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Life happens in fits and starts.  I understand that.  Once one reaches maturity, the concept of one step forward two steps back becomes crystal clear.  I'm tired.  It's not a physical fatigue but rather a complete mental prostration.  I last updated this blog almost a month ago.  At that time we were just marking time until we went to closing on our new home.  The closing was scheduled for June 28th.  Everything was done, every t crossed, every i dotted.  We were all set to go and then............our realtor called.  There was a "glitch" and we were not going to closing.  It wasn't a "glitch" it was a major faux pas (to put it nicely) on the part of Bank of America. 

As everyone knows, the home we are buying is a shrt sale.  Basically that means that rather than foreclosing on the property and becoming its new owner with all the costs inherent in that multi-year process, the bank agrees to let the owner sell it for less than is owed on the mortgage.  A short sale allows the owner to apply for a mortgage again in about three years whereas a foreclosure stays on the owner's credit record forever.  A foreclosure is really devastating creditwise.  The problem in part is that now in certain places, Florida being one, almost all homes for sale are short sales or foreclosures.  It's a huge problem nationwide and the banks are scrambling to keep up with it all.  What happened in our case, even though we had a signed agreement with BOA, the short sale department speaks a foreign language that cannot be understood by the foreclosure department.  The house was auctioned off on the courthouse steps two days before our scheduled closing!  Fortunately, BOA refused to accept the bid because it was low and transferred the property to themselves.  Somehow, the title company found this out and our deal was halted. 

 In a short sale, the buyer is still actually buying from the owner, not the bank.  The bank then deals with the owner's default.  Now, the bank owned the property and we couldn't complete the deal as the title was no longer in the owner's name.  Well...I was hysterical to say the least.  My two grandsons were flying in that night from Kansas City.  My daughter and her EX were leaving the next morning in a U-Haul with her belongings.  They were coming to live with us!  We had no house and were ourselves living in a 27 ft trailer.  My son and DIL retrieved the children from the airport and took them home with them.  We had to run out and rent a storage area for her things when she arrived three days later.   It was a mess and no one knew what to do.

Our agent and the seller's agent were now potentially out ten thousand dollars commission each.  The seller who thought he had a deal was now in foreclosure and my daughter and kids were homeless.  Everyone was scrambling.  Through a source that I cannot reveal, I received the direct phone number to the office of the CEO of BOA.  I called, but no one would speak to me because I was "a third party with no interest" to anything.  Our realtor tried filing a plea with the judge to overturn the foreclosure.  The judge basically said that she was "Sick of the ineptitude of BOA and refused to deal with it."  Daughter arrived with her stuff and on a ninety-four degree day we unloaded the damn truck.  At this point we had the two boys.  We fed them all and paid to put them up in a hotel.  We were beginning to bleed money at this point.  The next day we drove them all to Orlando where Ex SIL picked up his car.  He took them with him to his home.  We came back here and I cried some more.

A couple of days later nothing was happening.  I was tired of crying and I was getting mad.  I was tired of getting calls from people wanting to deliver our new appliances.  We couldn't go to our house because it was all packed up.  We were, to put it bluntly, screwed.  I decided to call the BOA CEO again.  When the girl answered and started with the whole third party thing again I said, "Someone needs to listen to me.  We are the victims here.  We have a signed agreement of sale approved by BOA.  I am a handicapped retired school principal and grandmother.  My husband is seventy three years old and retired from the British Embassy.  My daughter and grandchildren are here because she lost her job in Kansas City and they are homeless.  Her ex husband lost his job, no child support there.  We have bought this home from BOA so they can live with us.  Now we are paying for hotels.  None of us have any place to live because of a screw up by BOA.  If someone in this office thinks I am just a third party and will not listen to me, I feel that I have no option but to go to the television stations and newspapers to try to get some help."  Evidently the words 'television stations' and 'newspapers' have replaced Abracadabra when one needs to perform magic.  Denise (yes, we're on a first name basis now) transferred me to Laurence (we're BBFs now, too) who informed me his job was to escalate problem solving issues for the CEO.  As I listened on my end, he pulled up the file (I of course had the account number because I am not just a third party, but a vested member of this whole debacle) and spent fifteen minutes "ummmming" and "un huhning" and even once whistling and muttering "Oh Boy" and reading aloud to me file notes.  He ended it all by saying, "I am sending ten emails to various parties involved in this mess."  Yes, he used the technical banking jargon and actually said "mess."  "Each party has 72 hours to respond to me."  Soon I got a call from a guy named Cliff who worked for loss mitigation (short sale dept.) who told me he called but couldn't speak to me because I was a third party but he wanted me to know that he had just spoken to Laurence to whom he evidently could speak.  I laughed almost (it beats crying) and called Lawrence who said "Don't worry about Cliff, he knows what he's supposed to be doing to fix this, but he called because I told him to so you knew things were happening."  Well, OK.  I guess at least I am acknowledged.  It was Friday afternoon and a long 4th of July holiday weekend.  I spent the weekend crying some more.

