For the people that know me, I am not the type of person to ask for help no matter how much I may need it. I never have been. I am very proud—or—perhaps the better word would be stubborn. It’s been a lifetime of needing to prove myself capable, smart enough, good enough, strong and worthy. I’ve done some things in my life that were done just for the sake of being able to show those who doubted me how wrong it is to think I am incapable of accomplishing anything on my own.
Professionally, I have excelled in positions I was never qualified to fill. I’ve repaired cars, appliances, and brought many a plant back from the brinks of death (skills, true skills). I pride myself on doing and being more than should be capable. I have held closely the theory that there is always something new to learn, and, am always looking for those opportunities to learn a new skillset to add to my arsenal.
Personally, I’ve opened up my heart and my home to many who just needed someone to care. I’ve helped people find employment (even when I could not). I’ve stood by many a friend during times of personal strife—and, sometimes, I’ve carried them when they were unable to find the strength to stand on their own. I’ve guided young minds as a Girl Scout Leader. I’ve helped spread the Gospel as a Bible Times teacher in church. I’ve joined in many community projects. I’ve held, as well as, helped plan and contributed to, benefits to help lift others in their times of need. I’ve always had an open door invitation for Thanksgiving dinner for anyone who may not have anywhere to go—this is something my ex-husband and I started when we first got together, and I’ve kept the invitation open each year since. Yes; I’ve opened my heart and my home to many others that have taken advantage of my compassion. And, that’s okay. While they may have felt they ‘got one over’ on me, I beg to differ—I remained me—the same caring, open, helpful person with a shoulder on which to lean when it’s difficult to stand. I love those traits within myself. I know it opens me up to be hurt, but, I still choose to believe that every single person has a bright light inside that may just need a little coaxing to come out and be seen.
But, sometimes, even the brightest bulb in the package dims.
I have tried to remain that bright light for everyone, while, at the same time, drowning in my own needs. This is very difficult for me to even put out there for everyone to know and see because, well, part of the reason I am the way I am is because I DO care what people think about me, and I DO care how people view me. Despite my best efforts, however, I have been unable to figure out how to fix this one. It’s time for me to admit that I am incapable of accomplishing everything on my own. This time, it doesn’t just affect me—it directly affects my three children—and I cannot allow that to happen any longer. So, here goes…
Our home of 12 years is in foreclosure. We were part of the sub-prime lending back in the early 2000’s. I’ve managed to keep the home and payments going all these years. In 2013, the new servicing company, Select Portfolio Servicing, imposed an escrow account without my prior knowledge—which was perfectly fine with me—except that they had to ‘fill the gap’ and placed the prior year (that I hadn’t yet paid on my own) and the current year of escrow on my account all at once. This left me in arrears by over $8,000, so they raised my monthly payment. My monthly payment went from $553 to $968 with the correct escrow amount, but because of the prior and current year ‘gap’ they tacked that on and raised my payment to $1,404. Just like that.
In 2014, I was laid off from my job. I was unable to find new employment for 11 months. I was a single mom and couldn’t find a new job to support my family. It was extremely stressful and difficult, but with the love and support of a few very close friends and my brother, the kids and I pulled through. I worked as many side jobs as I could find—mowing lawns, computer repair, gardening, errands, etc. I kept the mortgage stable, albeit a month behind every month, but I was able to catch it back up when taxes came in. I did my best to keep up with that payment, but, I was trying to get caught back up from almost a year of unemployment, so, I did what I thought was best—I called to ask for a modification on the mortgage payments.
I began this process in July of 2015. I followed all of their instructions, rules, uploaded every single document they required, called in every two weeks and made the single ‘good faith payment’ they required to ‘show I was willing to make payments with whatever modification comes through’. I was instructed to not make my regular monthly payments because ‘once the modification goes through, my payments would be applied differently’. By December 2015, I was getting nervous, frustrated, and impatient! I finally got one representative to advise me that all that was left before the modification could go through was the need for a quitclaim deed to be signed between my ex and I which would sign the property over to me. I complied with their request and paid the $190 to file the quitclaim and sent the mortgage processor the copies required.
I was informed it would take 30 days for the review to be completed. By the middle of February, after weekly calls requesting updates (with no communication from them at all), I was verbally informed that the modification was denied and I was now required to pay back all those months of payments they had me not make because they would have been applied incorrectly.
