Homeowners in trouble are easy pray for attorneys (and loan modification "specialist") who promise they can modify a loan. Homeowners should be wary of any person who promises they can modify their loan for a fee. As in a short sales, in the end it is the investor guidelines that determine whether a loan can be modified or sold as a short sale. Paying a third party money does not guarantee results and anyone who promises results is not being honest. All we can promise is that we will do everything we can to help.
In a bold move for the California State Bar Association, it has released the names of 16 California lawyers suspected of misconduct regarding loan modifications. The Bar Association is conducting an internal investigation in this matter and has released the names in favor of public protection.
Not every loan modification lawyer is underhanded. Some take fees for services and deliver. However, some lawyers apparently hire staff who are not licensed to practice law, and assign cases to these untrained and unlicensed people.
This action should serve as a wake-up call to Sacramento home owners. If you are upside down and need to do a loan modification or a short sale, please be very careful and check out a so-called professional before hiring that person or firm. Ask for references. Ask other professionals for recommendations.
One of the lawyers on this list, and I'm not going to tell you which one, is a lawyer I knew from a long time ago in southern California. I was suspicious of him from the day we met. He gave me the impression that every person he came in contact with was a potential deep pocket for him, in some shape or form, even if that person wasn't a client. I always try to listen to my intuition because it has yet to lead me in the wrong direction. Some people, though, can't tell when they are being scammed.
Here is the list of loan modification lawyers who are being investigated. Maybe some of the suspected will emerge from this investigation clean as a whistle? You think? In the meanwhile, check to see if your loan modification lawyer is on the list. If so, you may want to rethink your game plan.
Elizabeth Weintraub is an author, home buying columnist for The New York Times-owned About.com, a Land Park resident, and a Land Park real estate agent who specializes in older, classic homes in Land Park, Curtis Park, Midtown and East Sacramento. Weintraub is also a Sacramento Short Sale agent who lists and successfully sells short sales throughout Sacramento. Call Elizabeth Weintraub at 916.233.6759. Put 35 years of real estate experience to work for you. DRE License # 00697006.
The Short Sale Savior, by Elizabeth Weintraub, available through bookstores everywhere and at Amazon.com.
Photo: Unless otherwise noted in this blog, the photo is copyrighted by Big Stock Photo and used with permission.