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Unfair foreclosures

By Marcie Geffner · Bankrate.com
Friday, November 5, 2010
Posted: 10 am ET

Few things in life are really fair.

But one of the most overlooked stories in the U.S. foreclosure crisis may be the strikingly large, and at times grossly unfair, disparities in how homeowners are treated depending on where they live.

Consider:

  • Some states handle foreclosures mainly though the courts. Others use a nonjudicial process. Still others allow both judicial and nonjudicial foreclosures, though one process is likely to be more common than the other.
  • Some states allow lenders to pursue deficiency judgments. Others don't.
  • Some states offer loans and grants to certain homeowners to help them try to avoid foreclosure. Other states offer no such aid.
  • Some states allow a redemption period of up to one year. Others have no such rule.
  • In some states, a foreclosure can be over and done with in 30-60 days. In other states, the process can drag on for nine months or longer.

All of these differences mean some homeowners have multiple opportunities to delay or forestall a foreclosure and stay in their house -- rent free -- for quite a long time, while other homeowners in similar circumstances can be whisked through the process from default to out-the-door with hardly any chance to find a sofa to sleep on, much less an apartment to rent.

In the end, the outcome is the same. The homeowner loses the home and the bank sells the home to someone else. But the process and its disparities raise some troubling questions about equality of treatment under the law.

Do you think the foreclosure process in your state is reasonably and relatively fair to homeowners compared with how they might be treated elsewhere? Why or why not?

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11 Comments
ThreeTime
December 10, 2010 at 6:58 am

Razor, you have no right to assume anything. This is not most of the American peoples' fault. Sometime people fall on hard times and have no way out. She plainly said that due to her husband loosing his job they couldn't afford the house, so instead of loosing it, they tried for a home re-modification loan. Then got ripped off by the mortgage company because you get one phone call from one department telling you not to make a payment or the modification will start over. Then a day later you got another department calling you telling you that's a lie and you need to pay. They have scammed 100k's of good hard-working Americans this way. You ask me how I know, I went through the identical situation she did. I lost my job as it went to Mexico. I guess you think that was my fault huh? I did everything possible to keep the house of my dreams. So you actually make me sick to my stomach for putting someone down that has falling on hard times that apparently was a situation she couldn't help. I guess you are the type that would make fun of a handicapped person huh? I hope you find yourself in a similar situation one day.

And to you neete, keep your head up. It is a fact that most of these lowlife companies are going to have to reimburse a lot of homeowners due to unfair foreclosure practices. We have since gotten an attorney and our bank is in the middle of trying to settle with my wife and I.

Back to you Razor, I can't believe your insensitivity towards others. Karma is all I can say to you.

Jose Luis Ramirez
December 05, 2010 at 8:40 pm

I have 17 days and my home of 15yrs is going for sale. I had a mortgage with a bank. I had been wanting to modify for about 5 months with them. They told me I was in the process. I had send all the necessary papers, they said okay my modification was on process.
Well, about 3 months ago I received a notice That the company had
sold out to a LBPS mortgage co. I had to start all over again with another application. I don't know if they are going to honor
my new application. In the mean time foreclosure is in process.
So I am waiting for the new co.to responce. The new company has a new application. What should I do, to prevent the sale of my home. I want to keep this home, even though it increased from 283K to 303K. I need help and advice. thank you in advance.

neete
November 18, 2010 at 10:47 pm

As difficult as this is for me to admit - I am in a foreclosure out of my own ignorance. I hope this will help anyone in a similiar situation. I was current on my mortgage and all other bills until my husband lost his job. I knew we could not pay our current bills on my income alone. I began contacting all my creditors, and all agreed to work with me. I contacted my mortgage company. They told me I would qualify for a modification but I had to be at least 2 months behind. After too many long conversations, they finally sent a pre approval letter. This did not come until I was a little over 2 months past due. I realized I was in serious trouble when a attorney for the mortgage group sent me a letter stating the mortgage co. chose to accelerate the maturity of the debt. FORECLOSURE or pay it off. I had a record of every phone call, sometimes several calls a day to the mortgage company begging for something in writing. Now for the really interesting part, the people I spoke with on the phone kept telling me it is being worked on dont worry. I still called every day. I even called the attorney that was to foreclose on my loan. No solutions - I was then told the modification department is a seperate department than foreclosure and the modification department would contact the attorney. You guessed it. Nothing in writing. I then reviewed the foreclosure listing in my local paper and my house was listed to be foreclosed in 2 DAYS. I had to file bankruptcy in 1 day to save my house. The moral of this story is DO NOT BELIEVE THE MORTGAGE CO. Get it in WRITING. DO NOT BELIEVE ANYONE that tells you that you have to be atleast 2 months behind. FYI, the mortgage co gets 30,000.00 per home for repairs and or to get it ready to put on the market, from the federal government. Well many homes need repairs and many do not. So when your mortgage company ask you if your house is in good condition, if you answer yes, they see $$$$. I said yes it was. But now that I think about it, I do have a few light bulbs out and that could be my definition of poor condition! What is considered good condition is up to interpretation!

