Avoid Loan Modification Scams in Washington State

on Wednesday, 10 April 2013.

Homeowners in Washington State are being aggressively solicited by companies promising to reduce their monthly mortgage payments. These companies target people through phone calls and direct mail during desperate times, guaranteeing principal reductions and permanently reduced mortgage payments. Here’s the catch: these companies charge huge upfront fees for a service that has no guarantees. According to the Washington State Department of Financial Institutions, over 800 homeowners have called their agency since 2009 to file complaints against loan modification companies.  Luckily, there is no need for a homeowner to work with these companies. A Housing and Urban Development-approved housing counselor in Washington State can assist you for no charge. Here are the key differences between a HUD-approved Housing Counselor working in Washington State and a company that will charge you:

1)      When you choose to work with a HUD approved Housing Counselor, you will be working with somebody who grasps the foreclosure process in Washington State. HUD-approved housing counselors understand the Foreclosure Fairness Act in Washington State, the timeline your lender must comply with, and will show you how to respond to each notice you receive from your lender.  When you work with a company from outside the state, these individuals are not well-versed in Washington State law and procedures.

2)      Housing Counselors will be upfront with you: there are no guaranteed mortgage modifications. A HUD-approved housing counselor will never guarantee you a mortgage modification. What they will do, however, is look at your financial picture and present a workable solution to your lender. This solution may be anything from a repayment plan or loan modification to a graceful return of the property to the lender.

3)      Housing Counselors will not charge you for their hours. Unlike a paid service, a housing counselor charges no fee for his or her services other than a credit check.  You do not need to pay any upfront fees.

 

If you are concerned that you have been solicited by a company promising a loan modification or have already paid for this service, please contact the Department of Financial Institutions: 360.902.8700 or 1.877.RING.DFI (746.4334).

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I want to say a huge thank you.  It feels a million times better knowing where we will be living, that we don't have to move, and I can actually afford to live here.  My life is no longer on hold, and we have been able to make plans for the first time in ages. There is no more black cloud of uncertainty hanging over my head always, waiting for the bank to dictate so much of my life. Thank you, thank you, thank you!
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