|Don't mail your mortgage payment
until you're sure|
Julie Garton-Good, GRI, DREI
You get a phone call from someone claiming to be the company
who just purchased your mortgage. They state that since they're late getting the
change information out to you, it's important that you send your mortgage check
to them right away so your payments won't be in default--and they give you the
post office box number to send it to.
What should you do? Nothing except to report the call to
your current mortgage holder. This scam is just one of the many real estate
payment scams currently circulating around the country. And many unwitting
homeowners have sent their payments to companies like this to avoid being
The federal government has enacted laws to protect consumers
from just this type of activity. If your mortgage loan is sold, there's a series
of events that must occur and you should be aware of them.
First, the lender selling your loan must provide you with a "goodbye"
letter. On their letterhead, they will inform you who has purchased the loan,
their address and phone number and an individual person with whom you can
communicate. The selling lender must send this notice to you not less than 15
days before your next payment is due.
But the new lender has responsibilities, too. They must send
you a "hello" letter, stating the same information as that provided by
the selling lender. And if the letter fails to reach you before your should mail
next payment, you will not be held responsible for late fees for a period of 60
If either letter is missing pertinent information, call the
contact person listed on the form. (Many lenders do provide an 800 number with
the extension number of the person you need to talk to). If either letter is not
written on company letterhead, does not have a postmark or appears to be a weak
photocopy, do nothing until you check with both lenders.
There is nothing wrong with having your loan sold; in fact,
a large percentage of all mortgage loans made today are sold to outside
investors. Just be sure you're aware of your rights, that you've received the
proper documentation from both lenders and that you call the contact person if
you have any questions about the process.
Don't be a real estate scam fatality!