For older homeowners, typically age 65 and over, a "reverse mortgage" is often the best bet — more so than an equity loan. A reverse mortgage loans a homeowner money that doesn't have to be repaid until he or she moves, sells the house, or dies. One chooses to get the money either as a lump sum or portioned out over a specified amount of time (like getting a monthly income), or a combination of the two. The advantage of a reverse mortgage for older homeowners is that one cannot lose one's house to foreclosure the way one can with an equity loan.
If you think you've been had by a predatory lender, there are steps to take to get some justice — and at least to help others avoid the same trap sprung on you. Contact your state attorney general's office, consumer protection division: 512-463-2185
You may also report fraud to the Federal Trade Commission online at www.ftc.org, via phone at the Southwest Regional office, located in Dallas, 1-877-FTC-HELP (382-4357); or by mail, Federal Trade Commission, 600 Pennsylvania Avenue NW, Washington, D.C. 20580
Contact ACORN (Association of Communities Organized for Reform Now) for exhaustive info on this and other consumer rights subjects: www.ACORN.org; 1-877-692-0233.