They're here. They're real. And, as usual, they can be very, very clever.
Scam #1 - The "Helping Hand" Company
We ran across this particular trap about two years ago - it came from the Better Business Bureau and it's a doosie. These companies look like the "We Buy Wretched Houses" companies that pepper the landscape with flyers and get-out-of-your-mess-quick promises. You sit down with them, and they tell you they will buy your house for a specified period of time. Not only that, they promise you can continue to live in the house while you pay them much reduced rate with a promise that when you catch up on your finances, they will sell you the house back for very reasonable terms. They pick up your late payments and penalties, and you get back to regular payments.
Sounds pretty good.
What you are not aware of is the papers you sign include some non-traditional mortgage terms. The favorite of these helping hands companies is a binding rider that notes "a deed will be executed if you are 10 or more days late on a payment." Translated, it means the company will take immediate possession of your house and any and all equity if you are 10 days late on any payment during the contracted time period.
Best Course of Action - Use You Head and Call In Professionals
If you need to sell your house fast, our advice is pretty straightforward: avoid doing really dumb things because you are in a state of personal financial panic. Here are the best steps we can suggest:
- Work with Professionals
Only deal with companies who have an established history of home buying.
- Check them Out
If you have any concerns about the buyer, don't hesitate to check them out. We always ask our skeptical clients to check out the Better Business Bureau.
- Always Know What You're Signing
Don't be shy; ask for help! A lawyer or even your mortgage company can help you if you want professional advice from a third party. Never, ever sign a contract that you haven't read - "oh, that's just standard contract stuff" - or don't fully understand.
- Be Willing to Walk Away
If you have any doubts about the buyer or the contract — or if it just doesn't feel right — just walk.
Of Course, Call Us
Many times, people facing foreclosure call us just for advice. We're glad to help, whether you choose to sell your house to us or not. We buy houses fast, we're Better Business Bureau accredited. With Express Homebuyers you can sell your house quick, and be secure and comfortable doing it. We'll introduce scam #2 from this week's Washington Post next time.