Digibella
November 18, 2010 at 7:23 am

Wall street has perpetrated the largest fraud in American History and is in the process of defrauding the working class out of our homes and livelihood! They should be prosecuted and their ill gotten gains confiscated and returned to the people!

Razor
November 18, 2010 at 7:13 am

And, by the way...it takes years to foreclose in NJ. The liberal, bleeding heart courts in the state allow people to live in their house for free for 4-5 years. I see it all the time. Does anyone realize that there are millions who actually stimulate the economy by buying these houses, fixing them up and selling them. The economic benefit is huge...contractors put to work, appliances bought, materials bought, realtors selling homes, mortgage brokers/banks giving out new loans...but instead we allow losers to stay in their homes, paying nothing and continue to not offer anything to society.

Razor
November 18, 2010 at 7:06 am

Archer, you have no "right" to a modification. You bought a house that you borrowed money to buy...you say you did not over-buy, but then why are you not paying them back? Did you ever refi and take cash out? The money the bank gives you is not free you know? What a joke that you think they are unjust to you. What about all of us who borrowed money and actually live up to our agreement to pay it back? You are asking for free money because you are irresponsible. Your kind makes me sick. The bank does not want your house, they want you to pay back the money that they loaned to you. I'm sick and tired of all you losers asking for handouts. You should have no rights other then to protect your house if you are paying your mortgage. It is people like you who have put our financial system in the shape that it is today.

Jen
November 17, 2010 at 7:30 pm

I live in Texas and I have a socalled freind who has not paid her mortgage in at least a year and she has already remodified her loan 2 times. They have the money to pay ,but they don't. Makes me sick people like this are the reason we are in this mess.

Marcie Geffner
November 08, 2010 at 6:44 pm

Nightmares in modification-vs-foreclosure communications are unfortunately quite common and bring up another issue of disparities in how lenders treat their borrowers. Homeowners get a loan from Lender A, but it's often Lender B that decides their fate.
I'm not surprised to hear this type of story from Georgia, which, according to RealtyTrac, has the fastest foreclosures in the country with a process that takes just 37 days and has no right of redemption.

M Archer
November 06, 2010 at 12:34 pm

I was hit by the unfair and I believe it should be illegal foreclosure between Chase and Wells Fargo. Wells Fargo sent the foreclosure notice stating it wanted my property which I bought in 1994 and was foreclosed in 2008. However, I was making payments to Chase and was in the modification process. I reported to the OCC which governed Chase and they sent the information to Chase on the day of foreclosure possession I received a letter from Chase asking of me to give them 30 days to review. That very day my "possession" were on the street and a lot of my belongings missing when I returned. How does Wells Fargo, Chase and all justify that. Prior to that Chase was gouging me with raising my mortgage payment every 3 months. I went to court to contest it and I was told very rudely by the the judge in Georgia that there is nothing I can do. During this process my attorney contacted Wells Fargo and their attorney did not have to courtesy of a response. We heard from the legal aide that Wells Fargo just wanted the property. I contacted a few other attorneys and was told that Georgia is an at will to sell state and you only have to miss 2 payments. Now the payments I so called missed were the instructions I was following from Chase in order to qualify for the modification after Chase got millions of dollars to help home owners. There is nothing fair in this and it was a nightmare without any recourse living in a no man's land.I sure I'm not the only one this suffered this injustice. The hype is that people bought more that they can afford. That's definitely not my case and many others. The banks are just thieves and they are not prosecuted. Where is the fairness in our just country?!

Kirk
November 05, 2010 at 11:41 am

This is a silly article. States have the right to handle foreclosures however they would like. That's what makes this country so great! If you don't like how your state handles things, either...A) Get involved and change your legislation or B) Move to a different state.
This is goofy to suggest states should all have to be the same.