Foreclosure Rescue Scams on the Rise

Foreclosure rescue scams, in which con artists prey on struggling home owners, are becoming more of a problem, according to the Federal Trade Commission.The FTC has already filed three major foreclosure rescue cases this year, compared with zero a year ago; and one case involves thousands of victims and property worth millions of dollars, according to FTC regional director Brad Elbein, who heads the agency’s foreclosure rescue campaign.

Some scammers promise to negotiate with a lender for a fee, then just take the money and run. In other cases, home owners pay rent to live in the house but sign title to a rescue company that is supposed to pay the mortgage. Instead, the company sells the house, taking whatever equity is left.

At least 14 states have passed new laws this year to protect home owners, including a new one in Idaho that requires a written contract with a rescue company and gives homeowners five days to change their minds.

“The scope is probably going to be potentially as large as the mortgage fraud problem itself,” says Sharon Ormsby, the FBI’s chief of financial crimes.

Source: USA Today, Donna Leinwand (08/04/ 08

Nieghborhood Events..Tonight

Westiview is having the National Night Out cook-out in the parking lot of Denny’s on Ralph David Abernathy- in Westview @ 6PM .

West End Neighborhood Development Association will have the community meeting tonight at 7PM at the Peeples Street library.


Getting a Mortgage Tougher for Buyers

Difficulty in landing a mortgage is keeping many buyers out of the market.At the peak of the housing boom, about 20 percent of the mortgage market was subprime, and nearly 20 percent was “Alt-A loans” or “A-minus” loans, typically offered those with good credit but with high debt-to-loan ratios or little or no proof of income.Both categories are now nearly extinct. That means about 40 percent of the residential mortgage market has all but disappeared, according to David Olson of Wholesale Access Mortgage Research and Consulting.

“The underwriting has really tightened up,” Olson says, “Before, if you could fog a mirror, you got a loan. Now, that’s not the case.”

Nationwide, practitioners say they are encountering more potential buyers who can’t get financing.

“Buyers come in with confidence, and once they have talked with a lending practitioner, it’s like they’ve been hit over the head with a ton of bricks,” says Dean Moss, an agent at Keller Williams Fox and Associates Realty in Chicago.

A study conducted using data from a Reno, Nev., multiple listing service, found that about 30 percent of sales haven’t closed after 90 days. Practitioner Guy Johnson, who analyzed the data, suggests that buyers stay on top of their loans, checking in with their lender frequently to make sure the loan for which they’ve been approved is still the same.

“A loan commitment letter,” he adds, “isn’t really as solid as it once was.”

Source: USA Today, Anna Bahney (08/05/2008.