees to secure them loan mods, and then did little or no work to follow up on their promised services.  While homeowners were offered 100% guarantees that their funds would be returned if a modification could not be obtained, the defendants later refused to turn their fees.  Many of the victims lost thousands of dollars – or worse, their homes. 

If you believe you have been the victim of a loan mod scam, you are encouraged to call (888) 995-HOPE or visit www.preventloanscams.org and click “Report a Scam!”  Victims are being represented free of charge

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Tips when applying for Loan Modification

The following tips were given by Stephfan Nurse, CEO of Consumer Education, makers of mortgage reduction software designed to help people thru the modification process: 

1)      When faxing or sending in your paperwork to your lender, make sure that your loan number is printed on every page you are sending in.  Lenders received thousands of papers a day and sometimes the cover sheet gets lost or the fax gets misplaced.  If you have the loan number on every page, they can make sure it gets in your file.

2)      Make sure that ALL of the requested paperwork is included in the file.  If you are missing just one required document, they will show your account is incomplete and your file sometimes goes to the bottom of the pile.

3)      Follow up every week with your lender to make sure all of the documents they have are up to date.   Don’t worry about being a pest; this usually keeps your file moving along.

 These tips are the same tips we use when submitting Short Sales.  The complete packages move along much quicker then the packages submitted with missing documents.  Some lenders even tell us to keep sending in pay stubs and bank statements so the file is kept current at all times.

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Loan Modification Scammers

One in 240 California housing units was in foreclosure in April 2011, according to Realty Trac, a statistic that places California foreclosures about 2.5 times higher than the national average.  Those statistics alone make the state a ripe market for loan modification scammers.

The Lawyer’s Committee is starting to file complaints against Nathanson Law Center and other alleged loan mod scammers.  The suit claims that the defendants lured desperate homeowners into paying up-front fees to secure them loan mods, and then did little or no work to follow up on their promised services.  While homeowners were offered 100% guarantees that their funds would be returned if a modification could not be obtained, the defendants later refused to turn their fees.  Many of the victims lost thousands of dollars – or worse, their homes. 

If you believe you have been the victim of a loan mod scam, you are encouraged to call (888) 995-HOPE or visit www.preventloanscams.org and click “Report a Scam!”  Victims are being represented free of charge.

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Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac Short Sales and Deeds-in-Lieu up 27% in 2nd Quarter

Nearly 31,000 borrowers with Fannie Mae (FNMA) and Freddie Mac (FMCC) loans forfeited their homes through a short sale or deed-in-lieu of foreclosure during the 2nd quarter of 2010.  This is a 27% increase over the 24,000 transactions completed during the 1st quarter of 2010.

During the same period last year there were 11,700 transactions up from 3,000 the year before.

 Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA) also reported that loan modification and refinancing by FNMA and FMCC were up in the second quarter.  The Home Affordable Modification Program (HAMP) increased 65% while refinancing under the Home Affordable Refinance Program (HARP) increased by 30%.  Loan servicers completed 171,200 permanent loan modifications on these types of loans thru HAMP and nearly 88,600 borrowers in HAMP trials transitioned to permanent modifications bringing the two companies HAMP numbers to nearly 225,000.  FHFA’s report also stated that approximately 202,000 of the borrowers were in a HAMP trial period at the end of the 2nd quarter, compared to nearly 448,100 at the end of the first quarter.  That means minus the 88,600 permanent modifications 157,500 homeowners’ HAMP trials were cancelled as a result of missed payments or inadequate documentation. 

FHFA also noted that more than ½ of the modifications completed in the 2nd quarter lowered borrowers’ monthly payments by more then 30%.  During this same period the two companies initiated 275,100 new foreclosures, an increase of 12%.  Completed foreclosure sales and 3rd party sales totaled 112,400, up 15% from the previous quarter.

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Distressed Options for Homeowners in California

If you have found yourself falling behind in your mortgage and debt obligations, you aren’t alone.   With the loss of jobs and declining home values and the current economy, homeowners like you are forced to consider options that were unthinkable a few years ago.

The US Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) has established a hotline to assist homeowners who are facing a hardship.  You can contact HUD at their toll free number 1-877-483-1515 to find out what options are available to you:

1)      Loan Modification

2)      Short Sale

3)      Foreclosure

To learn more about the tax consequences of a short sale versus a foreclosure, you can visit the IRS web site at www.irs.gov.  Before executing any of these options, consult with a certified public accountant or tax attorney.

Governor Schwarzenegger has instituted a statewide, 90-day halt on foreclosure proceedings for each owner-occupied home subject to a first mortgage on which a Notice of Default has already been file.

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