Hope for Homeowners Stories of Inspiration Series
By: Anna Cuevas
Wadet is a single mother of 3 beautiful girls. When Wadet purchased her home during the housing boom she was full of pride and joy for becoming a first time homebuyer. She didn’t buy more than she could afford at the time. Wadet knew about being a wife, being a mother and working hard and she trusted the professionals to guide her through the loan process she didn’t necessarily understand how it all worked and what type of loan she was getting. I know we all have to be responsible for our actions and for what we take on but these people thought they understood and they were convinced that they were getting certain terms, they trusted the professionals, to their own fault.
Wadet was newly married, her housekeeping business was going great because along with the boom came a surplus of work for housekeepers and the economy was thriving with extra money being spent on housekeeping by people making money during this time. Wadet bought her home knowing she could afford it and she even had a little nest egg saved up for an emergency.
What Wadet didn’t know is that she would later become a victim of domestic abuse, followed by a downturn in the economy, a pending divorce and no child support for her 3 children. Who knew that her clients would also lose their jobs, income and homes. Who knew that she would not be able to count on her husband for financial support, who knew that people would start cutting back and clean their own homes. Who knew that she would be unable to make her payment. This is exactly what happened.
Wadet immediately asked her parents to move in with her and help her pay the mortgage but soon the rate adjusted as she had an adjustable mortgage and she found herself drowning and not being able to make the higher payment.
Unfortunately, since many people are suffering through this crisis there are unscrupulous people who prey on these people that don’t understand the system, they didn’t understand it going into the loan and they don’t understand how to save their home, how to talk to their lender, what to say, or what to do. A realtor involved with her church advised her that the ONLY thing she should and could do was to sell her modest townhome short sale. Did the realtor ask her what she really wanted? NO, she told her that was all that she could do, this seems to go on a lot these days and this self serving activity is wrong. People should do what is in the best interest of others and consider their wishes not their own greedy self serving interests. But thats just me, who am I to judge the actions of others.
Since Wadet is not professional in real estate or in many other complicated financial matters there is much difficulty, not only to her but to the average person in trying to navigate this process and she believed and trusted this realtor and allowed her and put her house up for sale. Never once did she ask Wadet whether or not she wanted to try to fight for her home. Who’s interest is being served here? The realtor even showed up with a moving van without consulting with Wadet and told her she was moving her out because her house would show better and may sell faster with her out of it, can you believe this?
Wadet never really wanted to lose her home or sell it but she thought that was her ONLY option. Lucky for me I met Wadet and my life has been touched by her beautiful heart and that of her parents and children, my life will never be the same and neither will hers. We sat down and I found out that she wanted to keep her home and we began to compile her hardship letter, her income, her parents income and expenses. Her Trustee Sale was in 2 days so we had to hurry. Postponing the sale was the #1 priority. I contacted the lender and advised them that we were going to fight to save the home and that we would be submitting an application for a loan modification. After more than 5 phone calls, and several hours of work we accomplished the task of postponing the sale. Now we could work the numbers correctly and piece together an organized package for the lender. We followed the protocol suggested by the lender and sent in the request. Once the package was submitted we kept contacting the lender on a schedule of approximately 2 times per week and kept a close eye on the sale date to make sure no mistakes were made. We set up alerts and reminders to make sure the sale was postponed during the process that can usually take months to complete. I reassured Wadet who was very nervous in the beginning of the process but soon realized I was on her side and what mattered to her mattered to me. I treated this case, like I do all others, giving it everything I’ve got, not succeeding is NOT an option. Soon Wadet no longer was under stress because she saw that there was no doubt in my mind that we would get her loan modified. The process is not easy and it does not happen overnight but much like everything in life, nothing good comes easy. Everything good takes effort, faith, belief and determination, including the loan modification process.
I would love to say that the loan modification was approved the first time, but this was not the reality and you yourself may be going through this right now, so you may know that this is the way it is, unfortunately, most banks don’t make this loan modification process easy. To their defense, most lenders were not prepared for the growing numbers of foreclosures and loan modifications that they would need to process internally they have had to hire new people that may or may not know the guidelines themselves and the workload is large for each employees which in turn builds internal stress on their part, not to mention emotional, scared and many times mad homeowners calling all day. The key is to keep pushing. Question everything.
No matter what they throw your way negative or positive you must remain calm, positive and have an attitude of gratitude. Send your positive blessings to everyone you you meet and if you don’t get the answers you need from a particular person, call back or escalate to a supervisor all the while keeping your inner peace and positive energy. Be prepared and have the right expectations because if you are prepared for it, somehow, it makes it just a little less frustrating. You are not alone in this.
I kept my course, worked with Wadet to lower some expenses and find ways to increase her income. Once that was accomplished we resubmitted her loan modification request. Unfortunately we did not get the answers that we wanted. The income and expense numbers that the loss mitigation department wanted to be able to approve the loan modification request were not the correct numbers so we kept going and we fought it and fought it and kept track of our sale date and got it postponed and guess what, she was able to increase her income by asking her parents to move in with her family and we got the modification. It was not quite what we needed and the numbers were tight. She could manage it but we were exactly at the max she could make. She accepted the loan modification and at this time there were no government programs available.
I’d like to say she lived happily ever after but unfortunately and fortunately not the end of the story. 6 months into the new payment they readjusted her impounds for her property taxes, they had promised to spread the back taxes over 5 years and then all of a sudden came back and only did it over 12 month and her payment shot up just as high as the pre-modification, this is one reason why people were redefaulting on their mortgagees.
I told Wadet that I would go back and work with her lender again to make sure they gave her an affordable payment but Wadet was influenced by all people telling her to go see a loan modification attorney getting promises of a possible loan cancellation or principal forgiveness but he wanted to charge her thousands of dollars and in the end was still only going to process a regular loan modification and not the legal action for the predatory, high interest rate adjustable loan she was put into that she thought she was hiring them for. When she found out that they were never going to litigate her case she cancelled and came back to me for help, this time with the help of the HAMP program.
We went back to the lender and contacted the Home Preservation department along with management, resubmitted the full HAMP application and accomplished our goals.
We were able to get her a permanent modification from $2982.57 that did not include her taxes and insurance to $1,558.31 including her taxes and insurance along with other great term changes for her, including adding her past due payments to the end of her loan and not having to bring all of this money in order to save her home. Mission accomplished. Wadet is very happy this is something that is manageable for her and her family.
It is not easy to stay positive and determined when you are going through this process, it is certainly nerve wrecking while you are going through it and especially if you are getting bad advice from people that don’t always have your best interest at heart and many times only confuse you more and emotions get in the way with fear leading your every action but you MUST find a way to believe that you are going to get it done and then set out to make it happen no matter what obstacle gets in your way, including denials and unexpected changes that life throws your way. By the time we had our final approval new programs became available. Everything happens for a reason and in this case every event and time delay that occurred led to the final perfect outcome. Wadet and her family are still in their home and able to make the affordable payment that she obtained through her Home Affordable Modification Program approval. It is vital for you to be empowered with the information to take the guesswork out of the HAMP process, this will give you the confidence you need to be able to sleep better at night and have stress free days.
There are several morals I see in this story. The ones that stick out for me are that it takes time for Gods perfect plan to unfold and ALWAYS do the right thing. Keep the faith, expect ONLY Miracles, question authority and don’t give up.
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