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Borrower Beware: Real Estate Brokers Paying FHA Counselors for Leads

by Peter G. Miller
February 23rd, 2009

You might have thought the HUD counseling mess ended last year, but FHA borrowers now have a new counseling issue to consider: If you’re in default HUD counselors are not supposed to charge you. Some, however, have plainly not gotten the message.

In a letter to FHA mortgage lenders dated February 19th, HUD says:

“HUD had previously sent guidance to HUD approved counseling agencies indicating that fees may not be charged for clients needing homeless counseling or default counseling.

“It has come to HUD’s attention that some Housing Counseling agencies have been asking the real estate broker or agent on a short sale to provide their

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This entry was posted on Monday, February 23rd, 2009 at 2:15 am and is filed under . You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. Both comments and pings are currently closed.

4 Responses to “Borrower Beware: Real Estate Brokers Paying FHA Counselors for Leads”

  1. Frank Kautz Says:

    Actually, yes I can think of one situation where a counselor received money from a lender and there is no appearance of conflict. That situation is a first time home buyer class setting (as long as the lender is not paying for the class and everyone in it). If the lender is paying for someone to sit in a class and the counseling agency is not changing its class to suit the lender, I do not see a problem. However, if the counseling agency were to change its class to either make the lender look good or to suggest that the type of loan the lender offers is good when it is not, then I would see a major problem.

    Generally, it is just better not to take money from anyone but the client, and even then it is better to get a grant and not take any money from the client either. Keep the classes and counseling free.

    Good column!

    Frank J. Kautz, II
    Staff Attorney

    Community Service Network, Inc.
    52 Broadway
    Stoneham, MA 02180
    (781) 438-1977
    (781) 438-6037 fax
    FrankKautz@csninc.org

  2. Orlando Says:

    Is there a way out of this mess. Let the finger pointing begin. All the Rep. are say :look at the Dems. they are screwing up!” But 8 years of asleep at the wheel can not be fixed overnight.

  3. Kevin Sandridge Says:

    Wow – I am continuously amazed at number of folks out there who willingly put their livelihoods at risk for a quick buck.

    Some mortgage brokers here in Florida used to always charge application fees. Sometimes they’d return them, other times not. I just shook my head and wondered why they wanted to deal with the hassle… not to mention the risk involved in doing so.

  4. s2kreno Says:

    Well, it’s similar to the situation debtors face when they attend “non-profit” consumer credit counseling services. Many of those services are, um, “sponsored” by credit card companies. And the clients aren’t told. Think there’s an agenda there?