On Monday I got a voice mail from a guy named Tony in CA who was head of BOAs REO (foreclosure) Dept.  I called him back five times and left messages.  He eventually called me back when I was in the car and he wouldn't speak to me without an account number which was back at the trailer.  So again, I called him four times, eventually getting him.  When I gave him the account number he said, 'wait a sec, let me pull up the file."  Then he said, "Oh, you're the third party Lawrence emailed about.  We that house has been sold to a third party at foreclosure."  I said, "No, Tony.  The house was bid on at foreclosure but BOA refused to accept the bid and bought the house itself.  YOU own the house now."  Tony said, "How do you know all this?" in a tone of voice that implied that I was making all this up.  I wanted to say I knew it because it is public record online at the county courthouse records and I actually saw all this with my own two eyes and I am not an imbecile, but I just said, "it's public record now, Tony."  Tony said "hmmmmmmmmm, let me check with our attorney."  So he checked I guess.  He called me back sounding incredulous and said, "You're right."  Duh.  He said, "I'll fix it."  Give me a few days.  Then the seller's agent called and siad, "I just got a voice mail from a guy named Tony at BOA who mentioned your name and he wants me to call him.  Who's he?"  So I explained everything that had transpired from my original call to the CEO and he said "Wow, I figured I was out the commission after all this work.  This is great!  I'll call him."  Here I'm thinking, "So where's my cut for saving your deal?"

So that was last week.  Now, BOA is deeding the house back to the original dead beat owner who owes them $583,000.  The deed needs to be recorded etc.  We have a new contract.  We will move in on Tuesday and go to closing as soon as all the title work is done.  Until closing, we are paying the old owner $50 per day rent even though he hasn't made a house payment in over 2 years.  We had the electric turned on and are paying that.  We will have the water turned on Monday. 

The old dead beat owner is saved from foreclosure and he's getting 50$ per day on a house he doesn't pay for.  His realtor is back in the game and will make 10K in commission.  Our realtor is back in for his 10K.  The only ones bleeding money here are us...Oh, and remember this always...the bestway to take care of a problem is to handle it yourself whenever possible.

If you want to read some BOA short sale nightmares, go here and peruse the reader comments after the article....

Reader Comments (3)

Ineptness is no longer limited to lower level employees. Add the new banking regs and stupidity will reach epidemic proportions. I'm glad things are finally working out.

July 17, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterDon

Good idea the threat of television and newspapers. Had a big problem years ago with a new bank manager cancelling my payments with my mother's money to her care home. Only way I got action was to tell them I was going to a solicitor and all charges would be borne by them. Unbelievable all the officials from the bank that suddenly got involved with phone calls to me. Is it people with intelligence but no common sense the reason or the holes in their education? May Tuesday move be easy and not too nervewracking for you. Will be thinking of you and wishing the best of luck with your move, shaking the dust of the trailer from your feet. Jill

July 19, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterJill

OMG - what an absolute nightmare! Hope the Tuesday move goes smoothly, after all this. Let us know. love, Claudia

July 19, 2010 | Unregistered Commenterclaudia krex glickman

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