Goals like improving your credit score or restructuring your mortgage take a lot of work to achieve. To help you, there are some legitimate advisors out there... but be wary of anyone who promises instant results with no work from you.
ERASE DEBT/ IMPROVE CREDIT
Many firms that are offering credit counseling to help you navigate a path out of debt may be instead steering you toward bankruptcy. Bankruptcy is a legal step that is available to people who can’t pay their bills, but it has lasting repercussions that can impact your credit for years.
"FREE" CREDIT REPORT
You’ve seen the commercials with the guy and the guitar warbling about getting free credit reports. The trouble is, he’s advertising a for-profit company that makes millions from people who are enticed into signing up for a monthly monitoring service. To get your actual free credit reports, visit the official site at: AnnualCreditReport.com
Some firms target homeowners in distress with enticements to help stop foreclosure proceedings. Oftentimes, these firms charge you high fees and some even end up taking the houses they say they’ll protect from foreclosure. Sometimes they'll promise to buy your home and then "rent the house back to you"... only to sell it to another owner.
Ads that offer you money by "tapping the equity" in your home may be trying to sell you "reverse mortgages." Those arrangements eventually transfer the ownership of your home. These arrangements are legal, but read the fine print to learn whether the fees and other terms are fair.
Unscrupulous mortgage brokers made a bundle by steering low-income people into loans with unfavorable terms for the borrowers, and that helped to trigger the national housing crash. There is no fiduciary duty for a mortgage broker to act in your best interest. New regulations have made subprime loans less common, but the lesson remains: Always be sure to read your mortgage paperwork carefully, and pay particular attention to the "disclosure" page, where you can see if your mortgage agent is getting a fee from a lender known as a "yield spread premium" for putting you into a higher interest rate than you would otherwise qualify for.