September 14, 2011

From One Homeowner to Another: “Help is out there.”

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This post is also available in: Spanish

Our guest bloggers today are Phyllis Caldwell, Chief of Treasury’s Homeownership Preservation Office and Raphael Bostic, HUD Assistant Secretary for Policy Development and Research.

Foreclosure can have a devastating effect on families and communities. According to recent data, roughly one in 11 homeowners has missed two or more mortgage payments. As many Americans struggle with their mortgage payments and don’t know where to turn for help, the U.S. Department of the Treasury and the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) have joined forces with the Ad Council to launch a new phase of the Foreclosure Prevention Assistance Public Service Advertising (PSA) Campaign. Last year, media outlets across the country aired the first round of PSAs to increase the number of program participants. And this year, we have added new PSAs in both English and Spanish to encourage at-risk homeowners to call 888-995-HOPE to speak one-on-one with a HUD-approved housing expert to discuss the options that are available based on their individual circumstances.

One homeowner who did just that is Nina Carter of suburban Atlanta. After losing her job unexpectedly, Nina began having trouble making her mortgage payments on time. “I lost my job of over 30 years,” Nina recalls. “I got into some financial trouble, and got behind on my mortgage payments.” At first, Nina tried to contact her mortgage company, but found the process daunting and difficult and didn’t know what questions to ask. That’s when she sought assistance from a HUD-approved housing counselor by calling 888-995-HOPE. “I remember seeing a local advertisement for help with mortgage problems,” Nina said. “I decided to call to see what I could do to keep my home.”

Nina began working with Cassie Stanley, a HUD-approved housing counselor at NID-HCA Atlanta Metro. Cassie was able to help Nina apply for the Home Affordable Modification Program (HAMP) to begin making payments on a trial modification. Four months later, Nina was approved for a permanent modification, reducing her $947 mortgage payment to 31 percent of her gross monthly income, and saving over $230 every month. “I’m so very happy that NID assisted me. Cassie organized my paperwork, answered my questions, and had insight that helped me get through the process,” Nina said. “A lot of homeowners don’t know where to get help. Cassie got the ball rolling for me. I really appreciate that.”

Nearly a year later, Nina is still in her home and she is able to afford her monthly mortgage payments with the income she has now. “The modification gives me peace of mind,” Nina explained. “I don’t have to worry about staying in my home.”

Struggling homeowners should remember that they do not need to work through their concerns alone. When asked if she has any advice for other homeowners having trouble with their mortgage payments, Nina immediately said, “Call for assistance and don’t give up. Help is out there.”

Although it will take time for the housing market to recover fully, struggling homeowners have more options today than ever before to avoid foreclosure. The sooner a struggling homeowner takes action, the more options they usually have for the best possible outcome. To learn more about the campaign and free resources for homeowners at risk of foreclosure, visit MakingHomeAffordable.gov.

14 Responses to From One Homeowner to Another: “Help is out there.”

  1. I work in this field every day. For every success story there are 10 failures. I am a solo practitioner attorney and have saved 35+ homes. It has all but bankrupted me. The homeowners have no money. The lenders claim that they don’t have to pay for required legal fees. Without spending up to 2 years with HAMP mods, all but a few of the house I kept/recovered post-foreclosure for my clients, would be REO somewhere.

    There are stories like the one carried in the posting. But, please do not gloss over the systems failures

    Richard Isacoff

    • I have been in the system since Oct. 2010. I had to reapply in 2011. I am still waiting for this stress of waiting to get over with. By reapplying, I was very confused. I had a May 21,2011 deadline to get all my papers in and the next thing I knew my home was in Forclosure on May 13, 2011. The worst part was I had all my info to send for the 2nd time,which I carried in a backpack in my truck. Unfortantly my mother became ill, I took her to the hopital in Joplin, MO and the next day I was riding the EF 5 tornado and my truck was destroyed with my papers. Of course that was the last thing on my mind. Then I had to deal with a lot of issues and reinstated my info June 2011. My payments were denied and I found out in time to get my money back from money gram. June 19, 2011 I lost my mother.

      It is Sept 15th, 2011 and I am on my 4th person who is evaluating my application. I have accured more late fees, and the attorney fees. The forclosure is on hold. I called hope twice. They can councel, advise NO GUARANTEE.
      It seems I do not quality for HAMP, so they are looking for in house loan.

