Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Reduce, Reuse, Recycle... and the Mortgage Company From Hell?

Here I sit, on my couch, under an afghan, watching tv while the sun is slowly coming awake to warm the chilly air outside and bring some light to the world.

I am curled up under an afghan because it was 33 degrees last night, leaving ice crusted over the garden pond, and we have a heat pump system that just does not seem able to keep the temps comfortable during freezing weather.

This bothers me immensely.

Oh, sure we can sit together as a family under blankets in front of the fireplace watching TV through the winter months, and honestly, we really do.

Not just because we love each other, but more importantly, because we need to be warm and need to keep the electric bill to a manageable amount. Last winter we had bills of 1000.00 and more per month. Nope, that is not a typo... it really was that high.

This year we have a new, highly efficient hot water heater and brand new high efficiency washer and dryer set to help off-set some of the cost of running our home during the colder months.

We have also converted almost all of the light bulbs to those curly ones and use re-chargeable batteries in most of the electronics on our home. We unplug the laptops and shut down the power strips that have the TV, DVD player and Wii systems plugged into them.

We are recycling just about everything we use... and it seems that our recycle trash is 3 times the amount of the regular trash! Who knew so much could be recycled?

All of these things we do to cut our costs, and lower the cost of living in general, quite willingly.

In our plan to down-size expenses and reduce waste we contacted our mortgage holder to find about modifying our adjustable interest rate loan last October.

When our loan was bought by one of the Chase companies our interest rate jumped considerably. We were given 30 days notice that the payment was jumping by nearly 800.00 a month. So I did what was being recommended and contacted them to try to fix things before they became a problem... I did say I did this a year ago, right?

Well, here it is 13 months later and we still have no modification of our loan. Not only do we not have a modification in place, but the payment plan- or the "trial modification period" as they call it- has actually hurt us more than it has helped.

When I called last year I was told what we needed to do to be considered for a modification and I did it. I have been on 4 of the "trial payment periods", each lasting 3 months so that the powers that be can see we are committed to paying our bill on time each month.

At the end of the 3 months the modification is supposed to be locked in and all will be well... or so I have been told. After 4 of these trial periods and dozens and dozens of pages being faxed multiple times to the Loan Modifcation account representative we still have no modification and I only recently found out we had no account representative. Or at least not the one I have been dealing with since March of this year.

It seems he was taken off our case in early October, but no one told us until the end of the month. Which explains why the 8 phone messages I left for him the month of October were never answered.

So in our attempt to be proactive and reduce expenditures and tighten our belts, we have only made our problem worse.

Our account is now being reported as 6 months in arrears because the reduced "Trial Period" payments are less than our regular payments and apparently our mortgager does not accept partial payments...
which is what they consider the reduced payments to be since we have not been locked into a modification program...
and that means they can charge us with fees for making these partial payments and late fees because we are behind because we did not make full payments...
and apparently the whole "You qualify for the Federal Loan Modification Program" conversation that I have had several times over the past 13 months is just that... a conversation as it now seems we do not in actuality qualify for it according to our mortgager...

so now what do we do???

Well... for anyone in this predicament- of which I am sure there are many- try using this link and signing the petition there.


Then use the link to send a letter to your congressmen and senators to let them know that you need their help

I even added a personal note to the form letter to let them know that I have jumped through all the hoops and played by the ever-changing rules with nothing to show for it but a ruined credit rating and a house payment that has gone up once again.

I hope that my experience helps someone else as it does not appear it will be helping us...

But Hey! I still believe in Miracles ...
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