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Can You Make Money Processing Refunds for HUD?

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[Note from Joe 7/17/08: If you read the discussion in the comments section below, you’ll see that Darlene was at one time offering her book for free. She is no longer doing so. Visit her at http://www.scmiprefunds.com/shop/ to purchase it.]

How I Learned about Mortgage Refund Processing
I first heard about mortgage refund processing by reading a job ad on Craigslist. Can you really make money as a refund tracer? By getting refunds for people who paid too much for their mortgage insurance? Hey, I’m a helping kinda gal, and if I could make some money by helping, well that would be just as cool as helping people without getting paid. Maybe cooler!

I wrote to the email address listed and received a reply with more information. The reply said that I could become a third party tracer and would have to pay for software, lists, and a manual, and to visit eaglesoftwareservices.com to learn more. Uh-oh. Of course, that’s not a “job” at all because real jobs don’t charge you to work. I felt a little deceived, but was intrigued enough to click the link.

It led me to a presell page that told me a little bit more, but was really just trying to sell me the software, which costs $39.95. The web site left out some important details, though, that were in the email:

  • It doesn’t say that I would need to buy lists of names and refunds for at least $20 per state.
  • It doesn’t say that I would need to buy a manual of instructions to learn exactly how to get people their refunds and get paid.

How is Mortgage Refund Processing Supposed to Work?
I had no idea what mortgage refund processing was until starting on this path. So for those of you who are also wondering, here’s a quick introduction. If you take out a mortgage without a down payment, you are required to buy mortgage insurance so the lender still makes its money back in case of default. The insurance premiums are tacked on to your monthly mortgage payment. When the home is sold or refinanced, you may be eligible for a refund of some of your premiums if your loan was through HUD or FHA.

The problem is that people move and HUD/FHA loses track of them, so they don’t know they have a refund coming. That’s where tracers come in. Tracers (which is what I would be) find those people, let them know they have money coming, help them collect it, and keep part of the money as a fee.

My Experience
So I contacted the guys at I’ve Tried That and became a Secret Agent. They bought the software, I downloaded it, and am here to report the full results to you.

    It’s not “software.” The product you get for $39.95 is actually something like an e-book designed to be user friendly, with buttons to click through. It’s like a help file. Here’s the definition of software: “The programs, programming languages, and data that direct the operations of a computer system.” Word processing programs and Internet browsers are examples of software. This e-book is not.

    What’s in it? The ebook is basically about 4-6 pages long repeating everything that is already stated on the website with a few more procedures, a contract template, and a HUD application template. That’s it!
    Here’s what the “software” tells you to do:

    1. buy hud lists (at a minimum of $20 per state)
    2. make contact with claimant (no instructions on how to do this, no letter samples)
    3. agree with claimant that you will be his or her tracer, sign contract (template of contract provided)
    4. process applications for contract (one template provided)
    5. get paid/collect your money (no instructions on how to do this)

    The e-book does not mention how you can contact your client, but when you get to the end of the e-book, you get an offer to purchase the manual for only $24.99 in which all these instructions will be given to you. Hello! What was the $39.99 for? Junk. The manual is not even sold through eaglesoftwareservices. You must contact another company or send Eagle a money order so they can place the order for you. (Yeah, right. I’m all over that). The manual is available all over the ‘Net for free. If you want to see it, let me know in the comments and I’ll send you a link.

    Not Just Eagle Software Services
    Upon further research, I found that several other websites are offering the manual up front, such as americanrefundservices.com. They sell the manual for $49.95 and their “startup kit” for $16.95. Which I think is what eagle sold us—a start up kit. Other companies are selling the entire kit for $79.99.

    In Search of a Cheaper Manual
    On eBay I found two people selling manuals. For one, the bid starts at $2 and the other has a Buy-it-Now price of $14. Then I actually found the text of the manual online, but it is missing one valuable piece of information: how to get paid. I figured out that you have to somehow collect the money yourself, but I went to another website in which they talk about another method of getting paid by having the refund check sent directly to the tracer, but they are selling their info for $49.99. The manual is available for free at geocities.com/freeebooksus/hudbook.html. I downloaded the info and made it into a PDF file.

