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mortgage

Do Over

By back to renting, birthdays, condo, hazards to my well-being, milestones, mortgage, music 2 Comments

This time last year, I was freaking out a little about turning 30. Luckily, I kicked off my fourth decade with two fabulous birthday parties, friends, family, and lots of fun. As my 30th birthday weekend drew to a close, I was sure that it going to be a great year. We kicked off the summer with a Jimmy Buffett concert and a Memorial Day weekend full of so many Orange Crushes, I don’t really remember much of it. June came in with Hurricanes and went out with Pina Coladas on the patio at Mahi Mah’s. It was all fun and games until July teased me with a few perfect beach days, then bowled me over with a tidal wave of stress, legal research, and difficult decisions to be made. Between a condo association in a financial mess, a leaky roof, a broken air conditioner, a bunch of foreclosures in my building, a bankrupt co-borrower, a ridiculously high interest rate, and a completely inflexible mortgage company, I really just wanted to get out of there for good. It was a lengthy, expensive trek into August, and then September came with long, hectic work days and hot, un-air-conditioned nights packing and getting ready to move.

October was supposed to be my month to relax, but RFP after RFP bombarded me work, meaning more long hours, lots of proposals, lots of meetings, lots of stress. I tried to plan a vacation in November, but the due dates for my proposals got extended and screwed it up. I tried to plan a vacation in December, but the due dates for my proposals got extended and screwed it up. I tried to take a whole week off at Christmas to spend time with my family, but the due dates for my proposals got extended and screwed it up.

January was a blur. I couldn’t even remember the last time I hung out with any of my friends because I was so stressed out, I didn’t even want to talk to anyone.  I think we finally turned in the last big proposal in the middle of the month. Then came the day I didn’t own my condo anymore. If I could have popped open a bottle of champagne that morning at work to celebrate, I would have. Instead, I purposely started my business that very same day. I laid low for awhile after that.

A few days ago, it occurred to me that all that stress is over. I caught myself smiling one morning when I woke up for no reason, and I finally gave myself some credit for making it through seven straight months of craziness without having some kind of nervous breakdown. =) Of course, it’s taken me a cool two months to really decompress — I’ve caught up on my sleep, started running again, gotten my little business off the ground, and taken some time out to relax.

So now that chapter’s ended, and here we are again. A few days before my birthday, and I’m ready for a do-over. Bring it on, 31. This is going to be fun. =)

Where Was I?

By back to renting, condo, milestones, mortgage No Comments

thiswaytothebeach

Well, it’s taken me seven years, four moves, and evasive legal action, but I finally live close enough to walk to the beach. I haven’t actually walked there yet, but I can, and that’s what really matters, right?

But before that. What happened before that? There were a few things, but nothing that I found quite humorous enough to post here, I can tell you that.

Maybe someday I’ll overcome my inner controversy and tell the story here, but for now, all I can say is this — I’m giving the condo back to the mortgage company. Not to be flippant about it or anything, but seriously? I tried a hundred times to rectify the situation and things there had deteriorated to the point where it was no longer worth staying. With a co-borrower who bailed and a mortgage that was twice as expensive as I could have paid to rent the (nicer) condo next door, it was time to go. Judge me if you want to, but my roommate and I are now living in a lovely place, almost twice the size, for much less money with functioning heat and air conditioning, a washer that actually cleans clothes, a dishwasher that actually cleans dishes, no mortgage, no drug dealer neighbors, and NO CONDO ASSOCIATION.

And what did I lose? Not much. My 802 credit score, probably. And maybe the respect of a handful of people who have no clue what they’re talking about. But other than that…I can’t think of anything else except for maybe the lovely Asparagus color of my old bedroom walls.

Anyway, the only reason I’m posting this is because every time I try to write in this blog, my first instinct is to close one chapter before I begin another. So, the war with the mortgage company chapter ends like this:

Just like I said, they’ll end up with 1,010 square feet of carpet that needs to be replaced. And due to the fact that the complex is riddled with bank-owned properties, they’ll be lucky if they can sell it for half what I owe on it. They already made their money back in interest though, so I don’t feel too bad. And me? I’ll live here in this beachy townhouse for a little while, and I’ll love every second of it. =)

Motionless

By mortgage, roommates 2 Comments

I found a new roommate. He seems really nice. What happened to the days when finding a new roommate brought nothing but the excitement and anticipation of making a new friend? This time it just feels like at least I can take a six-month break from calling my mortgage company.

I do hope he likes it here though. Like I said, he seems really nice. I’m lucky to have found someone so quickly.

Here’s to new friends.

