What I want to do isn’t what I should do, but I may anyway. I want to devote today to analyzing my stocks for my semi-annual portfolio review, due for my self-imposed deadline of midnight, June 30th. I want to dive into revising the program plan for the HCLE Virtual Museum. I want to further edit the What’s New newsletter for New Road Map, and to research grant possibilities to further NRM’s value based financial literacy mission. There are personal finance stories to blog, other people’s stories to tell, other insights to pass along. There are probably six other things I’d rather do instead of decipher the latest installment in my house’s foreclosure story, but I’ll probably have to do that regardless of my emotions. This post helps me do that. The mortgage servicer delivered a declaration that is out of synch with the rest of the story, and my housing situation may bear the consequences. How does anyone keep track of all of this?
About a month ago I finally met with the key player in my mortgage story: Fannie Mae. There are four main players: Fannie Mae, the investor; Green Tree, the servicer; Parkview, the counselor; and me, the homeowner. That meeting was a pleasant surprise. The Fannie Mae representative listened and agreed with me. Even though I couldn’t make the trial payments, or qualify for a loan modification right then, I had so much potential that we’d all benefit from giving me more time. (e.g. nice testimonials, good resumes, possible house sale) He suggested they forebear the foreclosure proceedings by three months. Sounds good to me. All he had to do was convince Green Tree, the servicer, the company that actually manages Fannie Mae’s investments. They’d get back to me, whether they succeeded or not. Okay. Everything was verbal, but I was sure paperwork would follow, either a forebearance, or a Foreclosure Notice. Neither happened. But I also didn’t get a Notice of Trustee Sale; so that was good.
What did happen was a letter two weeks ago that said I was denied a mortgage modification because I hadn’t made the trial payment in time. I wasn’t surprised because we all agreed at the meeting that I couldn’t make the payment and shouldn’t be asked to for three more months. I told the counselor and just assumed that the trial payment referred back to an earlier offer that helped inspire me to take the meeting with Fannie Mae. I may have been mistaken, and I suspect you aren’t surprised. Earlier this week I received a large packet from the servicer. I worked until 10pm Wednesday, the 26th; so, I took the letter to work on the 27th. When I opened it I learned that I had to contact them by the 27th. Well, that would’ve been tough to do. I photocopied the entire packet, sent it to my newly re-assigned counselor (the third one I’ve worked with at the organization). As I did so, I noticed that the packet I received on or about the 26th (I can’t tell what day it was put in my mailbox) included documents dated twelve days earlier. They’d been working on this for weeks but I only get the news at the last minute. Ah, but surely the counselor will refer back to the Fannie Mae meeting and and other effort they initiated to restart the process. No. What I heard from the counselor was that I should do everything I can to make the payment by July 1st – which is a Monday – which means the 29th and 30th are the weekend, which meant if I had enough cash sitting around on Friday and could put it all in one place and get the check to an overnight service that I might meet the deadline if they would accept it being on July 1st instead of by July 1st. If I could do that I probably wouldn’t be worrying about foreclosure.
As I sit here I don’t know what is really going on, but yesterday, after working until 9:30pm again, I noticed that on Friday I received a letter from Fannie Mae. I’ll open it in a bit. If I did it early on a Saturday I might be so set off that I wouldn’t be able to do the one thing everyone involved wants me to do: make more money.
And my situation is simple. As I’ve said before, imagine what it is like for people who have even more chores than me: people with children, people spending time as care givers, people running businesses, people managing other aspects of their lives that may also need bolstering. It isn’t as simple as reading the letters, and even that isn’t simple. The letters are written in legalese. Each letter is to be copied, recorded, sent to the appropriate people, and if there’s time, understood. The envelopes also have to be copied and saved, but not marked up. To me, it is largely a large pile of paper. It was the counselors who were familiar with the forms that were able to find the mismatched dates on the Notice of Default, which means the process must start over. Every month, or every packet that leads to a payment, also requires hours of work copying the previous preceding months of financial statements, bills, and even profit/loss reports. It is a daunting amount of work. My situation is simple and I can’t keep up with it. Properly handling every communication costs hundreds of dollars of my time, and I have so little free time that the lawn isn’t mowed often enough and the garden has to fend for itself.
I work any day that has the letters “d a y” in it. I see the process designed for my protection and enacted by the paid staff at the organizations, and I know that while they ask for documents, the situation demands money. If I can’t make enough money, the documents aren’t enough to save my home. If I make enough money and lose my home because I missed some documents, well, then at least I have enough money to find housing. (That’s not the case in every state or every situation, which is hard to believe.)
It is getting close to noon. I’ll finish this post, share it around, and arrange myself for the rest of the work day. Fortunately, I enjoy a lot of my work (there are always bits that are more chore than joy.) I’ll get some good work done that will help my clients. The better their projects proceed the better my position may be. I’m also looking forward to my portfolio review. The total value isn’t very large, but the potential is significant, and the companies have made six months of progress since the previous semi-annual review. Yesterday, my portfolio increased by about a week’s living expenses. The preliminary analyses suggest my portfolio can do much better than that. Can it do enough, and can it do it in time? I don’t know and can only guess – with the aid of a bit of arithmetic.
There’s another great potential that fortunately takes little time and effort. As I said in Wednesday’s My Job Report Month 22,
“Similarly, my best business tasks have all been unsolicited. Someone calls me up, or interjects into a conversation that, “Hey, you could probably do that. Do you want to?” “Yep.” Ads aren’t nearly as successful.”
I may have already done what needs to be done. And of course there is that lottery ticket, an easy way to buy hope – that has been known to succeed. Good luck happens, too.
To those who’ve privately replied with their stories, here’s a toast to your forebearance, because whether the mortgage company provides it or not, we’re demonstrating massive amounts of it every day.
Thanks for staying tuned.