In this issue

Jonathan Tobin: Defending the Right to a Jewish State

Heather Hale: Compliment your kids without giving them big heads

Megan Shauri: 10 ways you are ruining your own happiness

Carolyn Bigda: 8 Best Dividend Stocks for 2015

Kiplinger's Personal Finance editors: 7 Things You Didn't Know About Paying Off Student Loans

Samantha Olson: The Crucial Mistake 55% Of Parents Are Making At Their Baby's Bedtime

Densie Well, Ph.D., R.D. Open your eyes to yellow vegetables

The Kosher Gourmet by Megan Gordon With its colorful cache of purples and oranges and reds, COLLARD GREEN SLAW is a marvelous mood booster --- not to mention just downright delish
April 18, 2014

Rabbi Yonason Goldson: Clarifying one of the greatest philosophical conundrums in theology

Caroline B. Glick: The disappearance of US will

Megan Wallgren: 10 things I've learned from my teenagers

Lizette Borreli: Green Tea Boosts Brain Power, May Help Treat Dementia

John Ericson: Trying hard to be 'positive' but never succeeding? Blame Your Brain

The Kosher Gourmet by Julie Rothman Almondy, flourless torta del re (Italian king's cake), has royal roots, is simple to make, . . . but devour it because it's simply delicious

April 14, 2014

Rabbi Dr Naftali Brawer: Passover frees us from the tyranny of time

Greg Crosby: Passing Over Religion

Eric Schulzke: First degree: How America really recovered from a murder epidemic

Georgia Lee: When love is not enough: Teaching your kids about the realities of adult relationships

Cameron Huddleston: Freebies for Your Lawn and Garden

Gordon Pape: How you can tell if your financial adviser is setting you up for potential ruin

Dana Dovey: Up to 500,000 people die each year from hepatitis C-related liver disease. New Treatment Has Over 90% Success Rate

Justin Caba: Eating Watermelon Can Help Control High Blood Pressure

The Kosher Gourmet by Joshua E. London and Lou Marmon Don't dare pass over these Pesach picks for Manischewitz!

April 11, 2014

Rabbi Hillel Goldberg: Silence is much more than golden

Caroline B. Glick: Forgetting freedom at Passover

Susan Swann: How to value a child for who he is, not just what he does

Cameron Huddleston: 7 Financial Tasks You Should Tackle Right Now

Sandra Block and Lisa Gerstner: How to Profit From Your Passion

Susan Scutti: A Simple Blood Test Might Soon Diagnose Cancer

Chris Weller: Have A Slow Metabolism? Let Science Speed It Up For You

The Kosher Gourmet by Diane Rossen Worthington Whitefish Terrine: A French take on gefilte fish

April 9, 2014

Jonathan Tobin: Why Did Kerry Lie About Israeli Blame?

Samuel G. Freedman: A resolution 70 years later for a father's unsettling legacy of ashes from Dachau

Jessica Ivins: A resolution 70 years later for a father's unsettling legacy of ashes from Dachau

Kim Giles: Asking for help is not weakness

Kathy Kristof and Barbara Hoch Marcus: 7 Great Growth Israeli Stocks

Matthew Mientka: How Beans, Peas, And Chickpeas Cleanse Bad Cholesterol and Lowers Risk of Heart Disease

Sabrina Bachai: 5 At-Home Treatments For Headaches

The Kosher Gourmet by Daniel Neman Have yourself a matzo ball: The secrets bubby never told you and recipes she could have never imagined

April 8, 2014

Lori Nawyn: At Your Wit's End and Back: Finding Peace

Susan B. Garland and Rachel L. Sheedy: Strategies Married Couples Can Use to Boost Benefits

David Muhlbaum: Smart Tax Deductions Non-Itemizers Can Claim

Jill Weisenberger, M.S., R.D.N., C.D.E : Before You Lose Your Mental Edge

Dana Dovey: Coffee Drinkers Rejoice! Your Cup Of Joe Can Prevent Death From Liver Disease

Chris Weller: Electric 'Thinking Cap' Puts Your Brain Power Into High Gear

The Kosher Gourmet by Marlene Parrish A gift of hazelnuts keeps giving --- for a variety of nutty recipes: Entree, side, soup, dessert

April 4, 2014

Rabbi David Gutterman: The Word for Nothing Means Everything

Charles Krauthammer: Kerry's folly, Chapter 3

Amy Peterson: A life of love: How to build lasting relationships with your children

John Ericson: Older Women: Save Your Heart, Prevent Stroke Don't Drink Diet

John Ericson: Why 50 million Americans will still have spring allergies after taking meds

Cameron Huddleston: Best and Worst Buys of April 2014

Stacy Rapacon: Great Mutual Funds for Young Investors

Sarah Boesveld: Teacher keeps promise to mail thousands of former students letters written by their past selves

The Kosher Gourmet by Sharon Thompson Anyone can make a salad, you say. But can they make a great salad? (SECRETS, TESTED TECHNIQUES + 4 RECIPES, INCLUDING DRESSINGS)

April 2, 2014

Paul Greenberg: Death and joy in the spring

Dan Barry: Should South Carolina Jews be forced to maintain this chimney built by Germans serving the Nazis?

