Q: As a potential first time home buyer, I have limited experience in real estate. I’ve been searching for options that might help me buy a house.

Recently, I was told of a “service” that charges $198 for you to browse their listing. You choose a house to view, then call an agent at their firm who takes you to the property.

Now the trickery begins. According to the company, the homeowner of the property I’m seeing is supposed to be on the brink of foreclosure, and wants to walk away from the situation. I’m supposed to be able to step in and take over their mortgage payment.

Is this legal?

A: It might be technically legal, but the site or company that you’re working with might be a scam. These so-called “listings” that you’re seeing may be real or they may also be fake.

There are people who have made a lot of money finding folks who are on the brink of foreclosure, can’t sell their properties and are looking for a way out. But if these deals were so good, you can bet that the owners of this website or company would have already swooped in and scooped them up.

My suggestion is to take a pass on this opportunity. As for taking over another person’s mortgage payment, that is often more difficult that it seems. In general, only FHA loans are assumable, provided that you can qualify for it, and there may be fees you’ll have to pay.

In some cases, if the loan on the home you are buying is already in foreclosure (i.e. the bank is in the process of getting title to the home to pay off the debt), the costs of foreclosure and other issues you might face may not make the purchase as attractive as you might think.

If your interest is to simply buy a home, you can view homes for sale for free at any number of sites, including www.Realtor.com. If you work with a buyer’s agent, he or she will be able to help you find an appropriate house.