Saturday, March 12, 2011

Settlement Considerations

There are many factors to consider when settling with your mortgage company.  What is in your best interest?  If you don't plan on staying in your home for more than five years it is important to find out your property -- and market -- values.  It would not be in your best interest to keep your home if you plan on selling; yet, your mortgage is higher than your home's value.  For example:  in my neighborhood there were eight homes lost to foreclosure which dramatically decreased home values.  One previously valued $135K home sold at Sheriff's Sale for a scant $41K!  And, though that is the lowest sale price, it is indicative of the disparity in worth vs market value in my neighborhood.

What to do?  Have an independent appraisal done on your home to assist in decision making.  If your home is valued far lower than the mortgage balance, keep and/or sell everything that is of value within the home [appliances, etc], then turn the home over to your mortgage company and accept a cash settlement, instead.  Considering that you've reached the point of foreclosure, it's unlikely your credit is good anyway, so turning your house over to the mortgage company during a settlement proceeding should not affect you greatly.  Note that I say, "should not."  Any time you give up the rights to a home or vehicle it will affect your credit in some way.  But, in the case of settlement, you would have the option of including a consumer statement on your credit report with an explanation of the settlement.  Consumer statements generally do hold some weight with creditors.

On the other hand, if you know that you are going to be staying in your home for more than five years -- and your home valuation is reasonable -- it may behoove you to request a low interest, fixed rate mortgage and a cash settlement.  Don't be unreasonable with regards to cash settlements.  It doesn't help you in the least and will appear to the courts as if you were only seeking financial gain in the first place.  Instead, focus upon what's best for your future -- eliminating the penalties and fees accrued on your account, and the low interest/fixed rate mortgage over X number of years.  It is not unreasonable to request that the mortgage company fund your escrow for X number of years, either.

Finally, consult with your lawyer but, before doing so, be sure to know FOR SURE what you want out of your settlement for there is no going back once you sign the papers [unless, of course, you include a right of rescission clause!].

Monday, November 22, 2010


I WON MY CASE!!!!!  It's time to talk settlement :D  HUD is handling the talks with my initial input.  Then, it's off to state and federal courts for the other cases.

Have heart, everyone.  It may take time, but it does happen!

Monday, August 16, 2010


Haven't heard from HUD since the investigator came to pick up my binder.  He did say that he is working on a few different cases and that he needed to speak with a few people from Nationstar, including the woman who made the inflammatory comment that I couldn't make my house payment on disability income [which was bs since I'd been making more than double the amount for three years prior on disability income]!

I am utterly burned out by this case and all that surrounds it.  I keep paying my payment every month and am flabbergasted that Nationstar has STILL not provided me with a closing statement, nor have they provided me with any type of completed, corrected documents.  They have not called me and any calls to them are not returned.

I soooooo enjoy big business and, even more, people who blame the current administration for the foreclosure crisis' continuing problem.  Really?  Are their eyes closed?  I wish my blog was read by more people but, even more, that the information contained within was more readily available and more publicized.  But, historically, the banking industry has controlled much of everything in the world, including wars.

Hopeful that this will all be over soon. I'm ready for peace.

Sunday, July 25, 2010

This is a site full of info on how to protect yourself from fraud, news regarding those arrested and/or convicted of fraud, forms to report fraud, and more.  Take a look around and see what this site has for you!

Countrywide's Foreclosure Scam: It's Not the Only Lender Ripping Off Homeowners

By Alain Sherter | Jun 8, 2010

Bank of America’s (BAC) move to settle federal charges that its Countrywide unit gouged homeowners facing foreclosure should mark the beginning, not the end, of a full-blown government crackdown on mortgage lenders. That’s because the practices Countrywide is accused of — which range from raising the cost of property inspections, to lying to borrowers about how much they owed, to charging $300 to mow the lawn — are endemic among loan servicers.

“The Countrywide settlement exposes a widespread and longstanding industry practice,” Diane Thompson, an attorney with the National Consumer Law Center, told me in an email message. “The settlement offers some real hope of reining in the worst abuses in bankruptcy court — by requiring Countrywide to verify the amount owed and make sure they are charging reasonable rates — and should help reaffirm what is, I believe, already the law: You can’t put people in foreclosure who aren’t in default, and you shouldn’t overcharge homeowners in default for bogus servicers.”
Homeowners’ chief complaints in trying to stave off foreclosure run the gamut:

