I’ve gotten so much feedback from my mortgage-related posts that I figured I’d post a little status update. I actually feel like my experience may be helping some of you or at least pointing you in the right direction, which is pretty cool because it makes me feel a little less like I’m wasting my time with this whole issue.

So the status is this: back on track for the short refinance. Quicken Loans ended up being much more intelligent than I initially thought. After about six phone calls, I managed to reach some super-efficient department in their company who processed all of my paperwork and had a conditional loan approval and a preliminary HUD-1 in my hands within three days. Sweet!

I thought the loan approval would be the downfall of this entire plan. It’s the paperwork that Wells Fargo was previously unable to provide. It turned out that Wells Fargo (and several other lenders that I contacted) were doing short refinances inside their own bank, but not outside the bank. Bummer for me, since my loan is serviced by a company that doesn’t write new loans.

Turns out, the trick to getting a conditional loan approval is this: they approve it conditionally for the new loan amount (the short payoff). What Wells was doing was trying to conditionally approve it for the current payoff amount, which left a huge chunk of money unaccounted for. Therefore, the underwriters couldn’t really approve it. Does that make sense?

What Quicken provided me with is a conditional loan approval with for a decreased amount of money (with a super low new interest rate), which I then forwarded on to LBPS in order to be reviewed for a short payoff. Unfortunately, LBPS can’t get their shit together, so they keep accidentally reassigning my account back and forth between Group 7 (their liquidations department) and Group 8 (their loss mitigation department). Group 7 handles short sales, short refinances and forclosures. Group 8 handles modifications (I believe HAMP, HARP, internal modifications and initial HAFA reviews).

So, as I write this, I’m back on hold with LBPS trying to get my account transferred back to the loan officer I was working with back in August. My biggest issue right now is that it’s pretty much impossible to get any representatives on the phone who understand what a short refinance is and how it works. I’ve been getting the run-around from these people for months, and they keep saying it’s because I’m current on my payments (which, coincidentally is a requirement to be approved for an FHA Short Payoff Refinance loan). Idiots.

If you’re trying to do anything like what I am, here’s my advice so far:

1. Be persistent. I’ve been trying to refinance my condo since late 2008. I didn’t discover the short refi option until August 2010, and I’ve been at it ever since.

2. Take good notes. Make a note of every single person you spoke with, their department, what they told you, and the date. If someone else tells you anything contrary to what that person said, refer them back to the notes on your account from the date and person you spoke with. I use Evernote to keep track of all my notes and documents related to this catasrophe.

3. Do your research. I spend about 20 minutes a day reading about mortgages, Fannie Mae and the options that are out there. I also read legal information about my rights as a borrower. I’ve spoken to several lawyers (free of charge), and I’ve also picked the brains of appraisers, brokers and real estate agents. The rules surrounding the federal programs change often, so I’m always looking for new information and new ammunition to light a fire under my mortgage company’s butt. I even had a 15-minute conversation with a guy who works for a company who changes locks when banks forclose on properties. That was interesting. Oh, and tonight I had to explain to a short sale officer how to read a HUD-1. So that was awesome, too.

4. Be assertive. Do not let a whole week go by without checking the status of your requests. Mortgage companies will tell you to fax things and check up seven to 10 days later. This is BS. Call three hours later to make sure they got it. And then call every day after that to see what they’re doing with it. Also, if there’s something specific you want noted on your account, ask the representative to type it in there verbatim and then read it back to you.

5. Get someone intelligent on the phone. Don’t waste your time talking to morons. When I call, I say, “Please review the notes on my account dated August 17, August 29, September 9, November 6, and December 17.” After they’ve read them, I say, “Can you briefly summarize what I’m trying to accomplish?” If they can’t, I thank them, hang up, and call back. I do this until I get someone who at least understand what’s going on, you know?

Anyway, I’ve had about enough for tonight. For some reason, my account is assigned to a woman in the wrong department who is in training all week and won’t be able to assign it back to Group 7 until next Monday. This is completely unacceptable, but I will deal with it tomorrow. I now have a fax number for LBPS that is completely dedicated to written correspondence. They’re required to answer any written request they receive in writing. That number is 877-371-7799, and I’m pretty much going to fax every single piece of documentation I’ve ever sent them to that number tomorrow.

Want to see the other contact info I have for them?

Main number: 866-570-5277
Fax imaging number (creates documents that are uploaded to your account in their system): 877-649-0723
Direct number for Group 7 (Loss Mitigation): 888-917-6004
Written request fax number: 877-371-7799
Rush fax number (not verified by me): 503-616-3604

That’s about it for now. Wish me luck.

This crazy trip has got me feelin’: over it
And I’m singin’ along to: Don’t Stop Believin’ – Journey

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