    The Bottom Line
    Can you make money as a mortgage refund processor? Maybe. It’s legal, but there are big hurdles you should know about:

    • You will be competing with HUD-sponsored tracers who will do what you do for free.
    • You will have to hide the source of the money from your potential client, or he’ll just go directly to HUD himself and get his money without you.
    • Those owed refunds can do it without you—you’re not necessary.
    • It only works if your client doesn’t know who owes him money.
    • You will have to spend some money to get started. Maybe a lot of it.

    As far as Eaglesoftwareservices goes, this is not a good buy, in my opinion. Everything in the e-book is already stated on their website, except that the sales page “forgets” to mention that you must buy the HUD lists and that you need a manual with the more detailed instructions. Plus, Eagle’s “software” is just another marketing strategy because when you get to end of the e-book they make you offers on other products you can purchase. Oh, and the e-book also comes with re-sell rights, which means that you can build your own website and resell this book yourself. I suspect that’s how Eagle came across it. They are just reselling the e-book because they don’t even have the manual themselves.

    Eagle advertises “bonus material” that comes with your purchase. What a waste! It’s just another e-book showing you how to start your own mail order business. When you get to the end of this one, you get an offer to buy another e-book/software to teach you to make your very own software to sell ebooks. And you get more offers, more offers, more offers.

    I believe there is money to be made here, but Eagle’s product is not worth buying. Money Wasted. Stay posted, though, because I am going to dig through the manual and try to make contact with clients and see what happens.

    Signed,
    Da Fanster
    (this post will self-destruct in 15 seconds. No, really: it will!)

There's only ONE program I really recommend. It helped me turn my 'hobby' into a $10,000+ per month money making machine. Click here for the exact formula I followed.

133 Comments

  1. I have been doing this for 6 years now, and have great success,not to mention a lot of fun doing it. The problem is all of you people are going about it all wrong. First of all, forget all about the mail thing. Start in your own local area. After all, if you live in colorado, and the letter came from massachussetts, would’nt tou discard it? look on one of those people finder sites, get their number, and arrange an appointment. I work right out of my public library. Better yet just show up! That’s right,just go to the adress. A lot more sense than sending a letter from 500 miles away, wouldn’t you say. I have proven that this can be done. Just a little common sense!

    Reply
  2. I have been looking into this it is all available free.
    On the Gov website the lists are free.
    I would think the best way to get paid would be by
    automatic deposit form they sign when you make the contract and tell them they will not pay until you give them the check or by paypal you could use a creditcard
    scan on your phone.
    Here is the Gov website.
    http://portal.hud.gov/hudportal/HUD?src=/program_offices/administration/foia/frequentrequestedmaterials/fharefundstate

    Reply
  3. Jimmy, HUD will send both the form HUD 27050-B and the check to the property owner. That’s why we encourage and teach Tracers how to get paid upfront. There’s a way to approach the property owner in the first conversation with them about upfront fees, it’s called FULL DISCLOSURE. Always disclose to the property owner that they can work with HUD directly for free, then offer your service to them however, you do charge a fee which is paid when they sign the TFC. Property owners will relish in the fact that you even guided them to HUD instead of pressuring them to work with you instead. But don’t charge a crazy amount for your services, property owners want to recover their Refund but they aren’t stupid. This is a numbers game, not all property owners will agree to you helping them so don’t take it personal, it’s business.

    Please visit our website at http://www.newenglandfharefunds.com/3rd-party-tracer-info.html for more information.

    Darlene Martin
    New England FHA Refunds
    http://www.newenglandfharefunds.com
    http://www.newenglandfharefunds.com/3rd-party-tracer-info.html

    Reply
  4. There is something you must say to the homeowners to make sure you do not get cheated or the homeowners will call HUD to get their own refunds without the assistance of a tracer.

    Also there is a legal document to send every homeowner so that when the refund check comes it will come to you so that you can take your percentage out of the check and give the rest to the homeowners.

    Reply
    1. What is the name of the legal document I need to send to the home owner so I can get the percentage out. Do I have to have a lawyer have to sign a document.