Mayra Bitsko: Save me! An alien took over my child's personality

Frank Clayton: Get happy: 20 scientifically proven happiness activities

Susan Scutti: It's Genetic! Obesity and the 'Carb Breakdown' Gene

Lecia Bushak: Why Hand Sanitizer May Actually Harm Your Health

Stacy Rapacon: Great Funds You Can Own for $500 or Less

Cameron Huddleston: 7 Ways to Save on Home Decor

The Kosher Gourmet by Steve Petusevsky Exploring ingredients as edible-stuffed containers (TWO RECIPES + TIPS & TECHINQUES)

Jewish World Review May 1, 2007 / 13 Iyar, 5767

Reasons to beware of ‘We Buy Homes’

By Vicki Lee Parker

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http://www.JewishWorldReview.com | (MCT) The great American dream is quickly becoming the great American scam. With so many homeowners forced into foreclosure last year, and just as many expected this year, the number of people willing to swindle consumers out of their homes is also on the rise.

Those "We Buy Homes — Instant Cash" signs you see around many urban areas aren't true. They simply prey on people in financial trouble.

"Instead of throwing them a life jacket, they are throwing them an anchor," said Mal Maynard, executive director of the Financial Protection Law Center in Wilmington, N.C., a nonprofit group that advocates against predatory lending and provides legal services to borrowers who encounter abusive lending practices.

Here are the most common scams:

  • The bailout. A scammer offers to buy your home for much less than its value, with the understanding that you can rent it and eventually repurchase it if certain terms are met.

    However, the sales price or monthly payments are typically inflated, making it impossible for you to buy the home back. Eventually, the property is forfeited and the new owner sells the home at market value and pockets the equity.

  • The fake home sale. In this scheme, a scammer says he will buy your home to get control of the deed or title to the home.

    In some cases, homeowners believe their lender has been paid — but don't get proof before handing over deed.

    But the homeowners are still liable for the mortgage, because you have merely signed over the deed, not sold the home. The scammer rents the home to a tenant with an option to buy — pocketing any down payment and rent - but never making a mortgage payment. Eventually the lender notifies you that it is foreclosing on the property. The deed holder walks away with no liability.

  • Bogus help. This scheme is simple and common. The scammer promises to save your credit or get you low monthly payments. Instead, you pay thousands of dollars in fees, and they do nothing. In the end, you still might be forced into foreclosure or bankruptcy.

    Most foreclosure scammers identify their victims by watching for property that has been listed for sale in court. They approach the homeowner with offers to help. Other scammers are contacted by potential victims who have seen a flier advertising "foreclosure rescue."

    So if you're a homeowner in financial trouble, thoroughly check out any organization before doing business with it. Here are some other tips:

  • Don't pay upfront fees to "foreclosure rescue" companies that promise to help you keep your property.

  • Don't sign your deed over without consulting a lawyer you trust. Remember, simply signing your deed over doesn't formally release you from your mortgage liability.

  • Don't sign any contract to sell your home until you review the document with a lawyer.

  • Don't work with anyone who discourages you from contacting your mortgage company, refuses to put promises in writing, pressures you to sign paperwork you haven't had a chance to read thoroughly or fills out paperwork for you.

  • Contact your lender at the first sign of financial trouble. See if the loan can be restructured or refinanced, or work out a repayment plan. Keep in mind that most lenders don't want to foreclose because it costs them money. Also, the longer you wait, the fewer options you have for help. Once a lender begins foreclosure proceedings, the process is swift. Your home could be auctioned in as few as three weeks after your court hearing.

  • Consider selling your home if you have equity in it. If all other options fail, you might also consider deeding your property back to your mortgage company, also known as deed-in-lieu of foreclosure. If the lender agrees to this transaction, you can be released from most or all financial obligation and the lender benefits by not having to pay repossession fees and other costs associated with foreclosure.

  • Contact a reputable non-profit credit and housing counselor if you are not able to work with your lender. For a list of approved housing counselors in your state, call the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development at (800) 569-4287 or go to hud.gov and click on the foreclosure link.

  • Consult with an lawyer if you don't understand the foreclosure process.

Many people miss out on real help — financial and otherwise — because they are too embarrassed to admit they got roped into a expensive mortgage.

Just remember: There is no shame in needing — or getting — help.

Every weekday JewishWorldReview.com publishes what many in in the media and Washington consider "must-reading". Sign up for the daily JWR update. It's free. Just click here.

Vicki Lee Parker is a columnist for The News & Observer. Comment by clicking here.


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© 2007, The News & Observer Distributed by McClatchy-Tribune Information Services