Industry NewsRegulations

FTC’s ‘MARS’ complicates real estate transactions

NAR pushes for changes to confusing regulation

Could you get caught in a trap set by the federal government to catch foreclosure-relief scammers -- even though you're a million miles away from fitting such a description? Sad to say it, but you just might. Over the past two years I've tracked the Federal Trade Commission's "Operation Clean Sweep," a crackdown on those loan modification companies that promise distressed homeowners that they'll negotiate lower interest rates or principal reductions with lenders, but then simply pocket homeowners' money upfront -- often between $2,500-$4,000 -- doing little or nothing in return. Based on discussions with some of their victims, I can tell you that these loan mod predators are among the worst of the vermin bred during the mortgage bust and recession. They take people's money when they're already in extreme financial and emotional distress, panicked about losing their houses. The FTC's joint strike force with state attorneys general already has put dozens of them ...