July 3, 2007

New Scheme Preys on Desperate Homeowners

New Scheme Preys on Desperate Homeowners

The schemes take various forms and often involve promises to distressed homeowners of cash upfront, free monthly rent and a chance to retain their houses in the long run. But in the process, someone else takes over the deed, borrows as much as possible against the value of the house and pockets the cash. And, almost always, the homeowners still end up losing their homes.

There are no nationwide numbers on this common fraud, known as equity stripping, but it has turned up in almost every state. Seven states have passed laws to try to stop it. Still, with foreclosure rates rising rapidly, it will be a growing problem, consumer advocates say.

New York Times

Steps to Modify Loans and Avert Foreclosures Draw Controversy
By Lingling Wei, Ruth Simon and James R. Hagerty

Foreclosures are rising fast partly because lenders in recent years rushed to make no-money-down loans to people with weak credit records and didn't always verify their income. At the same time, the decline in housing prices in much of the country makes it hard for borrowers who fall behind to sell their homes for enough money to pay off the loan.

When borrowers can't keep up, lenders typically consider whether it makes sense to offer a loan modification. Such workout deals, known as "mods," often involve lowering the interest rate or stretching out the term. Lenders have used mods for years, but the practice is expected to proliferate as defaults rise.

Wall Street Journal

Tips From a Foreclosure Investor
By Off The Shelf

There's never been quite so many opportunities for individual investors to buy foreclosures. There are just so many of them. Before, the market was chiefly controlled by good old boy networks, through the banks' brokers.
All kinds of things, inside and out. Look at the doors, windows, roof, concrete -- everything. Properties that are in foreclosure aren't always in great condition. After all, the owners couldn't afford the mortgage payments. They probably couldn't pay for maintenance either. It's important to have a thorough, professional home inspection before buying. But if that's not possible, then you should at least inspect the outside of the property yourself -- all four sides.

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