  5. Hello All,
    I am one of the people that is owed over $2,000 from a home I refinanced in 2001 and later sold in 2004. I have been getting letters from people for years to allow them to process my refund but what I found, as indicated here from the blog page, I just picked up the phone, called HUD, they sent me out a paper, I just send them the deed that proves I was the homeowner and BAM my cash is on its way. It has been a very long time so I just contacted title to obtain the deeds, they were e mailed to me in a matter of minutes. I am not sure why people want to do this job as it is way too easy for the owner of the cash to do it themselves.

    Reply
  6. hi, i got a postcard in the mail to try refund processing and found this blog while researching it..what i have learned is that it looks like it can work, but like the original blogger said at the top, people who are owed a refund can fill out the necessary paperwork and get their refund from HUD without paying anyone anything..i am on a 15 day trial with the HUD mortgager lists and it seems very useful for $40 a month considering the work you would have to do if you did it manually…my problem is i am on disability so don’t have much income for supplies and i don’t have a printer or fax or car to drive to get supplies or get forms notarized and faxed. I just wish it didn’t take so long to see a ROI and i might be inclined to try it. I have until may 7 2013 until they start charging me for the HUD website..darlene do you think paying for the HUD website is legit or is it even necessary either?

    Reply
  7. I started processing refunds 7/12 and I have not had one client. If anyone can provide me with feedback on how to connect with the person receiving the refund, it will be greatly appreciated. I have a strong will and I plan to continue until I can see some profits coming in, but a little help from a friend is fine too.

    Reply
  8. i hope it works now where i found it at u only pay 40 bucks a month for the hud list which is updated monthly. most people think well u cant really do this or how am i gonna make money. well see the charge comes because this is not a job it is an opportunity. the difference being a job is a 9-5 that u will probably work the rest of your life because your working for someone else wage..an opportunity is the opportunity to run your own business for a small amount of money.see most business have to pay a power bill,fax machine,phone lines,internet,payroll,rent for the place of business etc…and to be a independent refund processer all u need is 40.00 a month for hud program,what ever it cost for fax lines and a fax machine and printer.. but u only need a printer and computer expense if you dont want to go to the library and use their internet for free..so that means all u reall need is a fax line and telephone notebook to keep up with stuff and a bank near by because stuff does have to be noterized…so who wants to work the rest of there life and who wants to start something that will better there future and wont have to work the rest of there life..its all up to you the person reading this message…. NOT A SCAM refund processing works as long as ur not lazy

    Reply
  9. april, you can email at midwestrefunds@aol.com

    Reply
  10. April, I tried to email you at a311hanna@yahoo.com but it came back. How are you able to get the check sent to you so you can take out the 25%. I have done these refunds in the past and some of the clients were not honest and kept the whole check and did not give me my percentage. I know hud send the claim form directly to the claimant. Pleas help me on this so I can always get paid.

    Reply
  11. also i forgot to mention i did purchase a manual type thing in the mail to start doing this third party tracer before i found this site so i did not get it from darlene’s site or the eagle site. i have not made anything yet but have only been doing this for a little over a month now and with mail it may take a while i know so i will post if i start to make any kind of money for those who are interested. thamks again april.

    Reply
  12. hi David Hill, hope you still read this if you want i can look you up and see if you are owed a refund still, if you are i would have your exwife sign it while you are with her and drop it off in the mail yourself that way there are no mis-happs. . i just recently started doing this i got started all through the mail but most of my letters have came back “unable to forward” so now i am looking upfor new addresses before i send out the paper work because it is costing more than i antisapiated in stamps to send the letter twice. any way my e mail address is a311hanna@yahoo.com if you would like me to help you see if you have a refund btw i do not charge anything i just take it out 25% from the check if you do get one and if not then neither of us get anything :( also as far as i know you need your case number in order to get the refund yourself. david and anyone else who is interested can contact me if they would like to know if they are owed a refund (there is no cost to you out of your pocket) thank you and thank you ive tried that for the great site to read everyones opinion.

    Reply
  13. John Ellington says:

    Do you know anything about Smart Tools to work for with HUD as a processer though them?? Thank you!!!

    Reply
  14. Hello Darlene,

    I am new comer in this business. Is there anyway that you can send me some of these info? Thanks in advance!