      Under the Mortgage Debt Relif Act 2007 Loan Modification
      The lender many reduce interest rate, extend term of loan,
      add miss payments to end of loan balance, and reduce the amout of money you owe on primary residence by forgiving or cancelling a portion of the mortgage debt.

      Even the forbarance allows them to reduce or suspend payments for a period of time.

      I met all qualification for HAMP, except my payment was and is 31% of my gross income. My loan had a ARM and the loss of income form child support and needing time to downsize my lifestyle. Also, my daughter, a college student had to get a job and quit college. Increased medical bills, I was diagnosed with cancer.

      What is a person to do. I can go on. I can not rent for what my house payment is. I am capable to pay the payments. I want the past due to be added to the balance of my loan and receive a good fixed interes rate.

      It sounds like easy math, but remember the government is doing it. I patiently wait and make my phone call a week to a different representative of this mortgage company.

    • I’ve worked in the field quite a bit as well. I certainly have seen HAMP mods, some of which have been very good for the borrower, but most of the time the system simply does not work. I’m not sure what the answer is, but HAMP does not fill it.

      Jared Richards,

  2. I applied for a modification and after 6 mos. of paperwork & waiting BofA said I can’t apply since deceased husband’s name is on note. I am living on life insurance $, can’t find work, support disabled son. Every agency I call says I can’t get help as I have no income. They won’t count the life ins. $. Been in my home 20yr. Cannot find help anywhere.

  3. Boy that really sounds funny, Bank of America told us, after almost two years and a foot and a half pile of paperwork, that we do not qualify, as we did not meet the 3 D’s required by Fanni Mae. Death, Divorce or Disability. We have income, they use any excuse in the book, as long as they can get away with it.

  4. Chase Mortgage has done everything to stall helping. First they told us they couldn’t consider us until we were behind in our mortgage. Then they for 6 months kept asking for the same information we kept submitting over and over. Though my wife’s name is the only name on the mortgage they insisted they must include both incomes, and used hers prior to forced retirement. Then after over 6 months told us we didn’t qualify! Now with all the “lates” on our credit we can’t apply for any refinancing, an auto loan or anything. They basicialy tanked us.

  5. We need a Gloria Alred or Shapiro to go after the banks for allowing bad loans in the first place.
    It’s a nightmare that we’re left with to big of a elephant to go after alone. Ready to join forces.
    Count me in.

  6. Me and my husband requested a loan modification from Chase bank in 12/2010. This was done thru naca, we were told to fax over paperwork, which has been done over and over again. My husband received an email from a Ms. Sheena Marie Franklin at Chase asking for Frank Dodd form. I refaxed the form several time. In April 2011, we received a letter in the mail from Chase which stated “our file was in review” it’s now September. The banks received money from the government to do nothing but keep in there vaults and play God with peoples lives. What has happen to our country. Everything is about the dollar. I have read the horrible story from other homeowners with regards to CHASE giving them a 3 month trial modification then coming up with some excuse to default on there end of the deal. At this point I ready to pack my bags and leave the US. The rich get richer, the poor get poorer and nobody care.

  7. My sister is trying to prevent a default, for more than one year she has been trying to get a modification, she never had late, the mortgage is current, but Chase doesn’t want help to her. She is a doctor and she lost one of her jobs, and she is making a big effort to keep her house.
    She is requesting for at least fix payment, although paying the same amount, but the mortgage is variable and the top is 9%
    But the answer from Chase was you can make a “Deed and Liue” or a “Short Sale”. Incredible!!! They doesn’t understand that she want to keep her house!!
    After that, she decided pay untill she can, and when she can not afford the payment anymore, she will lose the house.
    Which is the help that the banks giving to homeowners?
    a person who always has paid correctly, and requested for a modification, and asked for a modification to prevent falling into arrears.

