I get this question a lot from clients who are either in foreclosure or mortgage default. Just who is this person with the camera in my front yard?
The answer is that your mortgage company is permitted to inspect your home if you fall behind (the technical term is “to default”) on your mortgage loan. I’ll bet you that right in your mortgage papers, it says that they’re entitled to inspect the property.
Moreover, they’re not going to do it for free. They will bill you for it, and the cost will be $15 to $35. Frequently, they will send someone out each month for an inspection. No, they won’t enter the property, but they want to make sure that someone is living in the property. If it appears that no one is living there, then they may take steps to change the locks.
Just today, there was an article in the New York Times here about this invasive tactic, (changing locks on property owners) or at least some over-the-top examples of this tactic.
Just remember that mortgage servicers (a servicer is the company that you send your mortgage payment to) charge all kinds of fees to homeowners who are in default. I’ve written previously about force-placed insurance, for example, which can be exorbitantly expensive.
Another type of fee is a “BPO”, which is a Broker Price Opinion. If you’re again in default, the mortgage servicer might send a realtor to your property to develop their opinion about the fair market value of your house. The fee might be anywhere from $125 to $250 for each BPO.
These fees add up, but if you’re making your monthly payment, then you might stand a chance to fight these fees, such as if you’re in a Chapter 13 bankruptcy. You can then show your mortgage company that you’re actually making your payments, and thus, there’s no legitimate reason for them to charge you for BPO’s or inspection fees. Your mortgage company shouldn’t be allowed to act unreasonably in charging excessive fees.
If you have questions about these fees or other mortgage issues, please let me know.