  • Charging fees for services not performed, or fines not actually due. Sometimes, lenders make extra cash by charging imaginary fees that are totally unwarranted. Mortgage documents and mathematical calculations can be complicated, so many consumers are unable to figure out when they’re being bilked. At the mercy of mortgage companies, they often overpay, even while facing foreclosure and bankruptcy.
  • Overstating the balance owed on a home loan. University research into recent foreclosure data found that almost half of the loans analyzed in the study included inflated balances or vague, unspecified charges. In more than 90 percent of the cases, homeowners disagreed with mortgage company calculations, believing that they were both inaccurate and too high.
  • Accumulating various fees or charges that are intentionally erroneous. Most of the fees mentioned in the study were relatively small, but they added up to gigantic amounts of extra profit for those companies who collect them. If a lender has, for example, 200,000 customers across the U.S. and overcharges each of them by $100, it adds up to additional revenue of $20 million — for basically doing nothing.
  • Failing to follow basic industry regulations. Investigators have found that some mortgage lenders are so negligent or sloppy, they don’t even comply with the most fundamental rules and regulations. A lender is required, for example, to show documented proof that they’re the actual mortgage holder before attempting to collect payments from a homeowner.
  • B of A will pay $108 million to settle the FTC suit, without admitting any fault. That’s a fairly trivial penalty given the scale of the offense.        “The size of the judgment is justified in light of Countrywide’s callous conduct, which took advantage of consumers         already at the end of their financial rope,” FTC Chairman Jon Leibowitz said.
Despite the small fine, however, the agreement gives regulators leverage to identify similar violations at other lenders and servicers. And Countrywide isn’t an aberration. In February, just to cite one example, customers of OneWest Bank (aka IndyMac) sued the California company for allegedly pushing them into foreclosure by illegally raising their mortgage payments after they’d declared bankruptcy.
As the FTC noted in announcing the settlement, it files such complaints when it has “reason to believe” that the law is being broken. That’s a fairly low legal standard for pursuing a case, since a court doesn’t need to find a lender guilty of anything to stop it from cheating borrowers. And yet such orders have the full force of law of behind them.
To their credit, the feds have launched a task force — — aimed at rooting out predatory lending, foreclosure scams and other crimes. They also created a unit within the Justice Department to promote fair lending. Some states are also moving to protect homeowners. California lawmakers have proposed a bill that prohibits lenders and loan servicers from foreclosing until after a borrower has been rejected for loan modification.
The problem is the magnitude of the crisis, which dwarfs the government’s response. Although foreclosures appear to have plateaued, the number of borrowers at risk of losing their homes remains at levels unseen since the Great Depression — in April, one out of every 387 U.S. housing units received a foreclosure filing, while banks repossessed more than 92,000 properties. A related issue is that lenders still routinely ignore federal guidelines for people seeking mortgage relief under the government’s flagship Home Affordable Modification Program. Nearly 40,000 borrowers complained about loan servicers failing to comply with HAMP, according to a recent report.
Meanwhile, the Countrywide settlement covers a whopping 200,000 customers. The obvious question: How many additional homeowners are getting ripped off by other lenders?

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Consistency and Follow-Through

Sunday I worked through the night on my binder.  I am supposed to get together with the HUD investigator sometime this week and hand it off to him and I want to assure that the binder is pristine.  Quite frankly, despite the fact that I know that it is well-prepared, I am stressed out.  What made it worse was that someone close to me was browsing through the binder while I was printing some supporting documents and began peppering me with questions.  I don't know if the person is just slow or I wasn't making myself clear but then, how difficult is it to comprehend the following:  "I have not yet received the corrected loan modification documents."  "I didn't just stop making payments to GMAC.  I had a true hardship and made attempts to make a partial payment for one month but was refused.  The next month GMAC refused, and then the next month.  After three months of missed payments, I received a notice of foreclosure." ?  So, all day I have been more and more stressed and, now, am working on my second all-nighter in a row. Thankfully, I know that, despite my stress level, my past actions of consistency and follow-through will tide me over until I'm feeling normal again. 

There is a difference between consistency and follow-through, in case you're scratching your head in wonder.  Documenting your calls and placing your paperwork in a binder on a regular basis is consistency.  Follow-through is making that phone call tomorrow to the loan servicer or escrow account manager; leaving a message if need be, and then calling again the next day if they don't return your call.


  • grab a pencil and paper
  • draw a line down the middle
    • consistency/follow-through
  • list the things in your life that you do well under each [are you a promise keeper? that is follow-through!] 
  • on the other side of the paper, make the same columns
  • list ONE or TWO things that you would like to improve upon in your life
  • keep that list with you and/or in a place where you can see it every morning before you start your day [bathroom mirror is great!]
Give yourself some positive reinforcement.  This is a difficult time in your life!  The self-assessment of your positives is your daily "pat on the back."  The second list is a reminder to yourself that you have a goal.  Soon, although you won't actually have that piece of paper in front of you 24/7, your subconscious will be processing your goal and devising ways to help you reach it.

Peace, all.