The Final Chapter: The Loan Modification
Like so many other people, we sold and bought our house at the peak of the housing market. We paid 390k for our house. It is still crazy to me to think how much a modest medium size house was...and that we agreed to pay that much for it...sheesh. We signed up on an interest only loan, the only way we could get the payment down to around $2,000 a month. That was even crazy, but we had to do it. Well, even after 6 months of paying that, we realized we had gotten in over our head. I called the mortgage company to see what they could do. They said we could apply for a loan modification through them. They sent us a 30 (yes I said 30) page packet to fill out and sent back. We did it, and after 3 months of them "processing it" they needed new pay stubs and bank statements, 3 times!! 3 months apart each time. After the third time, almost a year later, I gave up. This wasn't going anywhere.
So fast forward a year after I gave up on that loan mod, after a huge tax return, and borrowed money from Kevin's 401k, and us still not back on our feet, I tried again. Called the mortgage company to see what they could do. The recording said something about President Obama's Home Affordability Plan. So I asked the lady about it. She said they would send me a packet. Ugh...not again, but we were desperate. AND since this one was through the government, I knew it would take forever, but had heard that it was actually a law and that the gov't had to help if you met the criteria. So I did it, filled out the 30 page packet AGAIN, and sent in new pay stubs and bank statements almost every month religiously, so that would not have an excuse not to help us. I was calling once a week, being put on hold for up to an hour and a half each time, and being told the same thing, "that it was processing and just to wait to hear from them, but if I didn't to call back in 3 weeks." It was so frustrating. But I kept on them...I was going to save my house, and if I did, this would all be worth it.
They had originally told us that it could take 60 to 90 days to complete the review process, they told me this every time I called. After 90 days had passedm they would tell me, "Well, Ma'am, it is actually 60-90 business days" But I just kept calling...and praying.
Even with all of the effort, and time that was passing, and us not being able to make all of our bills, going a little more into debt each month, I had a peace. I really can't explain it. Our house, our life, was up in the air, but I still felt this immense peace. Through this whole thing, God kept telling me "I am faithful, I am faithful, I am faithful" (tearing up right now) He has never said anything more clearly to me before in my life. It was so clear, it was impossible not to believe Him.
After 6 long months of calling and sending in updated information time and again, we got the packet...we had been approved for the trial period. We would be getting the packet later in the week. I cried, and cried, and cried. I could not believe it. So our payments went from 2,020 to 1,600. At first I was so relieved, $400 down a month, then I got greedy. "Why couldnt they drop it down more? Thats not 31% of our income" (which is what they are supposed to knock it down to) Then thankful again, "Ok, thank you God, we will take any help we can get" The processing wasn't all that fast, but you get the picture. So we paid the 3 months of the trial period and was supposed to get an answer about whether or not we got approved for the final modification.
One part of the trial period is that you have to meet with a credit counselor, so that he can give them his recommendation whether or not you "deserve" this modification, and whether you have been good with your money or not. I gave him all of our spending information and how much we made and what not. He said that he felt we had been responsible with our money and that he thought we had a "pretty good" chance of being approved for the final modification. I asked him if he knew what the percentage of people actually getting approved for the final modification was. He told me I didn't want to know. I thought oh great. He said that of course the gov't doesn't put out exact numbers, but he has heard that it was less than 20% that were actually getting approved. This got me a little worried, but I just continued to pray, it was out of my hands now, and now amount of worrying was going to change the outcome.
After the 3 month trial period was done, I called the people again, and they said just to make a 4th trial payment just in case it didn't get processed yet. And I did, because I wanted to keep my house!! So my last email went like this. "I have just paid the 4th trail payment, even though I was only supposed to have to pay 3. I just REALLY want to keep my house and will do whatever it takes. Please let me know what I should do. Thanks" She writes back to me "You should be getting your paperwork today or tomorrow" I sat there thinking WHAT DOES THAT MEAN?? So I wrote back. "Does that mean we got approved??" After 10 LONG minutes she writes back "yes"
Yes? "Yes" Thats all she writes!! It made me laugh because she just gave me the news that I get to keep my house and all she says is "yes". This is the answer to best news of my life and she answers with one word. I cry again...uncontrollably. HE IS FAITHFUL, HE IS FAITHFUL, HE IS FAITHFUL. All I could do was cry out "Thank you God for taking care of us" The kids were all worried about me asking if I was ok and I tell them I am, I am so ok, God always takes care of us and these are just happy tears. They thought I was crazy. I felt like it. I cried for a week, every time I thought about it.
So 9 months after we turned in the first packet, we received our final approval packet. And again, we got another blessing. Our modification was not only approved, but our new house payment is now only $1,300. I read the 10 page packet four times just to be sure that I wasn't reading it wrong. They had recalculated out income from the new pay stubs I kept turning in and dropped the payment down another $300 from the trail payments. And $700 a month from our original payment!!
I still can't believe it. We wouldn't be able to rent a nice apartment for that little. I still am in awe. I still am SO thankful.
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