Under a federal rule that took effect on January 31, 2011 - FTC’s Mortgage Assistance Relief Services (MARS) Rule - companies that offer to help homeowners get their loans modified or sell them other types of mortgage assistance relief services are no longer allowed to charge up-front / advance fees.
Under the rule, a mortgage assistance relief company may not collect a fee until the consumer has signed a written agreement with the lender that includes the relief obtained by the company. When the company presents the consumer with that relief, it must inform the consumer, in writing, that the consumer can reject the offer without obligation and, if the consumer accepts, the total fee due. Before the consumer agrees to accept the mortgage relief, the company must also provide a written notice from the lender or servicer showing how the relief will change the terms of the consumer’s loan (including any limitations on a trial loan modification).
Please note that mortgage loan modification companies must be licensed under Georgia law (specifically the Georgia Residential Mortgage Act - GRMA). Section 7-1-1002 of the Official Code of Georgia (O.C.G.A.) prohibits any person from transacting business as a residential mortgage broker or residential mortgage lender unless licensed or exempted from the licensing requirements.