This crazy trip has got me feelin’: nostalgic
And I’m singin’ along to: The World Spins Madly On – The Weepies

LBPS Strikes a New Low

By condo, conversations, drama, financial wisdom, hazards to my well-being, mortgage, not ruling at life, top notch communication blunders, you might learn something 8 Comments

Today, my mortgage company (IBM LBPS) really blew themselves out of the water. As you may know, a few months ago, I was working with them to try and negotiate a short refinance. To make a long story short, that was an epic failure. After four months of LBPS giving me the run-around and other lenders telling me they could approve me but not give me the proper documentation to show it, I’ve pretty much given up hope on the short refinance. I think what sealed the deal was this chat conversation that I had with Quicken Loans (LBPS’ recommended refinance experts!) last week:

Thank you for inquiring with Quicken Loans, we’re America’s #1 online lender and do business in all 50 states! Please hold while we connect you with the best suited Mortgage Expert.
You have been connected to James Springer.
James S.: Hello Lisa. How can I help you today?
Lisa: Hi, James. I have a current mortgage with IBM LBPS, and they recommended me to Quicken Loans. I am trying to work out a refinance with an FHA Short Refinance loan — do you have any loan officers that specialize in these short refis?
James S.: What do you mean by ‘short’ refinance?
Lisa: Have you ever heard of this program? https://www.quickenloans.com/mortgage-news/mortgage-program-underwater-fha-short-refinance
James S.: Ok. I need your full name, address, date of birth and social security number.
Lisa: I’m not giving you my social security number through a chat window.

Really? Really.

So, on to my next few options. I did some research on more of Fannie Mae’s options for upside-down borrowers, and I actually found a pretty attraction program called Home Affordable Foreclosure Alternatives (HAFA). HAFA is an extension of the Making Home Affordable options (HAMP and HARP), neither of which will work for my co-borrower and I. HAMP is the Home Affordable Modification Program, which modifies eligible borrowers’ loans to make monthly payments more affordable. HARP is the Home Affordable Refinance Program, which enables eligible borrowers to refinance up to 125 percent of their property’s current value at a lower interest rate. Unfortunately, borrowers with private mortgage insurance (PMI) on their loans only qualify to refinance 95 percent of their home’s value under HARP.

HAFA offers three additional options – a short sale, a deed-in-lieu or a deed-for-lease. All three of these options are potential contenders because all three will get the loan out of my co-borrower’s name. Although, they’ll all get the loan out of my name, too, so it looks like I may be moving soon. (Closer to the beach, of course.)

From what I can tell, the HAFA options are a little more borrower-friendly than their traditional counterparts. Normally, short sales can be tricky and involve lots of delays and last-minute negotiating once an offer is made on the property. For instance, a lender won’t even really review/approve a traditional short sale until the property is listed and the seller receives an offer. In the meantime, the lender can begin foreclosure proceedings if the homeowner isn’t staying current with their payments. Plus, in states like Virginia, the lender may pursue a deficiency judgment for the difference between what is owed on the home and what the home sells for. Same thing with a foreclosure or a deed-in-lieu. That makes these options much less attractive in my state than they may be in other states.

HAFA takes a little more time up front, but the end result seems a little more defined. In order to qualify, the borrower must be reviewed and either approved or denied for HAMP. That can take 30 to 45 days, but once approval or denial is granted, the borrower can request to go the HAFA route for a short sale, deed-in-lieu or deed-for lease. It sounds like lenders will have a borrower at least list the home and try to sell it before allowing a deed-in-lieu, but if the homeowner wants to stay in the home, they’ll offer a deed-for lease. A deed-for-lease means that the borrower signs over the deed to the lender and then rents the property for the going market rate from the lender for a set amount of time. That sounds kind of interesting, huh?

The biggest difference I can see (and keep in mind, I’m not an expert on these things — this is just my full-time hobby) between traditional short sale/deed-in-lieu transactions and HAFA options is that a lot of the terms seem to be negotiated up front for HAFA. Like there’s no deficiency judgments — the lender can’t pursue any money or promissory notes after the closing. Also, the probability of the sale actually closing is much higher, and the seller even leaves the transaction with up to $3,000 in relocation assistance at the end of the deal. This Bank of America PDF about the program actually has a really comprehensive comparison chart on page 9 if you want to check out the differences side by side.

So, you can imagine my astonishment when I called LBPS over the weekend and inquired (of one of their short sale specialists) what the difference was between HAFA and a traditional short sale, and she had the audacity to tell me, “Nothing, really.” Oh, really? Okay.

You can also imagine how appalled I was when I called LBPS twice today and was told, “We don’t do HAFA short sales here.”

“You don’t?”

“No, ma’am. I just asked my supervisor. We don’t do those.”

“Well, that’s interesting. Do you have Internet access?”

“Yup.”

“Okay, why don’t you pull up this website: https://www.efanniemae.com/sf/guides/ssg/annltrs/pdf/2010/svc1007.pdf. Do you know what this is? This is a letter from Fannie Mae to every single one of their servicers. It says you were required to implement this program by August 1, 2010.”

“Oh.”

“I dare you to tell me again that you don’t do these. Now transfer me to someone who knows what the f— is going on in the freaking mortgage industry these days.”

So, yeah. Story of my life.

This crazy trip has got me feelin’: frustrated
And I’m singin’ along to: Be My Escape – Relient K