After you buy a house, you feel a sense of accomplishment. You did it, and you’re part of the club of homeowners. However, there’s still a lot to do. You have to get moved in, make repairs, meet the neighbors, and get settled in. Unfortunately, there are unscrupulous people that are willing to take advantage of this hectic time to try to scam you out of your hard-earned money while you aren’t paying attention. You’ve bought a home, now watch out for the scams!
When you buy a home, that purchase gets a listing in the publicly available county records. Every company that sells products to homeowners sifts through these listings and starts to send out mail to these new homeowners. Some mailing list companies also use these listings to compile mailing lists for profit, selling you out to anyone who wants the information. There isn’t really any defense to this, so you need to get smart about what is coming.
Look out for companies that have names that sound VAGUELY government-related or home sales related. If you aren’t looking out for it, you can fall for these scammers easily and send them money for services that you can do yourself, or even scams that steal from you over and over. 3 types of scams to look out for are finance, insurance, and homestead scams.
You may get a letter saying that your loan has been sold to another bank. This is a fairly common practice and could be totally legitimate. However, you can’t just take the letter at face value. Always, ALWAYS call your bank or mortgage company before you send any money to another company than the one that you originally worked with. Use the number on your loan documents, as this letter may give you a number that will assure you that it is legitimate, which is like asking the fox whether or not you should let it into the henhouse.
This scam takes advantage of your newfound sense of responsibility. You may be feeling that you need life or health insurance exceeding what you have to cover your home in case of an emergency or tragedy, and you probably do. It’s a great idea to have life insurance to cover the house if you die, or better health insurance so the bills don’t cause you to lose your home. However, you’ll get letter after letter offering you low-cost insurance that doesn’t really cover anything or insurance that you’ll pay twice as much for than if you just called an insurance company directly.
They’ll often have information that is designed to make the letter look official, such as your mortgage amount or how much you still owe, but that information can be found through a records search and isn’t an indicator of legitimacy. They will also put your bank or mortgage company’s name on the letter, but that’s another piece of information that they can find. Just find a legitimate insurance company and get a real insurance policy.
They will also try to get you with a home warranty. It’s a warranty on your home, which sounds great until you find out how much isn’t actually covered under it. Your garage door opener could be covered, but not the actual door. Your garbage disposal may be covered, but not the sink. Even when parts are covered, you still have to pay for a deductible when they service your home, and the repairs often use cheap parts. The warranty company most often will insist that the repair company do the work as cheaply as possible.
The Homestead Exemption is a tax break that many tax jurisdictions give on your property taxes for the house that you live in. It’s a one-page form that you can fill out yourself, and many governments have the form available on their site. It is also free to file.
The Homestead Scam comes when companies try to charge you to fill out the form. You’ll get a letter in the mail from an official-looking company stating that they need you to fill out a form and pay them a small fee, usually $25 or $35 to fill out your form for your Homestead Exemption. As we said, the form is free, so what are they doing? In the best case, they will take your money and send you the form to fill out yourself. In the worst case, they take your money, sell your personal information, and don’t even send you the form. Make sure that you keep an eye out for these scams and just fill out the form yourself.
Call The Home Loan Expert Team in St. Louis at (314) 781-9700, Chicago at (773) 770-4727, Indianapolis at (317) 550-1515, Nashville at (615) 810-8555 or Birmingham, AL at (205)721-7656. You can always apply online at hero.loan for your VA Loan, and www.thehomeloanexpert.com for your other mortgage needs, and we’re also open on Saturdays and will come to you to help close your loan. We work hard to make it easy on you. Nobody gets lower rates on better loans than The Home Loan Expert, Ryan Kelley, why go anywhere else?