The one where I realize we’re totally screwed…

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I’m sitting at my computer, in our home office – in our HOME, in disbelief. I truly can’t understand how things have gotten to this point or so far down this road. I’m struggling with how much to say or not say, but I feel that I must say something now – if only to warn those who might be in (or heading toward) similar situations.

Tomorrow, our house is scheduled to be sold at a sheriff’s sale. That is a fact. Another fact is that even with everything that we have done in the past 5 months to try and avoid this scenario – our mortgage company has stalled, ignored, misled or just plain mishandled our account to the point where we sit right now.

There is no way that our house should be in foreclosure. Yes, we’re behind on our payments. Yes, we’ve been struggling financially this year, ever since Ron’s hours were cut right after last Christmas, then through his thyroid surgery and recovery and then again when my unemployment benefits ran out finally in July. Those are all facts as well, that we’ve been dealing with as best we could.

One other fact? We first applied to our mortgage company back in APRIL for assistance, when we missed our first mortgage payment. We knew after Ron’s surgery that we would get behind and need help to keep our house. For five months we’ve given them all the information they’ve requested, called multiple times to get updates and tried to figure out what is slowing this process down so far to the point where losing our house is a very real possibility because this has all taken far too long.

I can’t even wrap my head around the fact that I’ve been trying for almost 2 weeks now just to get the sale date postponed, with no answer yet. The sale that’s now TOMORROW. Over the past week, I’ve made 5+ phone calls, the mortgage counselor we’re working with has made calls, and we keep being told the same thing over and over again – that the request to postpone the sale has been made, but there’s no guarantee and they can’t tell us anything more. Today they told me to call Fannie Mae, since they’re the ones making the decision on whether to postpone or not. But Fannie Mae won’t talk to me – only to the mortgage  company. Another run-around, and I just can’t take any more of it right now.

At this point, we may just lose our house due to the slow inefficiency of bureaucracy. And that’s got me so frustrated that I can hardly even think straight. We’re under review for a modification under the Home Affordable Modification program. It’s been under review for well over a month now, with no answers yet. Everything was sent over to the underwriter on August 24th (or the 30th, or September 4th – I’ve been told multiple dates from different people I’ve talked to). Don’t even get me started on the fact that it took four months just to get us to that point. Based on the fact that we have income, that Michigan homeowners are supposed to be getting extra assistance because of the high unemployment rate and number of foreclosures here – I’ve been told that our chances are at least somewhat promising. No guarantees, of course – but still. I can’t believe that the house could get sold before we even have a chance to find out if we qualify for the program that would save it.

What is even more frustrating is when I talk to others who are in the same situation, but whose mortgage company is working with them, gave them a list of programs they may qualify for (ours never did – we didn’t even know what specific program we were applying for until a few weeks ago) and told them it would take only 10 business days to review their account and get them into a program. If theirs can be reviewed so quickly, why can’t ours? At least give us an answer! If it’s bad news, fine – at this point I could deal with that. We’d at least know – and be able to make decisions for what to do next. Right now we’ve been living in limbo for months – putting off doing anything to/in/for this house because we haven’t known if we’ll still be here in six months.

Our mortgage company is Bank of America (formerly Countrywide). If you’re at all struggling with your mortgage payments and have your loan(s) through them, please start the process of asking for assistance early. Keep on them, take notes of every single conversation (as I have since July), and make them give you answers. Because otherwise you may find yourself sitting at your computer, in your home office, wondering if it will even still be your home in a couple of days, yelling at your kids because you’re so stressed out and crying over the fact that nobody except you, your husband (and the wonderful counselor at Home Repair Services that you realized too late you should have been talking to months ago) seems to care. I’m told that Bank of America is one of the worst companies out there to deal with – and that they opted out of the government program, so we don’t even have that as an option. Not because of anything we did – but because the mortgage company chose not to participate.

We haven’t told the girls anything, since we’re (still) somewhat hopeful that it will somehow work out and we’ll be able to stay. With Abby’s anxiety issues, there’s no point in even putting the idea of maybe having to move into her head until/unless it becomes a reality. I know she’s picking up on our stress though – all the girls probably are. I’ve been much more irritable with them than I usually am even though I’ve been trying really hard not to let this affect me. But it is. I’ve been praying, hoping, trying to think positive… But I’m about out of hope at this point. I know it wouldn’t be the end of the world. That we could hopefully find a place in this area to live and keep the girls near the same school, activities, friends – life – they’ve always known. But we have no family to lean on (they’re all as bad off or worse than we are), and very little real support system. We’ll muddle through somehow if it comes down to that. And at this point, I’m finally admitting that it very likely will.

How did we ever get to this point? Right now I can’t even fathom the answer to that question. It’s not all the mortgage company’s fault, of course – we’re the ones who got behind. But if they’d been at all serious about working with us in a timely fashion, we could’ve had this all dealt with months ago before it got to this point.

One day, and counting down. I’m still hoping for answers, at least. We’ll see if we get any before then.