Sadly the economic recession has produced many innocent victims. No situation is more harrowing than perhaps a family being forced to sell their house because mortgage payments can no longer be met. This happens usually because the main earner in the family has lost their job or suffered reduced income. A whole series of companies – often website based – have grown up cashing in on these difficulties. Guarantees to sell your property in a very short time or better still buy it very quickly for cash are heavily advertised. The attraction of these offers to folk struggling to pay mortgage bills is obvious. However as in all life – when something seems too good to be true it usually is. Generally these companies will only offer sums well below the proper valuation for the property. These companies are not charities – they buy to make money on the property one way or the other – and the more desperate the houseowner the lower the price. When mortgage payment difficulties first arise a far better approach is for the homeowner to communicate quickly and openly with their lender – and to explain their financial difficulties. Most lenders nowadays will work with borrowers to avoid repossessions – provided always that the borrower is up front and realistic and keeps in contact. Sometimes monthly payments can be reduced and there is plenty help available in negotiating with the lender – the Citizens Advice Bureau, Debtline or Money Advice Scotland for example. On top of that in Scotland there are still some mortgage rescue schemes run by local authorities or housing associations which could be investigated. Quite often sale of the house can be put off for a good time – hopefully giving the house owner time to get another job for example. Even if arrangements cannot be made which avoid the house sale, most lenders will accept reduced payments or even payment holidays if the lender knows the house is on the market and the selling agent keeps the lender informed. This approach allows the homeowner to market the property widely and to get the full market price for it rather than accept in a hurry a vastly reduced price. Sensible homeowners can generally do better for themselves if they avoid the apparent attractions of the “we’ll buy now for cash” adverts. That’s the truth.