    Maxx,

    Reply
  15. Darlene I want my money back! You ripped me off and will not answer my emails! Horrible support and product! You are not even rated with the BBB. I am reporting you.

    Reply
  16. Hi D.

    please send me the info. I want to supplement my income and something like this sounds do-able.

    Reply
  17. Hello to everyone in this post, i just now found this & i’ve read every single one & when i read the one from Fany, i clicked onto that link listed.
    I feel bad having to tell everyone that’s in hopes of making money with this @ home, But Fany’s link –> (http://www.hud.gov/faqs/faqrefund.cfm) says that theirs no need for tracers, because HUD gets the refunds info to people for FREE!!!
    So Darlene Martin may make money on unsuspecting people, that’s sad.
    I see that she used to give the refund booklet or software away for FREE.
    But as she got so many requests, now she’s decided to try & take advantage of everyone that’s seeking to work @ home & needs $$$.
    I not only checked out that website, but i entered Hud Refunds in their search area & that’s when i learned of their Free Services.
    Well i hope that this helps everyone & sorry i just now located this post.
    If it will help @all, i’m a work @ homer & i hope you’ll check out my website.
    I am a Reverend in my home area & have money making links on my site, check them out if your still needing ways to help on making a living.
    Bless you all & good luck in all of your endeavers !!! Jessica Henry

    Reply
  18. I purchased what Darlene offered and she bascially copy infringed from other companies as I have purchased everything that is out there in this field. I am surprised she has not been sued yet by someone. By the way Eagle does tell you everything initially in a email as they will give you better customer support than Darlene as she is not a real company. She does not have a business license number or can be verified. Just a warning please watch out for people like Darlene who pretend to be a professional or licensed.

    Reply
  19. John,
    I will trade info on the third party tracer business. spike77y@aol.com

    Reply
  20. John,
    I am interested in judgment recovery. Can you give me some info? Email me officehelper77@aol.com

    Reply
  21. Hi,

    I have read some articles written by Darlene and your business sounds very interesting. I hope you do not mind if I ask you a few questions. It would appear that it would be very difficult to have people send you your fee upfront, especially in these hard economic times. Also do you use a power of attorney or do you have form 27050b send to the former homeowner and you just fill it out for them? Also you mentioned that you can obtain the listings for each state for free but I have not seen them anyplace.

    I am in the Judgment Recovery business and I would be happy to exchange information with you if that is something you are interested in. The skip trace part of it is very similar.

    I have done three or four HUD recoveries and I have two clients now who are due HUD funds but I am having a few small problems. The HUD is telling me that they will not accept a poa and the homeowner has to call for the form themselves. If I can use a poa and they send me the check directly that would make the process a lot easier. The clients I helped already have sent me my fee after they received their check.

    Any info. that you are willing to pass along would be greatly appreciated. In return if you want some information about the judgment recovery business please do not hesitate to contact me.

    Thank you

    John

    Reply
  22. Anyone a successful tracer yet? The link is no longer valid to purchase her material

    Reply
  23. Well what’s word? Anyone who purchased Darlene’s info are you making money at this yet? Any tips or tricks you might be willing to share? Just though I would see how it is working for everyone.

    Tammy

    Reply
  24. Chuck if you are referring to Darlene’s site there is one thing to consider, did you read the whole blog? from Jan 2008 to current and seen how many people, just in the blog Darlene has been trying to help for FREE with no other intent to offend anyone? now it gets a little demanding after a while and i would suspect that after a while it would pull you away from your focus which is YOU and YOUR FAMILY as you assist people with the same goals correct? so let it go….it’s simple if you wanna go out their and purchase a program from a company because of a fancy pay pal account rather then deal with the real deal, someone who did it as not only past thence but someone who is still doing it! you have two options? one is to do it!and the other is to forget about it….. problem solved bud, proof is in the pudding ( Read the BLOG )

    Reply
  25. Yes.. who are you referring to? Darlene’s site? I’ve tried that or what???

    Reply
  26. Yeah i’m kinda confused Chuck?

