With so many companies out there offering help, how do you choose the right one? For every legitimate company, there are at least two companies trying to scam you out of money, so how do you pick the right one?
Here are 5 basic rules to follow when looking for help:
Nothing is free! If someone is offering help for free, then watch out. Our website has tons of information available for free and we offer advice for free, but we get paid through advertising on our site and by helping people buy or sell property. We are paid a commission as a real estate agent when this happens. Other companies offering to “help” you for free are probably just trying to take advantage of you by stealing your home or your money. There are a few government programs that can help for free, but you have to have pretty specific circumstances to qualify, so make sure you have a back up plan. Don’t expect anyone to help you for free, because there is always a cost. Just make sure the fees are reasonable for the services provided and that the company will actually be providing the services they say they will.
Once you choose a company to help you out of foreclosure, double check their credentials and ask for references. Many companies have testimonials and letters of recommendation that are completely fake, so just because you see it on their website, don’t automatically believe it’s true. Check with the better business bureau and make sure there are no complaints and always do a search in all the search engines for the company name and any names of people you are working with. Many times fraudulent foreclosure help companies change their business name, but the owners name will be the same. Also search for the phone numbers and addresses on the search engine to make sure there is no bad press or negative comments on blogs or forums. You should also check to see if a license is required by the state for the company to perform the services they are offering. If a license is required then make sure you have seen a copy of theirs and verified that is is authentic.
Talk to them in detail before sending any money. Make sure you feel comfortable with them before you trust them to save your home foreclosure. Most of the time, you will not talk to the actual person who will be doing the work to save your home (unless it’s a one man operation), but you can get a good idea of how the company operates by talking to any of the employees. If you can speak to multiple people within the company that will help. If you have a bad feeling, then just move on to the next. But don’t waste time talking to 100’s of companies, acting quickly and getting started in the process of saving your home is probably the most important step.
Make sure you know who the owner(s) of the company you are working with are. In many cases, the owner(s) of fraudulent companies will not reveal their name (or their real name) to the customers they are scamming. Make sure you can verify who the owner(s) of the company are, and verify that their name is on the business license with the state. Even if a license is not required, there is a Tax ID number that must be on file for the company. If they don’t have a Tax ID, then they are not a real company and you should be very suspicious. If you find that they are hesitant or will not provide this proof, then you should refuse to do business with them.
When you do make a payment, try to use a credit card first. If they will not accept credit card, then use a personal check. These items can be tracked more easily if the company does try to scam you. If the company does not provide the service they agreed to, then reversing the charges on the credit card is an options. But be careful, because if you do reverse charges and the services were provided, it is considered fraud and you could face severe fines and even jail time.
Once you decide to use a company to help stop foreclosure, make sure you stay in constant communication with them and that you are doing everything they ask. In most cases, it’s the client who causes the delays and lack of communication by not completing paperwork and/or not responding in a timely fashion. If you are asked to do something, make sure you do it immediately. If you receive a call, make sure you answer it, or return it promptly if you miss it. There are many companies who do have your best interests in mind, but you will have to work hard to find them and help them do their job to save your home from foreclosure.