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And Then You Lose Your Home…

By Martie Hevia | Blue Beach Song™

NOTE: I wrote this over a year ago, back in June 2009, right after we received a rejection letter from Bank of America to our formal written request for a home loan modification. At the time, I decided not to post it on my blog because it seemed too depressing for anyone to read, and publishing it would have made it too real for me. I needed time to process it in my own mind and to come up with a game-plan.

The game-plan became simply to not give up, to talk about it, to write emails and letters to everyone I could find at BofA, and to not be shamed into being quiet and walking away. To paraphrase Dylan Thomas, I will not go quietly into that good night… mare! Little did I know it was just the beginning.

My posts, Bank of America Nightmare… Updates Journal and Bank of America Nightmare… Wake Me Up! both deal with what happened after that rejection letter. My post, Families Living On The Edge of Homelessness, deals with the issue of foreclosures and the ever-increasing problem of middle-class homelessness in today’s economy. -Martie

…And then you lose your home. It could be a punch line to a bad joke, but the prospect of losing one’s home hangs over millions of us, who live paycheck-to-paycheck. An illness, an injury, a layoff, a natural disaster, an accident, or a corrupt financial manager and you could be weeks or months from a foreclosure.

Foreclosure, it sounds like a medical procedure, a minor medical procedure, but it must feel like a robbery. “This won’t hurt a bit. Now, step away from the table, leave the keys, and walk away from your home. And, thank you for doing business with us.”

That is the prospect looming over us upon receiving a letter last week from Bank of America informing us that our request for a home loan modification under Obama’s Home Retention program was turned down. The reason given? Insufficient income. Well, isn’t that funny, because insufficient income is exactly why we applied for a loan modification!

No proposals were offered. (We could do this, if you could do that.) No suggestions or advice, other than to say that if we don’t continue to make the mortgage payments, foreclosure proceedings will begin. No phone number or person to call in case we had any questions.

The letter showed no compassion, it was cold and impersonal, addressed to “Dear Customer” and signed by “Loss Mitigation Department.” No one’s name was given to whom we could address a myriad of questions and concerns we might have. They clearly wanted to make it as difficult and degrading and confusing as possible.

Why exactly were we turned down?

Can we appeal or re-apply? How can we save our home? What do we do next?

Are we going to be homeless?

Martie Hevia © 2010 | All Rights Reserved

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2 Comments leave one →
  1. missdisplaced permalink
    2010-October-8 1:07 PM

    TRY AGAIN! You know BofA has halted foreclosures in all 50 states right now, so at the very least you may have some time.

    Re-Apply for the Making Home Affordable again. I know it’s a pain in the ass, but anything is worth a shot if you really want to stay there. Also go to the Consumer Credit Counseling Agency and make an appointment with a home retention counselor. I had to do this, and she was very helpful in dealing with BofA. And it is free.

    I also wrote to:

    Ms. Phyllis Caldwell
    Homeownership Preservation Office
    US Dept. of the Treasury
    1500 Pennsylvania Ave.
    Washington DC 20220

    After I wrote to her, my Modification went on the fast track and I was assigned a negotiator (the same real person) to keep things moving. It took almost 3 years, but my final Modification finally went through last month! This lowered by total monthly from $1700 to about $1000.

    It is worth it to keep trying if you think you can keep the house with a reduction in the payment. I am still unemployed, so that didn’t seem to affect the outcome of the Mod. Beware though that there is a ton of paperwork and keeping track of everything. Just after the Mod went through, the servicing department filed and Act 91 on me! Of course I had all the paperwork, but I basically had to “prove” that one of their other divisions screwed up and I had in fact made my Trial Payments on time as agreed. Got into a phone fight with a snotty operator too.

    Keep trying if you think it’s the best thing for you. Remember though, at this point you might be better off to walk away. Everyone’s situation is different. Good Luck!

    • 2010-October-8 1:48 PM

      Thank you so much for sharing your advice and wisdom from your experience. I actually wrote this post more than a year ago. BofA claims (to us) that they do not have anything to do with the Obama Home Modification program, but we managed to get a home loan modification on our big/main loan… the problem is that BofA has lost it, not processed it, not sent it to their other departments who need that information, and on and on with excuses. But giving up is not an option. Thank you for all the suggestions. We will definitely follow up with them. Best of luck with finding a great job. All the best, -Martie

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