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  • Myths, especially in financial matters, are dangerous. For instance, the myth that the value of homes can only go up; that there is no investment as safe as bricks and mortar was one of the catalysts of the housing crisis of 2008. Unfortunately there are still myths around that are affecting the decisions homeowners make.

    Myth 3.  This is only happening to me, foreclosure is a rare problem.

    This is a especially easy myth to debunk. According to the U.S. Treasury department over seven million homeowners are at risk of foreclosure. That represents a huge chunk of the total homeowners in the U.S. Factors like a drop in home prices, high levels of unemployment and rise in mortgage payments have created a “perfect storm” that is affecting homeowners of all walks of life. You are certainly not alone. However the steps you make, especially early on, will determine if you become a statistic or you save your home.

    Myth 4. I’m receiving all kinds of offers of help from loan modification and housing counseling agencies. Can they all be scams?

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    Dishonest housing counselors are a problem in the U.S. After the housing crisis began hundreds of self proclaimed loan modification agents and housing counselors appeared out of nowhere. However, it would be unfair to say all of housing counselors are scams. Some are experienced agents that can provide valuable help. The key with housing counselors and loan modifications is to go for the free ones. This is a counterintuitive decision. We are used to thinking that you have to pay for quality; that the best professionals cost money. In housing counseling and loan modifications this is not true. The government has sponsored approved agencies all over the country so that you can receive quality advice for free or for an inexpensive fee.

    Having said that if you decide to pay for advice on avoiding foreclosure and your agent asks you to:

    a) Buy your home and then rent it back to you.

    b) Pay fees upfront.

    c) Sign things you don’t understand.

    Then run. These are telltale signs of scam artists out to make a quick buck on desperate homeowners.

    Myth 5. I’m too many months behind in my payments; there is no hope.

    Although it is true you aren’t doing yourself any favors by delaying getting help. There is always time to try and save your home. Housing counselors and loan modification agents cannot work miracles but they certainly try. Sometimes a change in your budget or a mortgage workout with your lender can provide the break you need to rearrange your finances. Even if you cannot save your home you  can find alternatives to a foreclosure that dampen the negative effects to your credit of a foreclosure. Housing counselors can also help you take advantage of rental programs if you do end up losing your home.

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