Friday, July 18, 2008

Real Estate Road Signs - "We Pay Off, You Keep"

I’m noticing an uptick in the number of roadside cardboard signs that have something to do with real estate lately. You know the kind - here in Phoenix they’re usually hand-inked, on cardboard or oak tag, stuck in the ground with a stake.

Surely it’s a function of the bad economy, the looming recession, the credit crisis and the housing ‘bubble’.  Whatever, I figured it would make a good blog post or two. Here’s today’s Real Estate Road Sign:

I didn't call to find out exactly what scam they're peddling, but rest assured it isn't as good as it sounds. No one is going to pay off your mortgage out of the goodness of their heart and not expect something for it. Either they'll refinance you under their own (probably dubious) terms, or they'll pay off the mortgage and let you stay in it, as a tenant.

There are some instances where it might be beneficial to let someone buy your home from you and then arrange to stay in it as a tenant. But contact a trusted Realtor or mortgage lender to do it. Placing your single largest financial asset into the hands of someone who advertises on roadsides with hand lettered cardboard signs is not in your best interests.

If this is a refinancing "plan" it probably involves people who look and sound a lot like the Sopranos and there are a lot of other, better options for refinancing if you're facing foreclosure.

If it's a plan to buy your home and rent it back to you, be very careful. There are a lot of scams out there now that start out this way, and then whack you with huge penalties if your rent is even an hour late. Worse, some of those rent back to owner schemes allow the company you're dealing with the evict you from your home without notice if you pay late.

If you're having financial troubles large enough to even think about calling the number on this sign, you're probably better off contacting someone about a refinance or a short sale.

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