Responding to Solicitations Is a Bad Idea - Even Worse if the Lender Is Abroad
November 29, 2010, Revised January 10, 2012

"I am currently involved in trying to get an overseas mortgage from an online company abroad, XXXX.com. I have already sent them 300 Euros for an automated valuation in France, I was supposed to receive it 2 weeks ago but it has not yet arrived. I’m worried. Can you please tell me what you know about XXXX.com?" 

I don’t know anything about them, which is hardly surprising, There are many thousands of mortgage loan originators in the US alone, and adding Western Europe might double the number.  

Borrowers who allow themselves to be selected by a lender are looking for trouble. Not all lenders who solicit borrowers are predators, but all predatory lenders solicit, which means that the odds are stacked against the borrower responding to a mortgage solicitation.

If the soliciting lender is abroad, the odds are even worse. There is a scamster in Nigeria who poses as me to extract upfront fees from desperate borrowers around the world. Aside from alerting the web sites where he advertises, there isn't anything  I can do about it.

The analogy I like to use is selecting mushrooms. One summer in New Hampshire, I camped in a wood that was carpeted with wild mushrooms, which I love, but many of them were poisonous. I went to the local “expert” who knew some that were good that he had eaten, and those were the ones I picked. There are a lot of pretty mushrooms I left alone, and would have left alone even if they had implored me to pick them. That is the proper way to select a mortgage lender.  

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