Wednesday, January 10, 2007

Possible Sources Of Low Cost Or Free Home Repair Assistance Available Here
Homeowners who are "house rich" but "cash poor" are vulnerable targets for home equity theft scam artists, particularly when the home is old and in need of repair. Scam artists masquerading as home repair & improvement salespeople, reverse mortgage consultants, financial consultants, and other pseudo-professionals with self-styled titles (as well as some licensed contractors, licensed mortgage brokers, and investment professionals whose morals range from the unethical to the corrupt) are out there looking for the "next house to steal."

See, for example, the case of Mrs. Mintze, a retired and disabled Philadelphia homeowner who couldn't afford the $3,800 cost of a replacement heater for her home (she owed $25,600 on her home and had $10,500 in unsecured credit cards). She was referred by a heating contractor to a finance company, from whom she ended up with a high rate mortgage for $44,700, which paid for the heater; the balance being used to consolidate her existing debts, pay closing costs ($2,800), and buy two life insurance policies ($2,000; one of which she didn't qualify for due to a pre-exiting health condition). Shortly thereafter, she ended up defaulting on the new mortgage and, within about one year, filed for bankruptcy protection (See In re Mintze, 434 F.3d 222 (3d Cir. 2006) (available on the website for the U.S. Court of Appeals, 3rd Circuit; free, no registration needed).

There are potential sources of low cost or free home repair help that "house rich, cash poor" homeowners should consider, especially if they would like to avoid having their home equity "stolen" from them. Click the links below to begin a search for possible sources of low cost or free home repair assistance.
2) AmeriCares HomeFront (serves Connecticut - Fairfield, Hartford & New Haven Counties, and New York - Westchester County);
or you can search these links:

Because these last two lists are "rather long", I suggest that you modify the "key words" in the search box by adding one or more additional key words, and then "re do" the search. The first additional key word should be either your town, city, county, parish, borough or state of residence.

For example, if you're looking for help in "Wichita, Kansas", simply add "Wichita" to the existing key words in the "search box". You should quickly find links that will lead you to sources of help such as the Wichita city government website, who have a loan program where, subject to availability, they offer interest-free loans up to $5,000 that do not require any repayment until you no longer live in the home (many cities and counties offer programs like this one; Mrs. Mintze could have used a loan like this) (Any other additional key words can also be used that one feels is appropriate).