BALTIMORE (WJZ) — Avoiding foreclosure and the scams that prey on those in jeopardy of losing their home was the goal of a seminar Saturday for hundreds of Marylanders.
Andrea Fujii has more.
This was the fifth foreclosure prevention seminar hosted by Representative Elijah Cummings and once again, it was packed.
“Protect this house. That needs to be their number one priority and that’s what this is all about,” Cummings said.
Fraud is another danger that threatens to take people’s homes away. That almost happened to Hattie Peartree, who was scammed by a company promising to lower her mortgage rate.
“He could get me a loan as low as 4 percent, which would reduce my payment down as low as $500,” Peartree said.
But she had to pay $2,000 upfront, which made her late on her mortgage.
The Federal Trade Commission warns people to beware of companies requiring a fee before they do anything or if they promise to stop the foreclosure process. Also, beware of companies not approved by the Department of Housing and Urban Development.
Nearly, 1,000 homeowners are expected to be helped at this workshop. They’ll either discuss options with their lenders or ask experts what to do next.
“I’m just hoping that they can fix me,” Peartree said.
In November, nearly 1,400 Marylanders filed for foreclosure. After attending one of these seminars, organizers say nearly 70 percent of them are able to stay in their homes.
“People are out of work, people can’t make their mortgage payment. It’s serious,” said Kenneth Rogers.
“The bottom line is, I want to stay in my home,” Peartree said.
Cummings says they may schedule another seminar next year.