  8. In the spring (March or April 2011) Our son who is 26, divorced, and trying to get back on his feet after all that and some job changes in the previous years, was approved for a loan to purchase a small HUD repo in Cave City, AR, on School St. It was priced $43000 I believe. He offered $37000 and the realtors told him to hurry and get his $500 earnest money to HUD immediately. So he did, and then we went back to the house and he and his dad crawled under it, found rotten joists, crudely, and inadequately mended but not fixed, boards nailed up to the supports, some not even joining. He immediately called the realtor, and a day or two later he joined him to take photos to send in to try to get his earnest money back, since the contract says within 15 days if he can find a problem he would get the earnest money back. We were all just sick about it. This was a cute little 2 bedroom house, but it was a very old house remodeled, and moved to the site, and the floors were unstable, wobbled in places, and not level at all. A lot of moisture was under the house. The realtor said he found even more problems. Now our son has not yet gotten the earnest money back, the bank won’t be loaning him the money for this, but HUD just doesn’t care! My problem is, with all the concern for people needing housing, with the stress on being independent and getting a job, and paying your taxes, and being a good citizen, why does a government entity like HUD want to unfairly keep a young person’s money. This is so unjust, and just downright wrong! A month or so later, we saw the house pictured in the ads, price reduced to lower $30000’s! Hope the next sucker looks underneath and doesn’t send HUD a dime!

  9. I started experiencing financial hardships about 3 years go due to health reasons, reduced job hours and other problems. About 4 years ago I applied for a refinance with cash out to lower the mortgage interest rate and to pay for major repairs on my home and other accrued debts. I have an autistic child who I couldn’t place in daycare and I began having renal problems. I was laid off from my job and having difficulty making my mortgage along with the escrow payments. Property taxes continued to rise. I had applied for a loan modification with my mortgage company who kept requesting documents I sent, but who eventually denied my application claiming I had not sent the requested documentation by the deadlines. I gave up until I found out about a publicized NACA event where I went to apply for a loan modification. I arrived at 8:00a.m., attended the NACA orientation, received phone counseling developing a budget sheet and received a written/typed recommendation for “Restructure”. I waited 5 more hours to see a Bank of America Servicer and Manager who told me there was a state law preventing me from getting a home loan restructure or modification due to a refinance with cash out I received a about a couple of years prior. I was referred to a “Investor Relationship Coordinator” who also told me there was a state law which prevents home owners from getting a home loan modification or restructure who have prior refinance with cash out loans even if they qualify for a loan modification due to the “loan repayment amount exceeding 31% of the total gross income of the homeowner” and “Hardship Factors.” My application with Hardship letter was then referred to a Fannie Mae Representative and I was told me it would be several days before they contacted me with an answer because Fannie Mae’s legal team had to review it. I had started crying while I was with the Bank of America Servicer, continued crying while I was with the Investor Relationship Coordinator and cried all the way home.
    I am still trying to find out abut the state law the Bank of America Servicer and Investor Relationship Coordinator mentioned, but haven’t found the Statute or Law. Could someone refer me to the state law or statute the Bank of America Servicer and Investor Relationship Coordinator referred to? It seemed that when I would ask questions some of the staff would get angry and if I asked for the name of staff I was speaking with who weren’t wearing name tags so I could keep their name for future reference I encountered alot of resistance.
    In addition, at the NACA event some participants who successfully received loan modifications and/or restructuring would give testimonials on a stage while other participants/applicants were moving through the NACA process. A man gave a testimonial that NACA was able to save him almost $5,000.00 a month on his mortgage. Some of the NACA participants/applicants asked about the man who saved almost $5,000.00 a month on his mortgage NACA and Bank of America staff replied, “They do not discriminate against the rich.”
    If there is a law in Texas preventing home owners with a history of refinance with cash out from getting a home loan modification where is it?

    • i applied for a home modification with wells fargo and they added 18000dollars for fees i have not sent papers back and they set a new forecloser date for november 3rd 2011 dont no what to do please help thanks Danny

  10. I was in a HAMP program from November 2009 thru 2011. I made 9 trial payments and from August 2010 until May 2011 I was under review. I received Approval for final modification under Making Homes Affordable Hamp Program, so I am Bank of America and Approved for hamp, but payment is above 31% gross income. I was just told there are tiers in the payment structure can someone tell me where this tier structure came from? I was told those who have income 2,999 and over is actually 34.5% of gross income not 31%. Plus because it took bank of America 2 years I had 18k added to principal. Please advise where I can go to get this reviewed. I was told not to sign documents on 5-26-11 was waiting for revised documents until 9-17-11 then I had a foreclosure sell date of 10-20-11 and bank of america stated the documents were correct (even though I know they are not correct- income wrong and % percent of gross wrong) and if I didnt want forecloser I had to sign under duress.

    What Do I do know. I have made it very clear to BOA that I dont agree with the figures in the documents. They will not provide me additional information. Please help

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