Friday, June 26, 2009

Making Home Affordable? More like Making Me Crazy

A few weeks ago I read about a new addition to Obama's Making Home Affordable Plan that included a $1,500 incentive to homeowners successfully selling their homes in a short sale to assist with relocation.

We could obviously really use this money. So far we've spent $380 shipping clothes and shoes to the Midwest. We don't have too much more to ship, but we need to buy a bike rack and pay for gas, etc.

Today I decided to get on the phone to find out how we receive this mythical $1,500. That didn't go so well. I invested an hour into it and got too frustrated to continue. Plus, I really need to get the house ready for the walk-thru tomorrow. We still have piles of odds & ends all over.

So, instead of continuing in the phone call vortex from hell, I decided to write a blog post about it and share my notes from the hour I wasted on this today.

Friday, June 26

Trying to obtain information about how to receive the $1,500 in relocation assistance as an incentive for having successfully sold our house in foreclosure.

Who pays this?

I looked at the Making Home Affordable website: and called the number listed for questions: 1-888-995-HOPE

I'm sent to a counselor. The counselor says they're just an agent to help communication with the lender. I tell them I got their number off of the MHA website. The counselor says, "If you're positive this program exists."

I tell him I'm positive! It's on the MHA Fact Sheet.

Counselor says:

“I really would be willing to help you out, but we don’t have any information to help you out. We don’t know the source of this. You will simply need to make some more phone calls. If indeed there is such a program in your state.”

I tell him thank you and we say goodbye.

Breathe. Seriously?!

I’m having flashbacks.


Calling Treasury Public Affairs (number listed on press release about MHA.) A real person answers. I tell them I'm looking for info in regards to the press release about the additions to the plan. She asks if I'm press. I tell her no and am transferred to Dept. of Treasury.

Automated menu. Press 2 for Homeowners looking for info on MHA.

Message says, "For info, please visit the website at"
Tells me the website has detailed information. After reviewing, contact loan servicer directly and they can help w/ loan modification and refinancing.
Also says- call 995-HOPE if you're already delinquent.
We hope this information was helpful. Goodbye.
And I’m disconnected.


You can see why I didn't get very far. Right? Okay, so here's my question.

Why announce this great new addition to the program that will promote short sales and not give any information on how?

HOW. How do we get the $1,500?!

Who knows? Not 995-HOPE. So who?

I notice that the language in the Fact Sheet says we may be eligible. Fine. But how do we find out whether we are or we aren't? The only number listed for info is 995-HOPE... and they really truly honestly have no clue.

Somebody help! Seriously. I'm now hoping that someone will read this blog and point me in the right direction. Planet Money? Please. Someone. Anyone. Mr. President? I'm sure I'm not the only borrower in America who wants to know.

Thank you.

Here is some info to prove I'm not crazy. This $1,500 exists somewhere. If only in theory.

This is from the Making Home Affordable Fact Sheet:
How The Home Affordable Short Sale/DIL Program Works:

• Borrower Eligibility. Borrowers will be eligible for the Foreclosure Alternative Program if they meet the minimum eligibility criteria for a Home Affordable Modification but did not qualify for a modification or were unable to sustain payments under a trial period plan or a modification. Prior to proceeding to foreclosure, participating servicers must evaluate each eligible borrower to determine if a short sale is appropriate. Considerations in the determination include property condition and value, average marketing time in the community where the property is located, the condition of the title including the presence of junior liens and a determination that the net sales proceeds are expected to exceed the investor's recovery through foreclosure Incentive Payments.

-Servicers may receive incentive compensation of up to $1,000 for successful
completion of a short sale or DIL.

-Borrowers may receive incentive compensation of up to $1,500 to assist with
relocation expenses.

-Treasury will also share the cost of paying junior lien holders to release their
claims, matching $1 for every $2 paid by the investors, up to a total contribution
of $1,000 by Treasury.

And this article spells it out:
-Plan to Encourage Banks to Allow Short Sales - Washington Post
(I found this link on the Making Home Affordable website here)


Anonymous said...

Not sure if this will help at all. I've been following your blog, read the whole thing when Porter mentioned your estate sale on Facebook. You may or may not remember me, but i bought a couch and chair from you for my apt in West Hollywood years ago, and you brought yummy empanadas to a small Oscar gathering i had back then. But i digress. I no longer live in L.A and your story has made my current situation a lot more bearable, so thanks for that:) You can still be happy in the middle of turmoil:)

Anyway, someone pointed me to this link, which may only discourage you further

Love in the Time of Foreclosure said...

Tragicallyhip- yes, I remember you! Thanks for your message!!

Ugh. Yes, further frustrated. Only because this info is nowhere to be found by the human eye. Well... you know. According to that article, we would not be eligible for the $1,500 and neither would anyone else. Well... maybe, like, 2 people would be. I don't know.

But this is seriously crazy-making. From the article:

1. The short sale seller must apply for and attempt to qualify for the mortgage modification program.

This is a flawed requirement that creates more red tape inasmuch as a short sale has nothing to do with modifying a borrower's mortgage. In Lee County, the current loan-to-value ratio on most distressed properties eliminates these borrowers from qualifying for the mortgage modification program.

2. Borrowers with second home mortgages or investment properties are eliminated from the program.

There is no reasonable basis to exclude these borrowers who comprise a substantial portion of those affected by the foreclosure crisis.

3. The eligibility to the new short sale incentive restricts properties with second mortgages.


Anonymous said...

Steph your Congress(wo)man and pin them down on this.
They have to give you info on this.

brycecanyonhorseback said...

I really like this article, very informative, thanks for the good insight here, i will look forward for your next post.

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