Should She Worry?

I received a frantic calls the other day from a lady who came home to find a notice tacked to her front door. Her question was: “Should I be worried?”

According to the caller, her husband had stopped paying their mortgage in February 2009, but didn’t tell her until documents had to be signed by them both for a loan modification 2 months ago. Needless to say this put great strain on a long standing marriage.

The loan modification was started – or so they were told….. nothing was received in writing .

The document stated that the house was to be sold on the steps of the Courthouse on September 30th – My answer was short and sweet: YES, YOU NEED TO BE WORRIED, but she insisted that her husband had been told just that morning by the loan modifier, not to worry.

In a situation like this, the property owner should have received a running record IN WRITING, of contact that the modifier had had with the lender. After all, what proof do they have that the modifier has done anything at all? Based on the Notice of Trustee Sale, it would be a fair guess that little or nothing had been done and certainly nothing had been achieved. The home owner has the right to know what progress if any, has been made.

Another distraught home owner listed his home with me as a short sale, as he too had not made mortgage payments since February 2009. I was encouraged, due to the shortage of time, to engage the services of a short sale attorney. I was assured that neither I, nor the seller would have to pay for this service, being told that the payment would be “a line item on the Escrow statement”. This led us all to believe that the lender would cover the attorneys costs.

From the outset, this proved to be a debacle! The first person I dealt with didn’t keep me abreast of progress, and requested the same documents of me three times. Three times I sent the documents to him and finally asked my Title rep to contact him.

Having received no information for three weeks, I found that I had been passed to another person, who also relied on me calling HER! Five weeks passed, with only three successful contacts which revealed little or nothing.

Now, two months in, I learned from the attorney in a round table meeting, that if the lender refuses to pay short sale attorney costs, and the seller CAN’T pay short sale attorney costs, these costs would be tacked onto the BUYERS costs! This means that the buyer would be paying an additional 3% for the property! This fact had not been disclosed to myself, my broker, the seller OR the buyer!

At this stage, (as his deadline date was growing closer) the seller fired the attorney and I took over the negotiations at no additional cost to anyone. From my very first call with the adjuster, I discovered that the lender had sent documents of approval to the attorney who had neglected to let me know DESPITE MY CONVERSATIONS WITH HER!

Three weeks after releasing the attorney, I received an abusive and threatening call from the attorney. When I tried to speak, he simply shouted over me – I hung up! My seller received a similar call, threatening him with a lawsuit.

What right do attorneys have to bully people, when they are guilty of lack of communication, lack of performance and with holding information? Sadly, this tactic usually works with the home owners because they are scared and confused, however it is at this time when they deserve understanding and assistance.

Home owners are falling victim to this sort of dealing, on a daily basis. It is ‘easy money’ for attorneys and fly-by-night loan modifiers – many of whom are attorneys. I don’t know what the loan modifier charged, but the short sale attorney would have charged 3% of the sale price, for making a few phone calls!

Although I couldn’t help the lady whose home was to be sold on the Courthouse steps, I did put her in touch with a colleague who arranged for FHA to take over. Once FHA steps in, there is a good chance that the auction process will be arrested, while they apply for a loan modification on behalf of the home owner. This is a free service.

Althea Garner

Exit Beach Cities Realty
Your House Of Homes Online
(714) 264-3458

Search over 50,000 listings at my web site:

Women’s Council of REALTORS(R):
Treasurer – 2008 (Coastal-West)
Education Chairperson – 2009 (South County)
VP of Membership – 2010 (South County)
Education Committee – 2009 (California State)

Orange County Association of REALTORS(R):
Education Vice Chair – 2009


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2 CommentsLeave a comment

  1. Man, that’s scary, both stories. Lawyers don’t have the right to push people around like that, but I’ve written a bunch of articles on loan modification and debt consolidation that I’m not surprised to read about that particular issue. I am surprised, though, that the husband got away with signing the wife’s name to the thing; seems the company has to be held accountable for that one, as they almost had to know.

    You did a nice thing for these folks; way to go.

  2. Thank you for this blog, keep up the informative posting. I will be sure to reference it when needed throughout our website once we add our resources section. Keep up the great blogging and thanks again.

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