1 of 1
By Contributed photo
BY BLAIR LOONEY Contributing columnist
Dear Action Line, My husband and I were approached by a woman in May from a local real estate company. She offered to do our loan modification for our house, and charged us a flat rate fee of $1,200.
I was a little apprehensive as it sounded too good to be true, so I asked in writing for a guarantee that the modification is going to go through or we should get our refund in full. The woman sent us a money back guarantee that stated that within 30 days, should our modification not go through, we will get a full refund.
The company never did any modification or follow-up on our behalf. The only thing the company did was file the paperwork that I had forwarded. When my husband and I inquired as to the reason for it refusing to follow up on our behalf as we paid the company, another woman from the company stated that the company is not an authorized entity for loan modifications.
At this point, we requested a full refund and no one from this company whom are also copied on this email has replied to me to date. It has been more than three months and we are not getting any replies either to our email nor to our phone calls. What can we do now?
Dear Reader, In these trying times, many people just like you have been trying to modify their loans or refinance or sell. Loan modifications are an option for those that are interested in lowering their payments.
This is a permanent change of the terms of your existing mortgage. Here is some great information from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) about loan modifications:
1. Borrowers are permitted to receive a loan modifications or FHA-HARP only once within a 24-month period.
2. Lenders are to use specific financial analysis criteria when determining a borrower's eligibility for the loan modification. The lender may conduct any review it deems necessary to verify that the property has no physical conditions adversely impacting the borrower's continued ability to support the modified mortgage payment.
3. The lender is expected to waive all accrued late fees.
4. The lender should modify the interest rate to the current market rate. Lender must re-amortize the total unpaid amount due over a 360-month period from the due date of the first installment required under the modified mortgage.
When shopping for loan modifications, first check with cencal.bbb.org. Contact HUD at 888-995-4673 for information and assistance to avoid foreclosure.
If you choose a loan modification company, contact the California Department of Real Estate to make sure the company is properly licensed.
Shop around, get some comparative bids. Be sure to check on the company BEFORE you give any personal information. And never pay any fees up front.
If you need to file a complaint, go to bbb.org.
Blair Looney is president and CEO of the Better Business Bureau serving Central California. Send your consumer concerns, questions and problems to Action Line at the Better Business Bureau, 1601 H St., Suite 101, Bakersfield, CA 93301 or firstname.lastname@example.org.