    Reply
  27. Chuck Holbrook says:

    Your website is not secure for purchases. I do not know if you knew this already or not but that is illegal. I suggest if you want to operate a real business you prove to us your a DBA or something. I assume you have no business license because your website is not professional at all which is illegal as well. You have no record on the BBB and are not members which I find very odd. Care to comment?

    Reply
    1. Who are you talking to exactly?

  28. Oh one more thing when i said dead give away i didn’t mean don’t misleading people i meant that the POA ussually or atleast from what i’ve been seeing discloses the HUD, that the US Treasury check would be sent to you ( Tracer ) unfavorable guy but would also need to be notarized meaning that your prospective client will have to do a drive to the bank or cedit union to have it notarized when? hmmmm good question, but they will also have the POA notarized to have their refund check forwarded to YOU ( Stranger ) over the phone ( if prospecting on a national level ) with HUD’s address on there? now who in their right mind would do that? how ar you gonna explain a “POWER OF ATTORNEY” without ruffling some feathers on this one? Total DEFENSE! i would be to….so that’s what i meant guys….i don’t wanna seem like you don’t wanna tell them anything or misleading them, that point was very important to me so now i’m out!

    Reply
  29. Hey Darlene,

    I appreciate your opportunity and that is something i need to do i have been doing tons of research re: HUD refunds and it is totally legit i have been just tryin to figur out how i would eliminate the POA, which i tottaly believe would be unneccessary unless people decide to do it on a national level. Currently i would like to do it locally and understand having the benifactors trust, i mean if someone is making $100 – $200 on one sitting and spending an hour with the client, just find more clients to sit down with. Trust is a big thing in my town (small) and everyone buy YOU and for that very reason i understand what you’re saying and have been dealing with clients in the same manner as you. I would need to start a supplimental income and have done tons of research in many of the courses and non seem to be a school of hard knocks such as what you’ve been writing on the blog and that is how i know you have been there and done that! that is why i would preffer to learn from YOU rather then be marketed by others who have no idea what they are talking about as they market their product, i believe you should know your product and you have something that i would like to learn about please send me info my email is ron_nfs12092@yahoo.com and for people that question on how to get paid using a POA one thing to consider is that the POA is your dead give away in all phases 1. Disclosing Dept of Housing and Urban Development to contact directly if you check out HUD’s website they specifically remind the benifactor that they don’t have to pay for tracer services but encourages them to do it themselves, through an automated bar to tyope out their info to find out how much they have coming to them as well as the step they need to take, not much steps, once they get a hold of the website or source for refund you lost a prospective client…..2. How will you convince your prospective client that you will have the check sent directly to you first, then you will send them the check? there is a flaw there an unneccessary step as Darlene had mentioned earlier in the blog, so the POA……i wouldn’t even think about it and that’s why Darlene mentions to work locally first to get a feel before going national and possibly using a pay pal account but i’ll cross that hurdle when that time comes…..just FYI guys i have been searching for a long time and feel that this is by far the best information i have seen then on any site on HUD refunds then on this blog from Darlene…..”school of hard knocks” so Darlene PLEASE i need your knowledge…..i need to make a supplimental income and have considered other things that i have thoroughly researched other freelance employment and nothing comes clsoe in allowing me to make my own time having the flexibility to do it anywhere anytime and it is totally LEGAL people can also go to the FAQ on the HUD website to see tracers are not favorable to them but is very LEGAL…..

    Reply
  30. Absolutely loved this! You told the complete truth and these scams are taking advantage of financially hurt and vulnerable people. I myself have spent over a year trying to find REAL work at home jobs and they are all bogus scams asking money for usless kits, programs, systems ans such to teach you nothing but to not give out money. I love the fact that you did the detective work and let the rest of us know. Any chance of you doing more detective work for other work at home scams and maybe finding out the legit ones as well? I know I have looked and can’t afford scams. Also, you mentioned a company that you got with to help you do the detective work for these sites, any chance you could let me know how to contact them. I would really like to help you and them in exposing these scam artists because I see people suffering everyday from these snakes and would love to be able to take them down so the legit ones do get to the people that desparately need them.

    Thanks

    Reply
    1. Thanks, Rachel. Click around a little. Our site is chock full of other reviews of both legitimate and scammy “opportunities.”

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