Advanced Fee Loans

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When you need money, a promise to give you a loan or help you get one (even if you have a bad credit record) may seem like the answer to your prayers. But beware, it could be a crook trying to steal your money, not lend you money. Consumers nationwide continue to be victimized by advance fee loan scams that demand up-front fees for personal loans that almost always never get delivered.

Most people stumble upon the scam online or learn about the bogus loan offer from ads in local publications and online through classified sites. Often, an advance-fee loan scam website will be created and taken down within a couple weeks only to be replaced by another operating under a different name and fake business address.

Here are some tips to avoid being a victim:

Predatory Lending

As a homeowner looking for a mortgage you need to protect yourself from predatory lending practices. Predatory lenders are any lender that takes advantage of homeowners for financial gain by imposing unfair and abusive loan terms on borrowers.

The following are three examples of predatory lending practices you will want to avoid:

To avoid becoming a victim of predatory lending practices, do your homework, and research mortgage lenders and their offer. Read the contracts carefully and understand everything before signing. Remember you can back out of a loan at any time before you sign it.

Reverse Mortgage

A reverse mortgage is a special type of home equity loan that allows a homeowner to convert home equity into cash, either through a lump sum or through monthly payments. The amount you can borrow depends on several factors, including how much your home is worth, current interest rates, the age of the homeowner(s), and the terms of the loan.

Depending on the product, a reverse mortgage may provide you with cash to supplement your retirement income. It can also help you with expenses such as home improvements and health care costs. But it can also be complicated, confusing, and costly.

Under a reverse mortgage, you still own the home and the bank pays you instead of you making monthly payments to the bank. The loan does not generally have to be repaid until the last surviving owner moves out, sells, or dies. At that time, the lender will sell the home to pay off the reverse mortgage.

The following are types of reverse mortgages:

If someone is inheriting your home, they must repay the loan in order to take possession. If the amount owed is equal to the home's value, your heirs would not inherit the home as it would revert to the lender. Also, with lump sum payments, the interest charges are added each month. Over time the total debt owed can far surpass the original loan. However, most mortgages have a "nonrecourse" clause, which prevents you or your estate from owing more than the value of your home when the loan becomes due and the home is sold (though if your heirs would like to retain ownership, they generally must repay the loan in full, even if the loan value is greater than the home's value).
Understand your options and rights. Know the benefits, your costs, and the loan terms before entering into a reverse mortgage agreement. A reverse mortgage may not be your best option if you need a small amount of money for a limited time. This is why it's so important to get good advice, look at your options, and comparison shop. Always consider consulting with a lawyer or a trusted financial advisor before entering into this complicated type of loan.
Here are some tips to remember when considering a reverse mortgage:

Property Tax Freeze

This program offers eligible senior citizens and disabled individuals a once-a-year refund of sales or property taxes. The program is funded through an annual appropriation from the South Dakota Legislature. Property is the house, garage and the lot upon which it sits or one acre, whichever is less.

To be eligible:

To apply: Applications are accepted from May 1 to July 1. Please submit your application to the Department of Revenue, Special Tax Division, 445 East Capitol Avenue, Pierre, SD 57501-3185.

Assessment Freeze for the Elderly & Disabled
This program reduces the assessed value of the homeowner's property. Property is the house, garage and the lot upon which it sits, or one acre, whichever is less.

To be eligible:

To apply: Applications are available online or at any county Treasurers office beginning in January of each year. Applications must be submitted annually to your county Treasurer on or before April 1st.

Property Tax Reduction Municipal Taxes for the Elderly & Disabled

This program reduces your city property taxes the year following your application. Property is the house, garage and the lot upon which it sits, or one acre, whichever is less.

To be eligible:

To apply: Applications are available online or at any county courthouse beginning in January of each year. Applications must be submitted annually to your county treasurer on or before April 1st.
For more information about a property tax relief programs, contact your County Treasurer or the South Dakota Department of Revenue, Property Tax Division, at 1-800-829-9188.