I tried to work with them. I tried to get a repayment plan—they requested a $10,000 ‘security deposit’ which I did not have. They had me upload all of the same documents I had submitted for the modification, and this time, kept rejecting them for one reason or another. I kept trying to get written notification of the denial, copies of the mortgage documents, and more. All requests went unanswered. I attempted to retain a lawyer, who, bless his heart, turned me away because without that hard copy denial of modification, he could do nothing to assist me.
Fast forward to 8/31/16: I was served with foreclosure papers.
I have exhausted my skillset. I have consulted lawyers. I’ve called the FBI White Collar Crimes division (apparently, while what the servicing company is doing is certainly underhanded, it’s not illegal). I’ve started a complaint with the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau. I’ve talked to realtors. I even contacted a hard money lender to try and have them acquire the house and work out a rent to own contract with me while I clean up the fall out from all of this.
I have fought for almost two years now—and it’s come down to three little words that are keeping me from keeping my home: Pooling Service Agreement. Apparently, my mortgage cannot be modified in any manner—no extensions of closure date, no change in terms, no reduction of interest rate. Nothing. According to the attorney assigned to me at the first foreclosure conference last month, this is a fact that Select Portfolio Servicing SHOULD have uncovered very early on in my original modification process— not 9 months later (resulting in an exorbitant amount of arrears).
According to the lawyers now, in light of this Pooling Service Agreement on the mortgage, my options are: buy out the mortgage—which I cannot do because of that quitclaim deed they had me file (I’m now the property owner, and, therefore, cannot obtain a mortgage on the property that is already mortgaged, and can’t refinance the current mortgage that is in my ex’s name because it’s in arrears). Option 2 is to pay back ALL of the arrears within 12 months (on top of the monthly mortgage payment of $1,404)—which I am unable to do as that will bring my payment to well over $3,000 per month for 12 months. I don’t make enough to do that (but I wish I could afford the kind of house that has that kind of payment!! Haha!!) Or, my final option is to liquidate the house via foreclosure or short sale. This option is not okay. On any level. This is my home… my children’s home… losing our home was NEVER part of the plan when I originally attempted to work with Select Portfolio Servicing to obtain a more manageable payment. Instead of working with me, they’ve put me in an impossible position.
Now, I have my theories as to why Select Portfolio Servicing pushed this to almost 2 years—servicing companies are not banks—they make money on the accounts they ‘service’. What better way to ‘service’ an account than through foreclosure??? Seriously, Google this company—any one of those stories could have been written by me…. But, that’s not the point here.
The point is I am asking for help saving the home in which I have raised my children for the last 12 years. I am asking for help in saving the home that has seen happiness and heartache, sheltered my daughters from the cruel world of breakups and fights with best friends, saw stitches, broken bones, the end of one relationship, and the beginning of a new one and the blending of two families into one. But most of all, I’m asking for help in saving the home that has surrounded my children, our pets, our friends and family with love. As small as it may be in size, it is very big in what it has seen us through.
Yesterday, I had to explain to my oldest that I have thrown in the towel…that I cannot fix this one. I don’t have the resources, connections, or, quite frankly, the strength left to fight anymore. As she cried with me, she asked me how I can just quit like this after almost 2 years of fighting. How can I just quit? I cannot watch the tears fall from my child’s eyes one more time as I try to explain that we may need to find a new place to live and re-home our animals.
So, I am swallowing my pride and doing the one thing (besides saving my home by myself) I have never been successful in doing: I am asking for help…
I have created a GoFundMe page with this very same story in the hopes of raising enough money to combine with what I have saved to either pay the arrears or get a ‘short pay’ on the current mortgage, or, somehow buy out the current mortgage. You can find the page by clicking here:
If you know of any good Samaritans that would be interested in purchasing my home prior to it going to auction, please let me know. I do not wish to lose the home, though, so it would be a rent- to- own type deal.
If you know of anyone that has had success in winning litigation against Select Portfolio Servicing for unclean hands or any other defense, please let me know. In addition, if you know of a lawyer that is willing to take this fight on pro bono, let me know. The court-appointed lawyers do not litigate foreclosures, unfortunately.
If you have any prayers, good intentions, good vibes, or any pull with the universe… please send them out and call in those favors.
As embarrassed as I am to have had to write this in the first place, I am more embarrassed that I was unable to ask for help when it first began.
Thank you, from the bottom of my heart, for considering helping Emily, Christian, Maria, and I keep our home. We are truly grateful for the help.