We've only been trying since August of 2008 to get a loan modification on the mortgage on DH's house. DH has an ARM, that was supposed to be set at 9% when he refinanced in 2006 (3 months before we got married). When he went to sign the papers, they had upped the rate to 10.55%. He didn't want to sign, but didn't have much choice, as he had credit card companies that were hounding him and threatening to garnish wages, etc (credit cards he didn't know he had, his ex-wife got them in his name, ran them up, and when she left, he was stuck holding the bag). So he signed. The rate was fixed for 2 years with an option to refinance.
Well, y'all know what happened to the housing market in 2008. His house, that had been appraised at 125K (and I have no fucking clue how they came up with that appraisal for a one bedroom, 1 bathroom house with no central heat/air), was no longer worth that (tax appraisal was 66.5K). Mortgage company kept calling and asking if we were ready for the rate to reset and our payments to go up, and if we didn't want that, they were willing to lock us in for 5 years at our current rate and payment (the payment was almost $1200 a month, including escrow for taxes and insurance). We told them no way were we willing to lock in at the current rate, but if they were willing to lower it, we would talk. Nope, they didn't want to talk. And that continued.
Then we got a call from someone who said he could help us negotiate a loan modification. We talked, and eventually, he couldn't help us, because we were "under water" on the mortgage (owed more than the house was worth). But, he knew of a company who could help us (and that should have been a huge warning flag). He said he was going with a company called Green Credit Solutions, who had lawyers working on loan modifications for people who weren't able to get their lenders to work with them. A couple of his family members were also signing up, and so were a lot of his other customers. Cost was $3,495 and if GCS wasn't able to get a loan mod for you, you got $2,945 of it back (yeah, right). So we came up with the money, filled out the paperwork, sent all of the documentation they required, and thought we were on our way to a loan modification.
Well, between August of 2008, when we first started talking with Sean and GCS,and July of 2009 when we quit hearing from GCS, we had 8 different negotiators who had worked on our loan modification. Now they did apply for at least one loan modification that I know of, because our lender told us we had been denied. Something about DH made too much money (but that was because they were counting my income, and they weren't supposed to, since I'm not on the mortgage, and I wasn't going to be on the new one either). At that point, one of the negotiators said he wasn't supposed to tell us this, but that if we quit making payments on the house, our lender might be more willing to negotiate a loan modification. Up until then, DH had had the payments on the mortgage taken out of the checking account automatically every month. So, in November of 2008, he decided that he would stop the automatic withdrawal and we went to the bank and did that, went home and called the lender, told them the AWD had been stopped. In December, the lender tried to do an AWD, it was refused, and I had sent them a check. The bank also refused to cash our check because they thought we had stopped all payments to the lender, not just the AWD. So when the check bounced (and I caught it right away, because I balance our checkbook online every week), I called the bank to see why they had refused payment on the check. Bank said oops, our mistake, tell the lender to send the check back through and we will pay it.
So I called the lender, explained what had happened, and was told the check would be sent back through. Problem solved, right? Guess again.
So January comes around. I send in the mortgage payment check, with a note in the memo line that it's the payment for Jan 09. Then the calls start coming about when are we going to make January's payment. I told them we made it. That they needed to send back through the check I wrote for December's payment and gave them the check number. They said they couldn't do that, that we needed to send them another check for December's payment. I said, fine, send me back the check I wrote for December and I'll send you another check. Can't do that, they said, we take an electronic image and destroy the check. So send me some kind of assurance that you aren't going to resubmit that check for payment. Can't do that, they said. Then piss up a rope for your payment, I said. I'm not sending you another check so you can have two checks for the same month's payment and be able to cash both of them, and I'm not paying for a stop payment on the one, when you charged us a bounced check fee for the AWD not being paid when you knew we had stopped that.
February rolls around, I send them a check for the mortgage. Check clears the bank, and they try to do an AWD. And they charge us a bounce fee for the AWD failing. I call and chew ass. Then I fax them a letter stating that the AWD has been stopped, with copies of paperwork from the bank.
Lender calls every day, 3 to 4 times a day, either wanting to know if we're going to make the missed payment (which is in the savings account), or if we want to lock in at our current rate and payment for the next 5 years. It gets to the point where I know all the phone numbers they use, and when those numbers show up on caller id, I don't even bother to answer the phone. DH won't talk to them at all, he gets too mad (like I don't....lol).
Finally, we decide that GCS isn't going to do us any good, and we stop making mortgage payments on the house (they go into the savings account). When the lender calls, we tell them "Either give us a decent loan modification or take the house, we don't care. We don't have any kids, so we don't have to worry about schools or anything like that. We're not so invested in this house that we have to stay here, we can move, and we will." They piss and moan and delay and belly-ache and say there's nothing they can do. They've had an online appraisal of the house done and that comes out at 80K. I start laughing. They want to know what is so funny. I tell them there is no central heat/air in the house, that there is one wall furnace in the hallway to heat the whole downstairs, there are 2 electric baseboard heaters for the upstairs, and there's no heat at all in the basement. The valuation for taxes has gone down to 60K, and they'd be lucky to get 45K for the house, if they could sell it at all (there are houses in this town that have been for sale for more than a year and they're all better than this one). The only thing this house has going for it is its location (across the street from the lake/park, closest neighbor is across the street, and one across the American Legion parking lot). We told them it would take them 6 months to get us out of the house (so they would have lost a year's worth of house payments (14K), then the house would sit empty for who knows how long while they had to pay property taxes on it and lose more house payments, and then take a loss if and when they finally sold it).
So we got a phone call a couple of weeks ago, telling us we had been approved for a loan modification. Our rate went from 10.55% to 3.375% and is locked in for 5 years. Our mortgage payment went from $1157.28 a month to $620.69. We got the papers to go over (and sign) on the 11th. They had to be back by 20th (luckily they sent them next-day UPS and included a return label for us to use and there is a UPS pick-up box here in town). They recommended that we have a lawyer go over them with us, so we did. We signed them, got them notarized, and sent them back with the certified check for the escrow deposit (and I wrote down the UPS tracking number, and checked on it, they got the paperwork back yesterday).
So it pays to be a bitch sometimes, and believe me, I was a bitch with DH's lender. I just wish I could find the assholes who ran the scam called GCS. They would not even want to meet Helga, let alone PsychoBitch from Hell. I guess we'll just have to chalk that money up to experience, and let it go, but damn, that burns my hide, especially since I did research them and they seemed to be a legitimate company. Now, doing more research on them since their website has disappeared and their phone lines are disconnected, I find out they've fucked over a lot of people. DH and I are lucky, in that we didn't lose the house, and we managed to get the loan modification on our own, but there are a lot of people out there who relied on GCS who weren't so lucky. All we lost was $3,495 - they lost that and their homes.