Friday, January 22, 2010

Homeowners beware....

There is a dirty little secret out there the banks and the government don't want you to know about. They want you to think how great there are being - teaming up to help homeowners in these hard times to lower mortgages. All in a little program called Making Homes Affordable.

Basically, if you call your mortgage company to ask for some help with your mortgage, before any other type of help will be considered, they steer you towards Making Homes Affordable. MHA is based on calculations that your mortgage + homeowner's insurance + property taxes be more than one-third of your new lower income. If this is the case, they will get about an hours worth of other data from you and 30 days later, send you some paperwork.

What they don't want you to know is that if you do take advantage of this program, your credit rating will be destroyed causing any other debt you have to come due, causing bankruptcy. Is this nasty little fact written anywhere? NO! It is not.

My husband and I dodged a bullet here. Thank god he knows how to research programs on the internet. Starting in December, I began my quest to ask Bank of America for assistance on our mortgage. Due to a restructuring of my husband's salary and other issues, we needed help. What we asked for was a few months forbearance - a break, basically. We just wanted them to tack the next 6 months of payments on to the end of the mortgage. After many transfers, disconnected lines and telling and retelling of our story, I was told that was not possible. First we had to see if our mortgage itself could be changed, through Making Homes Affordable. After a total of 7 hours on the phone over 4 phone calls, we had passed the preliminary hoops and were told to wait for papers in the mail.

The Making Homes Affordable papers came in mid January. We opened the package, read them and started to gather up the supporting documents. Later that night, my husband walked in, white as a sheet. He said, "I've got bad news - we can't do this program." He had been researching. He felt there must be a catch - and indeed there was. Bank of America would have subordinated our 2nd mortgage with Wells Fargo (require Wells Fargo to write-off the loan as bad debt which would appear on both of our credit ratings as ‘bad debt’). After that, our primary mortgage with Bank of America would be labeled as ‘in collections’. The net effect of “Making Homes Affordable” would be to lower our credit ratings down into the low 400s (we are both above 700 right now). A credit rating of 400 would cause all of our consumer credit to become due immediately.

On-line, he was reading story after story of families, not in too bad of shape but still needing help, absolutely decimated by this supposedly helpful government program. So, at the risk of sharing too much of our situation, I wanted to get the word out there....stay away from Making Homes Affordable.

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Fun on the Slopes!

I have been having so much fun skiing with the girls. They are a real delight - very excited, responsive and brave. At the risk of sounding totally hokey, it really brings joy to my heart. Skiing has it all - the quiet down time on the chair lift for stories and games of "I spy," to the unadulterated shouts of "woo hoo" as we ski through the trees, take turns playing follow the leader or, the girls most favorite thing, "to go straight down fast!" Even though we are generally on easier slopes with them, each day, I get more and more comfortable in my own skiing. Now I can almost catch them if the do go straight down the mountain! I just love watching them try new things - and succeed! Or, if they fall, just getting up and going again.
I so rarely play with the girls. I'll read to them, but usually they play on their own while I do other things. This winter has introduced me to just how wonderfully fun they can be! Now we need to find a summer activity....