Foreclosure Woes

If your mortgage is at a very large bank, you have made a mistake! Trying to work out a solution to your deficiency is very complicated and the service is lousy. Your foreclosure woes have begun!

A friend was delinquent with her mortgage payments. She had owned her property for 37 years. The bank filed the papers to put the property in receivership (foreclosure action) to the bank. The friend immediately phoned the bank to see if there was anything she could do. She worked out a plan with the bank to reduce her payments and followed through for 13 months of on-time, full, adjusted payments. When she attempted to make the 14th payment, the bank returned it.

One day, she received a notice that her home was scheduled for a “Sheriff’s Sale.” Puzzled by the notice, she immediately phoned the bank and was told that they did not need to file any more legal papers, since they had previously filed the necessary papers (before she made the arrangements) and the application for Obama mortgage assistance had been rejected. What this means is that the deficit, the difference between payments under existing mortgage and the adjusted payments while the Obama mortgage assistance modification application was awaiting approval or rejection, was due in full when the application was rejected. Example: Payment under existing mortgage, $1100; payment under Obama mortgage assistance, $700. Rejection would mean $400 X 13 or $5,200 would be due immediately and there could be fees attached. During the 13 months, no statement showing her account was ever provided by the bank. She was advised that when a mortgage is in default, the bank has no legal obligation to provide a statement of the account.

The bank purchased the property at the “Sheriff’s Sale”. Did you know that following a “Sheriff’s Sale” and confirmation of the sale, the bank (buyer) only must give you 48 hours to vacate? Furthermore, you will have all these strangers entering your property to complete various tasks on behalf of the lender/buyer (the bank).

People all around me are losing their homes due to foreclosure. It is almost a repeat of the Great Depression. The exception is that in the Great Depression, saved money placed with banks was also lost. Today, bank accounts are insured by the FDIC.

What brought this dilemma on? My thoughts on this are that credit was “too easy”! On the lender side, banks and mortgage companies were willing to be liable for too much mortgage. On the buyer side, a lack of concern and understanding of how much debt was being taken on. No one planned on losing a job or other circumstances, not being able to meet those mortgage payments. You always want the lowest payment possible at the lowest interest rate. I personally experienced this. When times are tough, you need to work closely with your lender. In 1946, a family member, who owned with a mortgage loan, sometimes only made the interest payment of the mortgage due to hardship. They did not lose their property but many years later, paid it off. Could this be a solution to the present day foreclosure woes?

The Obama Making Home Affordable program (loan modification program) is a complete disaster. Those who really need the help are not getting it. A recent conversation with my banker revealed the seminars attended by the financial employees of mortgage lending institutions left them with a big blank trying to understand what the heck it is supposed to do. The mortgage lending firms are less than helpful to the customers who have or will be very shortly losing their homes. One application was returned reject because the owner’s income was too low. Isn’t that what a loan modification should be considering when reviewing need? Very few people have been approved under the Making Home Affordable program.

If you are having a problem making your mortgage loan payments, the best thing you can do is visit your lender in person and suggest that maybe you could just pay the interest on the loan for a period of time.

Obviously, not being able to pay your mortgage payment is a very serious situation and should be avoided at all costs, even to the point of putting the property up for sale. You will not see a penny of your equity should you allow your lender to foreclose. It is also very important that your mortgage lender is local.